"Colossus: The Forbin Project" and "Forbidden Planet"

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by larryman, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. larryman

    larryman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think the 1956 "Forbidden Planet" universe should be an (80-year later) 'sequel' to the 1970 "Colossus: The Forbin Project" movie. Like this...

    Colossus forces mankind into a united Earth - as seen in the "Colossus: The Forbin Project" movie.

    Afterwords...

    * Colossus' knowledge continues to self-increase.
    * From the super knowledge of Colossus, we are given the technical knowledge to build hyperspace saucers - the Bellerophon being one of these. These ships are given for humans to explore and colonize the distant star systems.
    * Eventually, the United Planets Federation is formed from the human-colonized star systems, and functions under the on-going direction of Colossus.

    I like this concept for the following reasons:
    * It provides deep background to the development of the FP's "United Planets Federation". All the way back to the year 1970.
    * It differentiates the Forbidden Planet universe from the Star Trek universe. Because the ST federation does not answer to any computer. That would be anti-Roddenberry.
    * It makes use of another great sci-fi concept: the Colossus ('World Control') super-computer.
    * Dr. Charles Forbin becomes the FP equivalent of the ST Dr. Zefram Cochrane.
    * Colossus redeems it's self, by 'giving mankind the stars'.
    * The irony... humans build a machine that saves them from themselves; the Krell build a machine with which they destroy themselves.

    Anyone else like the concept of an anti-Roddenberry Star Trek - in which human affairs are governed by a man-made (logic-based) super-brain, rather than elected human representatives?
     
  2. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    The trouble is that Colossus has it's own timeline. The movie was based on a novel by D.F. Jones which had two sequels. "The Fall of Colossus" and "Colossus and the Crab".

    We also see no demonstration of super artificial intelligence in use by the crew of the C-57D. I'd expect Colossus to include a part of himself in every effort by humanity, partially to ensure the humans are up to no covert attempts against Colossus, and partially to fulfill his programming and protect humans involved in any project he's authorized.

    I do like the contrast your scenario presents between human and Krell civilizations, but the Krell were so advanced beyond human intellect that I doubt the comparison works ... we simply haven't made it to the equivalent of their ultimate test yet. Although, arguably, the intellect behind Colossus and later generation super computers, might be a valid comparison.
     
  3. larryman

    larryman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    ^ I wasn't aware of a Colossus book series. I'm only familiar with the movie version - which had no sequel. But which left open the future of humanity under Colossus rule.

    "We also see no demonstration of super artificial intelligence in use by the crew of the C-57D."

    The C-57D was out of range of immediate Colossus controlled Federation space. ;)

    "I'd expect Colossus to include a part of himself in every effort by humanity, partially to ensure the humans are up to no covert attempts against Colossus, and partially to fulfill his programming and protect humans involved in any project he's authorized."

    I disagree. I would think that after 80 years of controlled civil advancement, most humans would accept Colossus directives as guidance from a benevolent super genius entity - and gladly follow those directives. Especially when knowing the alternative to Colossus was the edge of world-wide nuclear war, and death to all.
     
  4. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    I have nothing to say, I just felt obligated to post in the thread. ;)
     
  5. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, the attitude of the crew toward Robby strongly suggests a lack of such advanced automation as Colossus. Don't you think that after centuries of direction by an intelligent super-computer human beings - or Colossus itself - would have gotten around to "tinkering together" a basic robot?

    Parenthetically there's also the issue of the Martians who appear in Colossus And The Crab and who seem pretty out-of-sync with the attitude of the humans toward the Krell.
     
  6. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Anyone else note how "Fall of Colossus" and "Colossus and the Crab" feel a bit retconned from the first novel? Just some minor differences, such as the time frame the novels are set in...
     
  7. The Comedian

    The Comedian Captain Captain

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    I noticed that too, but only a little.

    I think I would have liked the game they played with battleships. :)
     
  8. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The human characters in Forbidden Planet showed too much free will for them to be involved in any way with Colossus.

    Colossus made it perfectly clear that it intended to enslave the human race and eliminate all free will and choice. Clearly not so in FP. Humans living under the rule of Colossus would be little more than Borg; those in FP are obviously not so.
     
  9. larryman

    larryman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yes, Robby poses a problem to the technological development flow. I've considered that the lack of any humanoid robot prior to Robby may have been because Colossus determined a need to utilize all human resources up to the Altair mission. But hopefully, that would change after C-57D returns with a Robby robot.

    The C-57D mission to Altair would be marking a transition phase of the Federation. A time of Colossus allowing humans to venture forth beyond the established United Planets; and beyond Colossus control. A 'leaving the nest' for humanity, so to speak.

    Don't know anything about "the Martians who appear in Colossus And The Crab". I'm referencing only the Colossus movie, and not the novels.
     
  10. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've noticed you starting a couple different threads about expanding
    Forbidden Planet by way of grafting it to other shows or movies (Star Trek, Lost in Space, etc.). Why not just try to expand upon FP just based on FP? Try and find a copy of the novelization if you can, there's a lot of background info to be played with. For that matter, there's plenty in the movie itself that can be extrapolated from with a bit of imagination.
     
  11. larryman

    larryman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Colossus never alleged it would 'enslave' the human race. It said it would 'control' the human race. And it would give us the stars. But we would be deprived of pride, and war.
     
  12. larryman

    larryman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I guess I do the extrapolation of FP my way, for lack of anyone else doing it any other way.

    But why would anyone base any extrapolations on a novel version, when there is a movie version to base on? Don't movies over-rate novels?
     
  13. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Same thing.

    That still doesn't change the fact that we would be living in a prison. If you can only do what Colossus says, then you have no free will.

    As human beings, we have a RIGHT to pride. War? Maybe not so much, but the fact is, peace that is forcibly imposed is no true peace.
     
  14. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, IMO, the novel in this case adds to what we see in the film. Check it out for youself and come to your own conclusions, though.
     
  15. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Colossus is pessimistic about the outcome of technological progress, which is fine and very much in step with the time in which it was made. Forbidden Planet embraces the rather aggressively optimistic attitude of an earlier era, joining the belief in the possibilities of invention and progress of pre-WWII popular science fiction with the conventional domesticism of 1950s America.

    I'd look at other sf of the 30s and 40s - both prose and movies - and build forward from there rather than incorporating too much stuff that came after FP. The movie was clearly inspired by the science fiction of the pulps. Beyond which, there's a style to it that's very 1950s and suggests a future that does not include much of our real history since then.

    "Things To Come" would be a good "future history" background for FP - it's older, but has that same "technological triumphalism" and even a bit of similar visual style:

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C-wCq7zSLE&feature=related[/yt]
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  16. larryman

    larryman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    ^ Dennis, I understand the point you are making. But I don't perceive Colossus to be a technological pessimistic creation. Perhaps the writer intended it to be such, but given the ambiguous movie ending... I choose to make it technological triumphalism.

    I see Colossus as a new 'father figure' for humanity. It would administer punishment for bad behavior, and reward for good behavior - based on (and directed toward) 'the betterment of mankind'.

    And I still like the idea of the United Planets Federation being governed by a man-made super-computer. And Colossus is the best I can think of, because it was not destroyed in the movie.
     
  17. larryman

    larryman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Question for those that dislike Colossus for governing the United Planets Federation...

    What form of United Planets government would you suggest as an alternative - that would also be non-Star Trek?
     
  18. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I loathe the idea of an authority figure - a "father figure" - ruling humanity. Making it a machine is worse, absolutely dystopian. Period, full stop. The ending of the movie never struck me as ambiguous at all (the books are another matter).

    As for a "non-Trek" government - we don't know very much about the Trek government ie the "Federation."

    It's some form of representative government. It has a President. There's a "Council." Other than that, what we have are pretty much inferences and some non-canon contributions in the novels. The government somehow regulates matters of war and peace within the Federation - war not being allowed - and sets certain membership requirements. The government regulates contact between its exploratory/military arm - Starfleet - and non-Federation worlds. What constitutes the economy of the Federation and how the government regulates that is a matter of endless debate.

    In any event, the names of both the United Federation of Planets and the United Planets were most likely derived by the writers from the United States of America and/or the United Nations, which particularly makes a lot of sense for American screenwriters in the 1950s. Forbidden Planet is a product of the Eisenhower era. So the UP imay be a representative republic or democracy of some kind, or it may be a loose association of independent planets. I'd favor the latter.

    Given the lengths of time it takes to travel between stars in FP, added to the infrequency with which follow-up contact is made with earlier expeditions, it's unlikely that the UP is very extensive beyond the planets of the Solar System. Whether any extra-solar colonies are members of the UP per se is entirely a matter of guesswork.
     
  19. FluffyUnbound

    FluffyUnbound Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Only considering the movie, since I've never read the novel or its sequels:

    The real problem is that Colossus has no hands or feet, and therefore can't do his own "ruling".

    He's got one thing: the nuclear arsenals of the US and the Soviet Union. And all he can do with them is threaten. From there, he needs the state apparatus of human beings to make his changes happen.

    The problems with that are legion. Not least of which would be the fact that the human Quisling states would have to engage in the worst kind of totalitarianism imaginable to protect themselves and Colossus from rogue operators.

    How does Colossus deal with Muslim fundamentalists who want him destroyed as a false god? Or with Americans outside the military who might decide to take their own shot at his communications network? There's only one thing he can do: threaten to attack with nukes unless the human Quisling states root the resisters out.

    How does he accomplish his economic goals, if people - individual people worldwide, not the handful of characters with direct contact with Colossus depicted in the film - decide they don't want to go along? And won't work? Or commit individual acts of sabotage? Again, all Colossus can do is threaten to use nukes.

    Nukes are a very blunt instrument to use to try to govern billions of human beings.

    Far from being technological triumphalism, Colossus would eventually only have two choices: attempt to biologically alter man to make him easier to control on an individual basis [implants maybe?] or actually make good on his threats and use his nukes [and to some categories of resister, that wouldn't make any difference].

    I can't see anything as positive and good as the Forbidden Planet future arising from the Colossus timeline.
     
  20. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Colossus doesn't just have control of nukes. He has control of all communications worldwide. He doesn't have to nuke a rogue state, he can just cut them off from the world. Probably disconnect their electrical power as well. Since Colossus is tied into all computer systems worldwide, he has control over all information and communication. Remember that bit in Live Free Or Die Hard where the terrorists paralyze a city by altering its transportation and transit computer systems? Colossus can do that on a worldwide scale. There's no escape; he can see and hear everything people say and do and write.
     

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