French release poster
|La Planète sauvage|
|Directed by||René Laloux|
|Based on||Oms en série|
by Stefan Wul
|Narrated by||Jean Valmont|
|Music by||Alain Goraguer|
Les Films Armorial
|Distributed by||Argos Films (French release)|
New World Pictures (US release)
Fantastic Planet (French: La Planète sauvage, lit. The Wild Planet) is a 1973 experimental adult animated science fiction film, directed by René Laloux and written by Laloux and Roland Topor, the latter of whom also completed the film's production design. The film was animated at Jiří Trnka Studio in Prague. The film was an international co-production between companies from France and Czechoslovakia. The allegorical story, about humans living on a strange planet dominated by giant humanoid aliens who consider them animals, is based on the 1957 novel Oms en série by French writer Stefan Wul.
A working title while in development was Sur la planète Ygam (On the Planet Ygam), which is where most of the story takes place; the actual title (The Fantastic/Savage Planet) is the name of Ygam's moon. Production began in 1963. Fantastic Planet was awarded the Grand Prix special jury prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, and in 2016, it was ranked the 36th greatest animated movie ever by Rolling Stone.
In the distant future, the gargantuan blue humanoid Draags have brought human beings (who are called Oms as a play on the French word for "man", homme) from Earth to the planet Ygam, where they maintain a technologically and spiritually advanced society. The Draags consider Oms animals, and while they keep some as pets, others live in the wilderness and are periodically slaughtered by the Draags, who wish to control their population. Draags have much longer lifespans than Oms, but reproduce much less.
When an Om mother is teased to death by three Draag children, her orphaned infant is found by Master Sinh, a key Draag leader, and his daughter Tiwa, who keeps the boy as a pet and names him Terr. Tiwa loves Terr and is careful not to hurt him, but, in accordance with her parents' instructions, keeps him under control, giving him a collar with which she can pull him in any direction. She brings Terr to sessions in which she receives her education using a headset that transmits knowledge into her mind, and a defect in his collar allows him to receive the knowledge too. Around the time that Tiwa grows into her teens and first performs Draag meditation, which allows the species to travel with their minds, she loses some interest in Terr, who has become a young man and acquired much Draag knowledge. He escapes into the wilderness, stealing Tiwa's headset.
There he runs into a wild female Om, who cuts off his collar and introduces him to her tribe, which lives in an abandoned Draag park full of strange creatures and landscapes. Terr shows them how to use the headset to acquire Draag knowledge and literacy, winning the right to do so in a duel. The literacy they gain allows them to read a Draag announcement that the park will be purged of Oms, and, when the purge comes, some are slaughtered by Draag technology while others escape, joining forces with another tribe. They are attacked by two Draag passers-by and manage to kill one of them before escaping to an abandoned Draag rocket depot, much to the outrage of Draag leaders.
They live there for years, joined by many other Oms, and, due to the knowledge acquired from Terr's headset, manage to replicate Draag technology, including two rockets; they hope to leave Ygam for its moon, the Wild Planet, and live there safe from Draags. When a large-scale Draag purge hits the depot and many Oms are slaughtered, a group led by Terr uses the rockets to flee to the Wild Planet, where they discover large statues that Draags travel to during meditation and use to meet beings from other galaxies in a strange ritual that maintains their species. The Oms destroy some of the statues, threatening the Draags' existence; the genocide is halted on Ygam, and, facing a crisis, the Draags sue for peace. The Oms agree to leave the Wild Planet to the Draags for their meditations, and in return, an artificial satellite is put into orbit around Ygam and is given to the Oms as a new home. This leads to an era of peaceful coexistence between the two species, who now benefit from each other's way of thinking.
|Tiwa||Jennifer Drake||Cynthia Adler|
|Young Terr||Eric Baugin||Mark Gruner|
|Master Sinh||Jean Topart||Hal Smith|
|Adult Terr (Narrator)||Jean Valmont||Barry Bostwick|
|Om||Yves Barsacq||Hal Smith (old and sorcerer)|
|Master Taj||Gérard Hernandez||Olan Soule|
|Great Tree Chief||Unknown||Marvin Miller|
|Hollow Log Chief||Janet Waldo|
|Draag Child||Mark Lesser|
- French: Sylvie Lenoir, Michèle Chahan, Hubert de Lapparent, Claude Joseph, Philippe Ogouz, Jacques Ruisseau, Max Amyl, Madeleine Clervannes, William Coryn, Poupy de Monneron, Christian de Tillière, Christian Echelard, Jeanine Forney, Pascal Kominakis, Andre Lambert, Serge Netter, Yvette Robin, André Rouyer, Irina Tarason, Julien Thomas, Gilbert Vilhon, Paul Villé
- English: Nora Heflin, Monika Ramirez
|La Planète Sauvage|
|Film score by|
The main theme is very reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother Suite" (same half-time tempo, mellotron, harpsichord, and wah-wah guitar), and the other two are a ballad and a circus-like waltz. The music is very '70s-clichéd and will appeal to fans of French and Italian '70s soundtrack stylings. Although repetitive, the album itself creates an interesting marijuana-induced sci-fi floating mood, blending psychedelia, jazz, and funk... [It] has been sampled by a few hip-hop artists.
|5.||"Terr et Tiwa"||1:46|
|6.||"Maquillage de Tiwa"||1:17|
|7.||"Course de Terr"||0:53|
|8.||"Terr et Médor"||1:47|
|9.||"Terr et Tiwa dorment"||0:49|
|10.||"Terr est assomé"||0:46|
|12.||"Conseil des Draags"||0:56|
|13.||"Les Hommes – La Grande Co-Existence"||1:15|
|15.||"Mira et Terr"||0:44|
|16.||"Mort de Draag"||0:51|
|18.||"La Cité des hommes libres"||0:49|
|19.||"Attaque des robots"||2:05|
|20.||"La Longue Marche – Valse des statues"||2:15|
|24.||"Méditation des enfants"||1:33|
|25.||"La vieille meurt"||0:49|
The film's narrative has been considered to be an allegory about animal rights and human rights, as well as racism. Sean Axmaker of Turner Classic Movies referred to the film as "nothing if not allegorical", writing that "it's not a stretch to see the fight against oppression reflected in the civil rights struggle in the United States, the French in Algeria, apartheid in South Africa, and (when injustice takes a turn to wholesale annihilation of the 'inferior' race) the Holocaust itself".
Liz Ohanesian of LA Weekly speculated on the film being a commentary on animal rights, using the Draag's treatment of the Oms as evidence and writing that the film places "humans in roles of pets and pests". Mike D'Angelo of The A.V. Club wrote that "The Traag-Om dynamic is broad enough to be multipurpose, reflecting both racism and animal rights via 'How would you like it?' role reversal".
The film was reported to have a total of 809,945 admissions in France.
Fantastic Planet has received generally positive reviews. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 91% based on 32 reviews with an average rating of 7.24/10. The site's critical consensus reads "Fantastic Planet is an animated epic that is by turns surreal and lovely, fantastic and graceful".
Howard Thompson of The New York Times wrote that the film offers "original, thoughtful, often strong (but tasteful) animation". Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "disquieting, eerie and vastly imaginative." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film one-and-a-half stars out of four and called it "an animated piece of science-fiction pretending to be a Meaningful Statement ... According to publicists for the film, the visuals and story begin to make sense if your mind is chemically altered. I doubt it."
Among retrospective reviews, Carson Lund of Slant Magazine gave the film a score of three-and-a-half out of five possible stars, writing that "by the film’s conclusion, it’s hard to feel comfortable with similar episodes on our own imperfect planet". Mike D'Angelo of The A.V. Club gave the film a rating of "B+", writing that "Fantastic Planet [should] seem extremely dated, yet it’s ultimately too singular to feel beholden to a particular era. It truly earns the adjective in its title". Alan Morrison of Empire gave the film four out of five stars and called it "Surreal and wonderful in a way not often seen from Europe".
Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide gave the film three out of four stars, calling it an "Eerie, surreal and a welcome respite from Disney-style animation". Scott Thill of Wired called the film "a sterling example of the trippy animation ambition of the late '60s and early '70s". Gary Dauphin of The Village Voice wrote that "Although the visuals are worth the ticket alone, Fantastic Planet also crackles with emotional and political resonance". Paul Trandahl of Common Sense Media gave the film a rating of four out of five stars, calling the film "A jarring examination of racism and intolerance".
Following various public domain VHS releases of the film, it was released by Anchor Bay Entertainment on VHS and DVD on 16 February 1999. In 2006, Eureka Entertainment released the film on DVD in the United States as #34 in their Masters of Cinema line. In August 2010, Eureka released a restored high-definition transfer of the film on Blu-ray, with special features including a collection of Laloux's short films and a 27-minute documentary called Laloux sauvage. Eureka, a London-based company, has produced the edition only as a Region B release.
On 23 October 2007, Facets Video and Accent Cinema released a newly restored version on DVD, including many bonus features never available before. In June 2016, the Criterion Collection released the film on Blu-ray and DVD.
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- "La Planète Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) @ BCDB". BCDB. 16 November 2012.
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- "Festival de Cannes: Fantastic Planet". festival-cannes.com. Archived from the original on 22 August 2011. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- Charles Bramesco, Alissa Wilkinson, Scott Tobias, Noel Murray, Jenna Scherer, Tim Grierson, and Sam Adams (28 June 2016). "40 Greatest Animated Movies Ever - 36. 'Fantastic Planet' (1973)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 12 July 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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- Siskel, Gene (March 5, 1974). "What's this? Jellyfish with jaws?" Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 5.
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- Maitland McDonagh. "Fantastic Planet - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV Guide. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
- Scott Thill (5 June 2012). "Yellow Submarine Sparks Dive Deep Into Psychedelic Animation". Wired. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
- Gary Dauphin (2 February 1999). "Spaced Out". The Village Voice. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
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