Monday, November 29, 2010

Before There Was Captain Kirk ...

... there was Commander John J. Adams of United Planets Cruiser C-57D.

How I could not have commented upon the recent death of Leslie Nielsen, I do not know, if only because Forbidden Planet is one of my favorite movies of all time. In that 1956 film, Nielsen established the cinematic template for what a starship captain is and ought to be -- charismatic and thoughtful, yet perfectly willing to break out the blasters if the situation called for it. Neilsen gave a standout performance in a film replete with them. He was the human center in a movie whose groundbreaking special effects could easily have become its main attraction. Without him, neither Forbidden Planet nor science fiction would have been the same.

Rest in peace, Mr Neilsen.

10 comments:

  1. When I saw the title of the post, I thought that you may have been referring to Alan Shapiro's excellent essay Captain Kirk Was Never the Original. It's a heavy but rewarding read, combining a Star Trek history lesson with thought-provoking contemporary philosophy. Interesting too to note that, like your comment on Nielsen forming Forbidden Planet's "human centre", Shapiro mentions that:

    'The popularity of Star Trek is attributed to our delight in the "human qualities of Captain Kirk," which "are always victorious over the very technological mega-systems that make [his] adventures possible." '

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  2. Forbidden Planet is one of my favorite movies of all-time, science fiction or otherwise.It set the tone for me of what stellar exploration should feel like: out there far from home, isolated, unable to run to the nearest base at the drop of a hat and thus forced to make momentous decisions on one's own responsibility, that sense of mysteries far older than Man. You can easily that in the original Trek, which is perhaps one reason why that's my favorite among the various series.

    A great movie and a great performance. I'll have to watch it again this week in Nielsen's honor.

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  3. I was very pleased to see almost all the tributes made a mention of "Forbidden Planet" as well as his other dramatic roles before turning to "Airplane!" and his emergence as a deadpan comedic star.

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  4. I first saw this film as an adult after two decades of immersion in the original Star Trek series. Of all the film's marvelous qualities, Leslie Nielsen's pre-Captain Kirk starship captain surprised the hell out of me.

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  5. Forbidden Planet was one of many inspirations to Gene Rodenberry, and we all know what he up creating. If you don't then you need to turn in your Geek Card.

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  6. Sad news. Forbidden Planet is my favorite Proto-Star Trek movie. Though dated in some ways it still stands up pretty well today. One of many RPG projects I've wanted to do but never got around to is a United Planets RPG based on Forbidden Planet....

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  7. Not just a cool starship cap (one of few in the 50's), but his line delivery set the eventual tone for his great comedy roles.

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  8. And who can forget he gets Anne Francis by the end of the film? Always been amazed (and thankful) that with the technological and scientific brilliance of the Krell available, they could only seem to produce mini-skirts for her to wear as Altaira.

    Still love "Forbidden Planet" and who hasn't worked an "Airplane" or "Naked Gun" line into a gaming session before?

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  9. I knew him best for his role in CREEPSHOW.

    He was a good actor...that never got his due IMO.

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  10. I didn't remember this!!! I am not really good at recognizing people so while the movie is one of my favorite film I didn't remember who the actors were...

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