COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT

(1970)
With Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent, William Schallert, Loenid Rostoff, Georg Stanford Brown, Marion Ross, Paul Frees (voice of "Colossus")
Directed by Joseph Sargent
Reviewed by JB

"This is the voice of Collosus, as well as Boris Badenov and Snuffy Smith"     We often think of the 1950s as the Golden Age of Science Fiction Films, yet from the late 1960s through the '70s there were a string of intelligent, often socially conscious sci-fi movies that rivals the peak of any other genre from any other time.  To name a few: 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEYPLANET OF THE APES (and one or two of its sequels), THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, WESTWORLD, SILENT RUNNING, LOGAN'S RUN, SOYLENT GREEN and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. * 

     COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT is an underrated gem from the dawn of this period.  Based on a novel by D.F. JONES, COLOSSUS tells the tale of a NORAD-like defense computer that begins to have ambitions beyond its original programming.  Within minutes of being switched on, it discovers and connects with a similar Russian computer named Guardian, and together, the two supercomputers work together to make over the world to their liking.  With control over both countries nuclear arsenals, they have a lot of power to back up their threats.  Somebody is not produced in five minutes? Washington will be toast.

     With a minimum of special effects and heavily dependent on characters reading screens and looking at monitors, COLOSSUS has all the ingredients for tedium.  But TV director Joseph Sargent may have been the perfect man for tackling this talkie, potentially static material, and the literate script and fine performances from Eric Braeden, William Schallert and Susan Clark help make the film an engaging, if ultimately pessimistic, thriller. 4 - JB

Science Fiction     The Secret Vortex

* I left out the obvious STAR WARS trilogy for a reason.  Excellent as those first three films may be, they changed the nature of science fiction films.  In their wake came more action-oriented sci-fi adventures such as the STAR TREK films of the '80s, as well as the TERMINATOR and ALIEN series, whereas most of the above-named films, with one or two exceptions, were "thinking man's" films.  And please, STAR WARS fans, do not write me and scold me about this.  The first three STAR WARS films are wonderful and may someday be reviewed on this site.

One additional note:  The DVD of this film that I viewed for review purposes is in pan and scan, not widescreen, and lacked a menu, any available subtitles or closed-captioning, and had no extras.  A shame for a film such as this.  But I gotta work with what they give me.

IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR GOOD MOVIE QUOTES

"WHAT ARE YOU MAKING?"
"A Martini."
"THAT IS TOO MUCH VERMOUTH."


IS THAT WHO I THINK IT IS?

     Along will a bunch of well-known character actors such as William Schallert and Dolph Sweet, and soon to be famous actors such as Eric Braeden and Marion Ross, COLOSSUS features Paul Frees as the "voice" of the supercomputer late in the film.  Frees was one of animation's most versatile and hard working voice actors, remembered by fans as Boris Badenov from Rocky and Bullwinkle and Burgermeister Meisterburger from Santa Claus is Coming to Town. He also provided the hilariously inappropriate "fey English" voice of John Lennon and the just plain wrong Scottish accent of George Harrison for The Beatles cartoon of the 1960s.