Forbidden Planet influenced my passion for languages. I first saw it on television as a movie special when I was in my early teens. Professor Morbius was a philologist in a genre whose common characters are physicists, chemists, astronomers, and engineers, all in the plural. Morbius unlocked the language of the Krell, and doubled his intelligence with one of their machines. Psychology was the other underutilized science that drove the plot of Forbidden Planet to its conclusion. The “id” is called an archaic idea, long since abandoned, but the construct does explain the action, as surely as the other technobabble describes the ship’s hull, engines, navigation, and weaponry. As interesting as it is, I never had the drive for studying psychology that I have for words, their meanings, origins, and uses.
|Blade and blood share a root meaning.|
Many of the "bl" words do.
When Mom bought the house a new dictionary,
I spent hours reading etymologies.
My mother’s family was Hungarian. Although English was the official language of our home, Hungarian was impossible to avoid. My brother and I were encouraged to take foreign language classes in school as soon as they were offered. He started with French in the third grade. I had to wait until the seventh to begin German. At that same time, when telephoning my friend, John, I learned to get through to his mother in Ukrainian: "Mazhu ya hovoriti do Vanya?" And to listen for the reply, just in case, "Yo ho ne ma doma." (He is not at home.) Over the years of junior and senior high school, I spent hours just browsing the foreign language stacks in main branch of the Cleveland Public Library. It was a moment for me when I read the title Szep Uj Vilag and understood the meaning: Pretty [Brave] New World, itself another reference to The Tempest.
|Decrypting the language of the Krell|
|The Monster of the Id|
|Oh, brave new world|
that has such creatures in it!
|The IQ Test|
As for the movie, it has held up well over time. With The Tempest for its model, the plot was tried and true. The writing and acting were competent. The special effects were innovative. In fact, live action shooting took only a couple of months and the artwork required another eighteen. The high-quality workmanship continues to deliver value.
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