2018 Sci-Fi Horrorfest: Fantastic Planet (1973)
Based on the novel by Stefan Wul
Story adapted by Roland Topor & Rene Laloux
Directed by Rene Laloux
Plot: On the planet Ygim, humans are called Oms and are pets/slaves to the giant blue alien Draags. When one human known as Terr begins using a teaching device, he becomes educated and takes the first steps towards leading a revolt of the Oms against their masters.
Richard’s Review: Ever since I first watched Fantastic Planet on HBO back in the 80s, I’ve been hooked by the odd nature of this film. Now, with an older and wiser cinematic eye, I can clearly see it as an allegory, but for what is still the question. Is it about racism or is it about animal abuse? Or something else altogether? I think that’s what makes this flick special in that it can be interpreted many different ways depending on the viewer’s frame of mind at the time of watching as well as their personal life experiences.
The story is essentially a simple one surrounded by wild images on a very alien world. Just one viewing isn’t enough to truly capture all the subtle strange surroundings. I truly enjoyed the adventure but there are some obvious plot holes surrounding how the humans could use the Draag technology to their advantage that did pull me out of the moment once or twice. The film also wraps far too quickly after dragging the story out to feature length. The characters deserved more development and a more detailed conclusion than a narrated wrap-up. That said, I highly recommend you check it out more than once as there’s a lot to take in and interpret for yourself.
Karla’s Thoughts: I have to start by saying that I didn’t like this one. I couldn’t get past the fact that it felt like a Monty Python flick. The animation was too weird and Pythonesque for me and there wasn’t enough science fiction to the story. There were a lot of strange images and a violent storyline plus plot elements that didn’t make sense to me. Not a fan of this one.
- The production of the film started in Prague but moved to Paris to avoid Communist interference. However, it is clearly influenced by the Czech animation style of making characters symbols rather than unique individuals. Thus, most characters in the film blend together.
- Roland Topor’s very unique vision for the worlds and characters seen in the film are present despite his lack of direct involvement due to the length time commitment to make the film.
- Barry Bostwick (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Megaforce) and Hal Smith (Otis the drunk on The Andy Griffith Show) did voice over work in the American version of the film.
Availability: Fantastic Planet is available on Blu-Ray as part of the Criterion Collection. Be sure to watch the extras on artist Roland Topor.