DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP
The paranoid plot of TV hit Person of Interest brought us back to the granddaddy of government conspiracy computers, Colossus: The Forbin Project from 1970, based on D.F. Jones’s 1966 novel.
It was before PCs, social media, smartphones, and yet the movie is startlingly contemporary. You’d think it was made yesterday. Dr. Forbin (Eric Braeden) is one of those scientists like Dr. Strangelove—with a German accent. So, his cavalier attitude about the overreaching computer he invented is de rigueur. The head of the CIA (William Schallert) and the President (Gordon Pinsent) are greatly troubled.
Colossus soon starts doing his stuff. He makes the HAL model from a few years earlier (Kubrick’s androgynous baby) appear to be a petulant set decorator. Colossus wants to subjugate all humankind because he’s smarter and knows more.
As the computer stretches its tentacles, we begin to see, like HAL, the machine is a “he.” When he makes his robotic voice to express his infatuation with Forbin, you know you are in the same territory as the apparently Lesbian machine in love with Miss Forbes on Person of Interest.
What gives with these machines so fascinated with the sex lives of their makers? It seems almost perverse. Well, it is perverse. It’s Sexting 101.
The kinky machine Colossus will let Forbin have a few sexual moments with his assistant (Susan Clark), but she is a plant by Dr. Forbin to try to regain control over the machine. Colossus is nobody’s fool, and also seems to have gone in the direction of Peeping Tom.
Believable, underrated, and hoot-worthy, Colossus: The Forbin Project is ripped from today’s TV hits. In the meantime, the supporting cast features many familiar faces from 1970s television series.