Forbidden Planet (1956)

Hey. This film is 60 years old! It’s also a film that first caught my attention because the poster is gorgeous. The film is good, too, and interesting: you see at once that it was a major inspiration for Star Trek. It’s a typical Star Trek episode! Rescue mission, enigmatic recluse, monster, fancy architecture and lots of decorative fish sculptures! It’s a pretty movie with great-looking special effects and a nice aesthetic.

The film’s gender politics are a sight turn-off, though. Not just that it’s sexist, but it’s bizarre, making every character into a bit more of an asshole than they were probably intended to be. It is the one thing that makes the film dated.

The bigger issue, though, is the fact that every character (aside from Morbius, Alta and the robot, of course) looks exactly the same. That’s a whole ship full of identital-looking white guys! In uniform, too, so it’s even more difficult to tell them apart. After a while, at least, I was able to recognize Leslie Nielsen, whom I only really knew as an old man before this.

Frankly, I don’t understand why anybody would be opposed to diverse casts! Making your characters clearly, immediately distinct just means that it is easier for the audience to actually follow the story.

Ages ago, I saw, uh, The Covenant. That’s this awful movie about a bunch of kids with magical powers and who … all … look … the same. The twist in the film is that X is evil and wants to kill Y. My problem was that when they said the name, I had no idea who they meant, and then I was confused because until that point, I had believed X and Y to be the same person!

Star Trek clearly improved on Forbidden Planet‘s cast by picking actors with different faces! And having them wear uniforms in different colours.

(Of course, Forbidden Planet‘s gender business would just have fallen apart, had the crew included women – or gay/bi men.)






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