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FORBIDDEN PLANET : 50th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION
Warner Home Video DVD
REVIEW BY ANDREW SCREEN

A landmark in science fiction cinema is given a breezy two-disc special edition to mark its half-century. For a fifty-year old film it looks gob smacking thanks to the impressive and visionary (yet somehow still anchored in the 50s) design and a spick and span transfer that gives the film an opulent technicolour glow. This was the first science fiction given a big studio budget and based in part on the Shakespeare play The Tempest.

EXTRAS: The film is screaming out for an audio commentary, but sadly there is none despite cast members Leslie Neilsen, Anne Francis and Earl Holliman still being with us. They do appear in the glossy retrospective featurette Exploring The Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet. This oversight is made up for by the scope of the other extras including a compact featurette called Robby The Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon that details the enduring appeal of the robot icon and Keep Watching The Skies!: Science Fiction, The 1950s and Us a feature length retrospective look at the science fiction films of the 1950s.

There are some fascinating deleted or alternate scenes sourced from a scratchy work print, a clutch of previously thought lost test shots of various special effects, excerpts from two episodes of MGM Parade hosted by Walter Pidgeon that publicised the film's release, a complete 1958 episode of the TV series The Thin Man that featured Robbie The Robot, that's entertaining for it curiosity value alone and a batch of trailers for other MGM 50s sci-fi films.

Best of all is the inclusion of the little-seen quickie The Invisible Boy made as a cash in on the popularity of Robbie The Robot who stars. It's juvenile, but fun tosh in many ways that pales into insignificance alongside Forbidden Planet, but including it again helps make this a value for money release.

The release of a genre masterpiece with slightly disappointing, but varied, extras still worth buying for the shining transfer and number and quality of supporting materials.

FILM: 5/5
EXTRAS: 4/5