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Jim Harrison

Forbidden Planet?


Eh. I've seen Forbidden Planet recently, and it doesn't hold up as well as some of the other 50s-vintage films on my list. The basic story about the Krell (sp?) is terrific, but the rest of the movie is hard to sit through. I wish someone would do a remake, however.


Well, considering the fact that "Forbidden Planet" was released in 1956, it was quite good.

I recall seeing it back in the early 1960s and getting knocked out of my socks. Simply because I expected much, much worse.

Pretty much the entire corpus of film SF out of the 1950s, with a very few exceptions, (such as "Them!") was strictly trash. "Forbidden Planet" was quite an achievement, taken in context.

Of course, next to something like T2 or Aliens, it doesn't have a prayer of measuring up. But just exactly how much chance would either of those last two films mentioned have had of either being made, of being released assuming they were made, prior to 1960?

Zero, I'm thinking. The "Star Trek" TV series, and "2001", had to first demonstrate that decent SF had a mass market, outside of its traditional genre ghetto.

Once that fact was established, films like Aliens and T2 became possible. Prior to that, they weren't.


Gattaca? That movie certainly is more about mood and story than special effects.

"Planeta Bur" is another interesting move. Even if few in the West has seen it it did inspire 2001:
I've only seen a few scenes, but the story and special effects were very imaginative for its time. Butchered fragments of this movie found its way into a couple of American movies, i.e., they used the special effects scenes and replaced the science fiction story with some silly adventure stuff. I think it is unfortunately hard to find any copy resembling the original.


I should have considered "Brazil" in my list. I didn't think that "Children of Men" had enough SF to be considered, it was more future-focused but not really out there. Gattuca, on the other hand, had some really interesting aspects of future technology and its impact on social issues. I probably should have considered "Fifth Element" but to me it was more "Die Hard In Space" than serious SF. A good SF film but probably not in the top 15. Completely agree on Term/T2 - the sequel was more fun, but the original had the better SF story.

I won't dignify the comments on "Serenity" - maybe it's too "fresh" for some of you all, but the plot was mature and dignified, the cast was excellent, the SF aspects were very well done (planet-shaping, genetic engineering, military hardware, etc), and certainly kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.


Dark Star! Inspired choice!

Battle Beyond the Stars! Now there was a cheezefest! Top o the B-listers, great cast (John-boy, Robert Vaughn, Tim Thomerson!, Sybil Danning), lame script, super-cheeze effects, good stuff!


Your list dovetails with mine pretty well, although I think "Star Wars" is pretty much the epitome of schlock in "sci-fi" trappings. And I've always blamed it for the relative dearth of good science fiction movies since.

If you haven't yet, check out "Code 46". It never got the attention it deserved, but it's a really beautiful movie, on a lot of levels.

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