I know it's one of the landmark movies of the sci-fi genre, but throughout my afternoon screening of Forbidden Planet at the L.A. County Museum of Art, I had only two continuous thoughts. One, no matter how serious he appears as space Commander John J. Adams, the mere sight of Leslie Nielsen from The Naked Gun makes me laugh. And two, someone should tell the operators of LACMA's Bing Theater to turn the heat up.
On Day 54, in the ebb and flow of ups and downs, I'm starting to fall again into the valley of exhaustion, and cold air is a prime catalyst to bring on Mr. Sleepy Time. The strange thing is, the last time I saw a movie there more than a dozen years ago, the conditions were exactly the same. What? No upgrades? The wooden seats are now partially padded...that's a step up. Plus, the screening before was for David Lynch's Eraserhead, so despite my discomfort this time, it doesn't come close to the droning nightmare of watching Lynch's surreal creation come to life alongside the subcreatures of my own dozing in-and-out imagination.
Anyways, for viewers who haven't seen Forbidden Planet, the main attraction is the iconic imagery - a flying saucer that's piloted by our crew of adventurers (that would later influence Star Trek's Enterprise) and Robby the Robot, a 6-foot-11 mechanical presence who's become a veritable sci-fi legend.
The rest of Forbidden Planet's tale involves the crew encountering a curious scientist, Dr. Edward Morbius, and his fetching daughter Alta on the distant, deserted planet Altair IV. Eventually, a creature - sort of a pre-"Lost" smoke monster - rears its ugly head, kills a couple of our guys, and ends up being connected to Morbius - specifically, it's his "id monster." It's up to our man who would become Frank Drebin to make like Harrison Ford, save the girl and speed light years away before the whole place goes ka-blooey. Don't worry, though. Robby the Robot survives to live another day in the feature The Invisible Boy and episodes of "The Twilight Zone."
Which, of course, begs the obvious question - who should hold the title as the all-time movie robot champion? I know lots would say R2D2 or C3PO, but what about other heavy metal contenders like Wall-E, Johnny 5, Robocop, the T-1000 and Optimus Prime? Comment below with your favorite!