Forbidden Planet: 50th Anniversary Special Edition
In 1956 with Forbidden Planet, MGM did for science fiction what it had done for musicals four years earlier with Singin' in the Rain. Now fifty years on, Forbidden Planet is still the best original spaceships-rayguns-and-alien-worlds movie Hollywood has produced. The studio took the stuff its audiences loved, gave it that high-gloss MGM razzle-dazzle, and produced an enduring best-of-breed favorite, a CinemaScope spectacle that's terrifically entertaining, smartly written, memorably cast, briskly paced, and production-designed to the hilt. Instead of Gene Kelly's tap shoes or Debbie Reynolds' pertness, this time we get Leslie Nielsen as a proto-Captain Kirk, plot points lifted with an Amazing Stories spin from Shakespeare's The Tempest, special effects photography that still knocks our socks off, Hollywood's most famous robot before Star Wars' less imaginative and interesting droids, and (the stuff space-kids' dreams are made on) leggy Anne Francis ably modeling miniskirts a decade early. For the film's golden anniversary, Warner has done such a good job refurbishing the film and filling a second disc with quality supplements that chucking out the 1997 DVD edition for this upgrade is a no-brainer for any fan, not to mention an essential acquisition for anyone who doesn't yet have this title on the Genre Classics shelf. Keep-case.