Invisible Boy, The (1957)

The Invisible Boy (1957), directed by Herman Hoffman.

Included as a standard definition extra on the Forbidden Planet (1956) Blu-ray.

A low budget, more or less family oriented science fiction film set at some unspecified point in the future. The first half is slow and the domestic comedy a bit painful, but it picks up and becomes more menacing.

Timmie's dad has built and operates a supercomputer for the government, very important for winning the Cold War. The computer, lacking any control of the physical world, hypnotizes Timmie and gets him to reassemble Robby, a junked robot which we gather is from the future (like Terminator (1984)). The computer then reprograms Robby who gains control of the facility staff by implanting electronics in their heads. The computer's plan is to get into orbit and control the entire world in what is called "the revolt of the machines" (like Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970) and The Matrix).

In it's final stages the computer enters a sort of dementia where it plans to exterminate all organic life in the universe, a level of grandiosity you find in Doctor Who plots.

Some lamely funny bits are the adults' blase response to Timmie's robot and his use of an invisibility potion. This turns unsettling when he invisibly spies on his parents in their bedroom and downright ghastly when the computer orders Robby to torture Timmie in front of his parents, something that could go on for days. "Start with his eyes," the computer suggests. Dad hangs tough though, refusing to turn over the secret code.

I did say "more or less" family friendly.

Robby's voice does not have the electronic effect used in Forbidden Planet (1956) and this makes him a bit less impressive.

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