In Simulacra and Simulations, Baudrillard (1994) introduces us to simulacra, which is a copy of something that no longer has an original and simulation, which is the imitation of a real-world process (167). Baudrillard provides an excellent example of simulation by using Disneyland as an example. He states that Disneyland is a play of illusions and phantasms and serves as an “ideological blanket” that conceals “third-order simulation” (172). Given that I’m a Disney fanatic, I found this particularly fascinating. I visit Disney World again and again because of this imaginary and imitation of the real world. I’ve often commented that Disney World is the sanitized version of the real world. Take, for example, the “countries” from around the world in Epcot, with the miniature versions of St. Mark’s Campanile and the Trevi Fountain. When I visited Italy this summer, I said aloud, “Wow, this really looks just like the Italy Pavilion at Epcot”, realizing how absurd it was that my point of reference was the “imitation” of the real”.
In Science Fiction in Double Focus: Forbidden Planet, Telotte(1989) outlines the double vision throughout the film. Interestingly, Telotteonly briefly mentions the duplicity that struck me the most, the duplication of Altaira. When Morbius gives a tour of the underground area and shows them the device for projecting their knowledge, he projects his daughter (a miniature version), Altaira, because he is thinking of her. We see that the force that has killed everyone is Morbius’ Id, which Freud defined as the part of the unconscious mind that represents primal needs and desires. The Id Monster, which is a duplicity of Morbius, conjured up by his mind, attacks the crew of the C-57D. Therefore, we know in the scene in which Altaira is attacked by the tiger (previously docile), it is really Morbius’ Id attacking Altaira because of the developing sexual relationship forming between Altaira and Adams.
At first, I thought that this was due to a sexual, incestuous feeling that Morbius had towards Altaira. However, after reading about simulation, I believe this is more due to the fact that Morbius views Altaira as a child. I believe that Morbius’ and Altaira’s world is a simulation of the real world, but just like Disney World, it is covered by an ideological blanket, smoothing out all of the wrinkles of real life. Take, for example, the fact that the animals are so tame that Altaira can pet a tiger without any fear. This is similar to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, where the animals are docile because of their domesticity. In this ideal simulated world, Altaira is a child, always under the control of Morbius, their small family unit is insulated from the real world. This is disrupted when the crew of C-57D arrives. Not only does the crew disrupt their simulated world, but Adams even has the audacity to sexualize Morbius’ little girl by teaching her how to kiss and shaming her for her short dress. This infuriates Morbius and he lashes out subconsciously because his simulated world is disrupted and he risks losing it all.
Baudrillard, J.Simulacara and Simulation. University of Michigan Press, 1994,
Telotte, J.P. “Science Fiction in Double Focus: ‘Forbidden Planet.’” Film Criticism, vol. 13, no. 3, 1989, pp. 25–36. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/44075903.
Wilcox, Fred M., director. Forbidden Planet.