Forbidden Planet & Alien

October 8, 2010

Turner Classic Movies is becoming one of my favorite channels.  Last night’s programming was inspired:  a double feature with Forbidden Planet and Alien.  The two greatest alien stalker/slasher movies of all time!  (They’ve also been airing a bunch of the old Hammer films with Christopher Lee as Dracula.  OMG!)

Forbidden Planet really, truly rocks.  Yes, it’s dated.  Yes, it’s a little weird seeing a young, pre-Naked Gun Leslie Neilsen as a square-jawed hero.  It’s also great, meaty science fiction, with a nicely done story.  And that monster is still scary.

This past Worldcon, I was on a panel (actually, it was less of a panel than it was me and John Scalzi ranting) about remaking classic science fiction movies.  Toward the end, we were asked what classic movie we’d like to remake.  Forbidden Planet was my pick.  Because as great as it is and as much as I love it, I’d also really love to see it done with a modern, post-Alien SF aesthetic.  And I’d really love to see the crew act like military professionals and not spend half the film trying to get Alta alone to show her this Earth thing called kiss.

And then there’s Alien.  I have discovered that I’m perfectly happy shutting this one off just as they’re all sitting down to lunch.


12 Responses to “Forbidden Planet & Alien”

  1. Andrew Says:

    I love that lunch scene. It really jumps out at you. 🙂

  2. Jared Says:

    Re: Andrew – *groans* 😉

    Re: Carrie – At that sort of panel I’d probably be the one defending remakes. Yeah, most of them are pointless, but occassionaly you come across some gems, such as Peter Jackson’s King Kong. :/

  3. carriev Says:

    Ah, Jackson’s King Kong. You can take out every other frame of film and have the same movie at half the length…

  4. I went on a DVR spree on TCM and have Marooned waiting for me already. I have Forbidden Planet and Alien on DVD.

    I’d like to cast my vote AGAINST remakes of every kind. Not that there haven’t been the occasional good one (I like the fast-zombie version of Dawn of the Dead, for instance) but I’d rather see Hollywood actually get a new idea. Or at least please go to the SF/F canon and bring 21st Century SFX to bear on, hmm, let’s see: Neuromancer, Gateway, Ringworld . . . the list goes on.

    I’m also not surprised that you don’t like Alien. Alien is a horror movie for men, in that it relies on an underlying terror of childbirth: someone plants and egg in your body that eventually explodes out in a fountain of blood and screaming. Alien, like the Three Stooges, Monty Python, and Fight Club, is to men what Fried Green Tomatoes, Pretty Woman, and Dirty Dancing are to women. I submit that our gender-specific movies are better, but then, why wouldn’t I?

  5. carriev Says:

    Philip, you’re making some pretty big assumptions there, in that I never said I didn’t like Alien — I think it’s a great, ground-breaking movie. It’s just really hard to watch sometimes, because IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE. You think women can’t be scared of childbirth metaphors?

    I also love Fight Club and think The Life of Brian is brilliant.

    I love Fried Green Tomatoes because it’s incredibly subversive. Pretty Woman is appalling, and I’ve never seen Dirty Dancing.

    I usually take the stance that women and men = people…

  6. Jakk Says:

    You have NEVER seen Dirty Dancing?

    … And you call yourself a PEOPLE! 😉


  7. Jared Says:

    Re: Jackson’s Kong – *grumbles*

    In all seriousness, it is one of my all-time favorite movies (along with the original), but what gives it an edge over the original is that it actually makes a plausible case, based on the actual behavior of gorillas*, for the relationship between Kong and Ann.

    *Yeah, gorillas aren’t really as violent as Kong, but solitary ones are known to go insane from depression, which is presumably what happened to the 25-foot ape in Jackson’s version.

  8. Bradford Says:

    I really liked The Fly remake with Jeff Goldblum. I used to think that the Vincent Price original was really stupid, but after the remake gave the story a scientific basis, the original version became almost watchable.

    I remember watching Alien in the theater in a near-fetal position.

  9. carriev Says:

    Cronenberg’s “The Fly” was discussed on the panel as the great justification for SF remakes, proof that it can be done spectacularly well.

  10. Todd Says:

    I’m not a huge fan of remakes either, or even of directors “fixing” their own movies, such as Lucas. The original “Star Wars” filled millions of us with wonder and imagination when it came out in 1977. Just because Lucas can make the explosions look better and the ships “cooler”, doesn’t mean he should.

    Frankly, with thousands and thousands of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror books out there that could be made into movies, why redo an old one? I’d love to see Kitty hit the theaters some day.

  11. Steve Wheelock Says:

    Forbidden Planet (1956) and The Enemy Below (1957) both had the same warning: The enemy below is the evil within our hearts, the dark side of human nature. And if we’re not able to overcome the dark side of human nature, it may be curtains for the human race. (My favorite science fiction movie is Robinson Crusoe on Mars [1964])

  12. Thomas Says:

    @ Todd, I’m not sure I want to see Kitty hit the theaters ever. Mostly because I’m not convinced Hollywood in general can do Kitty justice. I see Kitty getting ‘destroyed’ or ‘botched’ far to easily.

    Though I do believe it could be so much better if Carrie has significant input when/if they ever do make a Kitty movie. Then I’m sure she’d do a great job at keeping it true to her vision.

    As far as remakes go, I’ve seen some good/great ones and I’ve seen some bad ones. Generally I have less of an opinion though since I’m not really old enough to have seen/remember a lot of the original movies.

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