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Colossus - The Forbin Project
Colossus - The Forbin Project
Actors: Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent, William Schallert, Leonid Rostoff
Director: Joseph Sargent
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
PG     2004     1hr 40min

Dr. Forbins pentagon supercomputer links with its soviet counterpart to hold the world hostage for peace. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 11/23/2004 Starring: Eric Braeden Martin Brooks Run time: 100 minutes...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent, William Schallert, Leonid Rostoff
Director: Joseph Sargent
Creators: Gene Polito, Folmar Blangsted, Stanley Chase, D.F. Jones, James Bridges
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Science Fiction, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 11/23/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 13
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, Russian

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Movie Reviews

Not widescreen
C. S. Junker | Burien, WA USA | 11/20/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I got a chance to see an advance copy of this today, and to my disappointment, this DVD is a so-called "Full Frame" transfer (in other terms, Pan & Scan).

Colossus: The Forbin Project was shot in 2.35:1 (I have it on laser disc in widescreen) so you will be losing more than half of the image on this version.

What a shame! This is a classic SF movie, and it deserves to be seen as it was photographed. Sure, the price is low, but when you don't get the real film, so what? In any case, it may be reissued some day with in the special edition form it deserves, and then you'll have to buy it again. Purchase not recommended.

"No widescreen, no sale!""
Colussus - The Beginning
Caroline Roscorla | Truro, United Kingdom | 11/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First to declare my interest. My father wrote the book on which The Forbin Project is based. The comments I have read are much appreciated since the story was the original attraction for the producer. My father always said though that the producers spent more on hiring the computer equipment and computer staff, than they did on either the script or the actors.In considering both the book and the film please do remember the book was first published in 1966, and the film was made in 1969 - 30 years ago. Man had only just walked on the moon. Computers have developed further and faster than space travel. Looked at from that perspective the film still stands scrutiny.This was my father's first book, and written for two reasons a) to see if he could and b) as a celebration of the human spirit which will never give in.Try and find the book(s) if you can, they are worth reading"
"Freedom is an illusion."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 11/30/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"It's funny how different generations perceive new technology. As a child of the 70's, I pretty much grew up as personal home computing became a reality, and learned most of what I know by personal experience and extensive usage of computers at home, school, and work. My parents, on the other hand, had the technology thrust upon them, and struggled a bit (at least my mother did, as it took me many sessions to teach her how to use e-mail and also a lot of convincing that there was no self-destruct button to be accidentally pushed, one that would cause a complete meltdown of the internet), but eventually they came around. I've given up on trying to show my grandmother the wondrous world of computers and the internet as she still has problems working her top-loading VCR. What's my point here? I actually can't remember, but I know it has something to do with computers, just like this film Colossus: The Forbin Project.

Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970), based on a novel by D.F. Jones, was directed by Joseph Sargent, who primarily works in television, starting out in the late 50's as an actor soon making the transition to directing, squeezing in a few feature films in the early to mid 70's, most notably The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), before going back to television. Starring in the film is Eric Braeden, a television actor with a few film credits, including that of Bruno von Stickle in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977). Also appearing in the film is Susan Clark (The Apple Dumpling Gang, Porky's), Gordon Pinset (Blacula), William Schallert (The Patty Duke Show), and Marion Ross aka Marion Cunningham on TV's Happy Days, the show credited with enhancing the cultural lexicon with the phrase `Sit on it'.

As the film begins, we learn of the United States' completion of a self-sufficient, impregnable, impervious, super-duper, ginormous computer called Colossus, the brainchild of Dr. Charles Forbin (Braeden). The purpose of this `souped-up adding machine' is to provide a completely automated, logistical defense system for the United States, eliminating the human element completely from decisions, specifically those involving nuclear weapons, the thinking being that we can't trust ourselves with such power due to the fact that we're volatile, erratic, and often prone to act on an emotional level rather than on an intellectual one. Soon after Colossus goes online (thus opening Pandora's box), it's discovered (by Colossus) that the Russians have also developed their own version called Guardian, and the two systems begin communicating with each other, eventually combining their computing resources to become one disturbing, ever-growing, ever-learning, superior god-like entity that decides, while mankind has its' uses, humans are not capable of managing themselves or the planet, and now seeks total control of everything, using the threat of nuclear annihilation as its' means to this end. Will Dr. Forbin and his associates find a way to stop this data processing beast before it insinuates itself into every aspect of our lives, or are we doomed to become slaves, literally, to our own creation?

This really is a wonderful film, presenting a highly interesting story, relying less on spectacular effects but more on originality, an intelligent script and storyline, solid acting, and good direction. Considering this film came out in 1970, I can't help but wonder if the ideas presented here may have provided a catalyst for the Terminator or Matrix films, in that of a system, created by humans, surpassing its' programming, and reaching a point of self realization, understanding its' own superiority over its' creators and making the logical decision in seeking to assume ultimate control. I thought pretty much all the actors did a good job, especially Braeden, initially presenting a seemingly cold and calculating character (much like his creation), but later exhibiting more human traits as the situation becomes more urgent. The direction was quite good, and Sargent's background directing television became apparent as a number of scenes were quite lengthy, featuring few cutshots, but rather moving the camera on a dolly maintaining a sense of watching a live performance, rather than a slickly edited film. Also, the story, while fantastic, grew to incorporate a spooky, realistic quality like something that could actually happen. The scenes where Colossus began to suspect events transpiring outside its' control and then took measures to rectify the situation were especially eerie. Also, I'm really glad the makers of this film chose not to cop out on the ending, which I thought was really suitable for the story.

As with many reviewers, I was highly disappointed that Universal decided to neglect those of us who appreciate seeing films as they were originally meant to be seen, releasing only a full screen, `pan and scan' transfer to DVD. I had not the opportunity to see this film in the theaters (too young), and while I am glad I was able to see it now, it's very obvious in watching this release much of the picture is missing. Universal couldn't even have been bothered to clean up this version, as I noticed quite a bit of white `specking' in the darker areas of the picture (I could have easily forgave that for a wide screen release). And for what? So they can offer it at a low price? I would have been willing (as many others, I'm sure) to pay more for a better product. There are no special features available (not even a stinkin' trailer), nor is there even a menu as the film starts immediately after you put it into the DVD player. Certainly not all films rate a five star release, but it's a real shame to see a large studio like Universal undeservedly slight a relatively unknown classic like this, not utilizing any of the enhancements the DVD format now offers. All in all, a two star release for a four star film. I'd recommend renting or buying used rather than buying new.

Full-screen??? What's up with that?
Sonny Denbow | St. Charles, MO | 09/29/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Colossus is one of my all time favorite science fiction movies. The movie inspired me to become a software developer, oh so many years ago. I missed it when it came out on laser disc and have been waiting patiently for the DVD release. My question to Universal is what were you thinking releaseing the movie in Pan 'n Scan? The movie was filmed in widescreen! Fans want it in widescreen. As another reviewer mentioned, if you must release it in Pan 'n Scan for those who feel they're losing something if the movie doesn't fill the screen, then at least release it with both formats. Other companies do it. Get with the program!!! I am giving this movie a low rating solely on the lack of a widescreen format. Otherwise, I would have rated it four stars (not the best movie I've ever seen, but like I said, one of my favorite.)"