Forms can be
-An encyclopedia for techniques within a system
-A way to build muscle, speed, flexibility,and power in areas otherwise undeveloped or underdeveloped
-Unrealistic and dangerous when not understood and when practiced within an improper context
-Monumental in making you a better fighter when practiced properly, understood, and put into proper context, within a style and with a Teacher that can teach (Muscle, speed, flexibility, power,technique, flow). At the same time, practicing forms is not the same as fighting.
-A moving meditation which puts you in a state of flow, or the zone, placing you in the present
I find some systems and Teachers use forms much better than others