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Fantastic Planet



Released: 6th December 1973

Directed by: René Laloux 

Reviewed by: William McAbee

When I was young I had a hard time falling and staying asleep which led me to late nights and early mornings watching TV. Since there was never any good television programs on that late I would just surf the movie channels until I found something good enough to entertain myself. One of those nights I came across a strange, animated film titled Fantastic Planet. I was still young and knew nothing about it. The film came across as a weird and confusing movie so I switched away from it. Now that I am older, I looked up Fantastic Planet and saw that it won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. I decided to give it another chance to see if I would enjoy it now that I am older and more mature in my film knowledge. Read on to see my thoughts…

Fantastic Planet is a 1973 animated picture directed by René Laloux who co-wrote it with production designer Roland Topor based on the book Oms en série. The story is set on a futuristic planet where humans are known as Oms and are pets of gigantic blue Draags on the planet Ygam. The follows Terr, an Om whose mother is killed at the beginning, who becomes a pet of the Draag Tiva. Terr eventually escapes and joins the rebel Oms and educates them with a Draag learning device. The Oms have to survive the dangerous planet, creatures, and Draags who want to eliminate them while also figuring out a way to escape. The film won the 1973 Grand Prix at the Cannes Festival.

Well this film is certainly something. I am not sure if I loved it but I certainly didn’t hate it. The film is a very visual and surreal picture that has some incredible imagery to look it. The film is beautiful, wonderfully animated, and certainly unique in every sense of the word. I wasn’t expecting much out of Fantastic Planet but I certainly got a different experience than my usual films.

From the beginning the film feels out of world, besides being Sci-Fi, and the animation is marvelous to enjoy. I really enjoyed the images in the film and found many of the landscapes and people beautiful. Still the problem with this film is not the visuals but the story. It feels like a big mess that somehow sticks together through one central story line. Even then you never are too sure about where the story is headed or how certain subplots impact or matter to the film. It feels all over the place and never organized.

Now there was a certain aspect that this chaos works for the film because it allows a lot fo freedom to the animators and director to explore this strange world and let their imaginations fly. On one side this is good because we get to see a lot of unique creatures and places but on the other end it certainly feels like an acid trip sometimes. I will admit within the first 10 minutes I was worried my brain was melting from just watching the film. Even the Draags are hard to look at because of there strange and interesting looks…plus the fact that they never blink!

Still this movie was good in spots that matter. The visuals were great and the message was really clear and well done. The film was based on the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia and the film clearly reflects the feelings that were felt by the soviet oppression. The themes of oppression, rebellion, and courage are seen throughout and its done well enough to keep the film above average.

The film is definitely a mess at points but it never loses its main plot and message. Fantastic Planet is certainly one of the most unique films you will ever see but it is worth a watch. The visuals are fascinating and the imagery and symbolism strong. Not the best animated picture you will see but one worth a watch.


Hello! I am William McAbee. I do my fair share of reviews from time to time and I tweet like there is no tomorrow! I work currently as a video editor and producer.

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