ScottCrane nails the music and sound effects replacement here. I don't know how he came up with the idea to use the score from Spellbound, but it's a perfect match. If you didn't know otherwise, you'd think this was the music originally written for the film. This is hands down my go-to version of the film. I only wish a few trims had been made to improve the pacing, since the film still drags at points just like the original, but that was never Scott's goal here, so I won't hold it against him. Great stuff!
So I couldnt make it through the original version. The sound gave me a headache and it was slowly paced. The change in music and SFX has helped me a lot! Its still slow for me, so i'd love to see an edit to fix that but thats probably just me.
Forbidden Planet is one of my all time favourite films. Pretty much the prototype for Star Trek and other sci-fi film/tv shows that followed decades after. I'll be honest, the original synthesizer score to me is the least memorable part of the film. After a while, the score loses its sting and more or less becomes monotonous.
Was the original score ground-breaking? Absolutely.
Was it entirely necessary to use it for every single moment throughout the film? In my opinion, no.
It sounded too showy as if the original composers were saying to the audience, 'did you hear what we did there?'. It works for some things like general foley in the overall sound mix but not as an entire musical score.
This is where Scott Crane's Spellbound edit comes to the rescue. While the synthesizers haven't been totally erased from the new sound mix, they've been appropriately dialled back as SFX to make way for the vastly superior score composed by Miklos Rozsa. Rozsa's score enhances many scenes with more dynamic and nuance. The use of the stereo re-recording conducted by Alan Wilson also greatly enhances the audio presentation of the film which allows for more spatial clarity.
The use of this score was an inspired choice and synchs up perfectly with the film. Nicely balanced within the original sound mix. There was never a moment of drowning out the dialogue, perfect!
My only criticism would be some minor things, there were a few moments where ambient room SFX was missing, some general SFX such as doors sliding open and shut, some footsteps here and there and the car/rover in motion that were absent from the sound mix. That being said, this didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the edit.
Now for my final word. In my opinion, this is THE superior version of Forbidden Planet and my go-to copy for future viewing from now on.
I think it's safe to say that this version of Forbidden Planet doesn't need a thorough or detailed review. The test for whether this edit works or not is dependent on whether you think the change in music works or not, and for me, it did.
Now, I must confess that I like the original version's musical score. It was highly ambitious to use mostly synthesizers in a time when the norm was to be as classical as possible. With that said, though, I do think the music of Miklos Rozsa does a nice job of making things more "emotive" here than in the original edit. This version definitely felt like something from the 1950s, and I mean that in a good way. The change in music makes this feel like an authentic vintage blockbuster from the 1950s. One that almost reaches the same level as the more biblical epics of the time like The Ten Commandments or even Ben-Hur (Which is a fair comparison, since Rozsa also did the score for the latter).
So, with a comparison like that, am I saying that this edit is better? Well, in all honesty, I don't know. They're both equally good if you ask me. This is one where I believe your own personal tastes will make the best judgment. My guess is that if you crave ambition, you're most likely to prefer the original version. However, if you want things to sound more like a 1950s epic, and you want something that packs a more emotional punch, this edit will most likely impress you more. Whatever the case, I highly recommend giving this one a watch to see (or hear) for yourself.
Visual quality is pretty good, if a little softer than I'd like. The shot at 44:30 is noticeably more compressed than the rest of the edit but I can't think why that would be. It's also accompanied by a "bong" noise and a loud hiss.
From the cutlist I don't get the impression there were any visual edits, but there was a moment at 1:19:06 which I found to be quite jarring. Maybe that's something inherent in the original film?
Audio-wise, the score itself is very crisp, clean and dynamic. Not what you'd expect from the time, but it does sit at a comfortable volume throughout and I never found it overbearing (if anything, it may be too quiet at points). The choice of cues etc. are well chosen. Where the edit falls short for me is the limited foley. More often than not I think the audio scrapes by, but there are some notable moments where it feels very bare:
0:12:50 - the replaced footsteps are too loud and heavy to fit in with the audio. Some low mids could do with being scooped. It's also pretty noticeable that audio is missing when we then start hearing the robot sound effects when they weren't sounding before.
0:15:08 - there is no sound for the car, and then there is when it drives off again.
1:17:00ish - the lack of screams is noticeable, and there's a moment where the captain yells. His voice sounds very quietly and then just vanishes. Some of the "minor" deaths would have been more fitting for the Wilhelm scream IMO, rather than its use later on with the death of a more significant character.
1:30:08 - Altera's line gets cut off ("Not even if I-")
As a general comment, the dialogue that's been scrubbed sometimes sounds at a lower volume and could have done with a small boost or some EQ to help it cut through more. Later on the added scream for a certain death doesn't really fit IMO and is too quiet as well. A pitch shift could help it pass more believably as coming from the same person.
Narrative is virtually untouched as far as I can tell and so it flows just fine. On a subjective level, I would like more trims for pacing, but that wasn't the aim of the edit and so I can't complain. Things generally do benefit from the use of a traditional score here.
Enjoyment: Putting technical qualms aside, I think this is an ingenious pairing. It's been a while since I saw Spellbound, so I didn't really remember the score, but it absolutely fits here. The use of theremin firmly estabilishes the sci fi feel, and overall I felt that the music brought in a bit of an "original Star Trek" flavour; an association that I've always had with the film itself.
Thanks Scott Crane for putting this together. Definitely a version worth seeing!