8:10 PM, 5th November, 2005
Carl Denham (Armstrong), a showbiz promoter, has heard rumours of an uncharted island in the South Pacific where fantastic, prehistoric creatures live, and he sets out to capture one of them. He returns with a giant ape, which, at its first public appearance in New York, escapes and rampages across the city.
But there must be more to one of the most discussed films of the 20th Century than a standard monster-on-the-loose story that could have written and directed itself. They all take the same form: why was this one so popular? Why does it have an indescribable resonance which, say, Jurassic Park II lacks? The dialogue is just functional, the special effects charming but not state of the art (not even in 1933 - when people praise the effects it's because they look good, not because they were ever cutting edge)- I don't really know what makes King Kong special, but I think it's that, of all the films people claim has the atmosphere of a dream, this one really does. There's no then-I-woke-up moment, no now-we-fall-asleep moment; it's like a dream throughout, with everything, however odd, making perfect sense at the time.
10:00 PM, 5th November, 2005
Earth has lost contact with the distant research planet Altair. Commander John J. Adams (a uncharacteristically straight Leslie Nielsen) leads a crew to investigate the silence. After travelling 17 light years to the planet, they find that only two of its human inhabitants remain, Dr Morbius and his daughter. The rest have fallen victim to a hideous monster that roams the planet.
Despite the apparent danger, and the wishes of his daughter, Morbius refuses to leave, prompting Commander Adams to unlock the true secrets of the Forbidden Planet.
Forbidden Planet is the king of big budget pulp science fiction movies that flooded the cinemas after the success of War of the Worlds. It is still the benchmark for science fiction films and television for decades to come - 'Star Trek', 'Stargate' and plenty of other 'Stars' are deeply indebted to it. Beyond being full of cool ideas, Forbidden Planet succeeds because of the way it explores its characters. This is a movie everybody should see at least once in their lives.