Fantastic Planet

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Fantastic Planet
Poster showing a giant blue humanoid Traag examining a human in her hand.
French release poster
FrenchLa Planète sauvage
Directed byRené Laloux
Written by
Based onOms en série
by Stefan Wul
Produced by
Narrated byJean Valmont
  • Boris Baromykin
  • Lubomir Rejthar
Edited by
  • Hélène Arnal
  • Marta Látalová
Music byAlain Goraguer
Les Films Armorial
Studio Jiri Trnka
Distributed byArgos Films (France)
Ceskoslovensky Film Export (Czechoslovakia)
Release dates
  • 11 May 1973 (1973-05-11) (Cannes)
  • 6 December 1973 (1973-12-06) (France)
  • 21 December 1973 (1973-12-21) (Czechoslovakia)
Running time
71 minutes[1]
  • France
  • Czechoslovakia

Fantastic Planet (French: La Planète sauvage; Czech: Divoká planeta, lit.'The Wild Planet') is a 1973 French-language experimental independent[2] adult animated science fiction art film,[3] 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.[4] 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),[5] 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,[6] and in 2016, it was ranked the 36th greatest animated movie ever by Rolling Stone.[7]

It is the first animated movie to be rated PG by the MPAA in the United States.


In the distant future, the gargantuan blue humanoid Traags[8][a] have brought human beings (who are called Oms)[b] from Earth to the planet Ygam, where the Traags maintain a technologically and spiritually advanced society. The Traags consider Oms animals, and while they keep some as pets, others live in the wilderness and are periodically slaughtered by the Traags to control their population. Traags have much longer lifespans than Oms, but reproduce much less.

When an Om mother is tortured to death by three Traag children, her orphaned infant is found by Master Sinh, a key Traag 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, gives 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; a defect in Terr's collar allows him to receive the knowledge too. Around the time that Tiwa grows into her teens and first performs Traag 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 Traag 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 Traag park full of strange creatures and landscapes. Terr shows them how to use the headset to acquire Traag knowledge and literacy, winning the right to do so in a duel. The literacy they gain allows them to read a Traag announcement that the park will be purged of Oms, and, when the purge comes, some are slaughtered by Traag technology while others escape, joining forces with another tribe. They are attacked by two Traag passers-by and manage to kill one of them before escaping to an abandoned Traag rocket depot, much to the outrage of Traag leaders.

They live there for years, joined by many other Oms. Due to the knowledge acquired from Terr's headset, they manage to replicate Traag technology, including two rockets; they hope to leave Ygam for its moon, the Fantastic Planet, and live there safe from Traags. When a large-scale Traag purge hits the depot and many Oms are slaughtered, a group led by Terr uses the rockets to flee to the Fantastic Planet, where they discover large statues that Traags travel to during meditation and use to meet beings from other galaxies in a strange mating ritual that maintains their species. The Oms destroy some of the statues, threatening the Traags' existence; the genocide of Oms is halted on Ygam, and, facing a crisis, the Traags negotiate for peace. The Oms agree to leave the Fantastic Planet to the Traags for their meditations, and in return, an artificial satellite is put into orbit around Ygam and 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.

Voice cast[edit]

Character French English
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
Traag Child Mark Lesser Janet Waldo

Additional voices[edit]

  • French: Sylvie Lenoir, Max Amyl, Denis Boileau (Traag), Michèle Chahan, Hubert de Lapparent, Claude Joseph, Philippe Ogouz, Jacques Ruisseau, 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, Marvin Miller (Great Tree Chief, Master Kon), Monika Ramirez, Janet Waldo (Hollow Log Chief)


La Planète Sauvage
Film score by
Released1973 (1973)
LabelDC Recordings

The film's score was composed by Alain Goraguer. In a review for AllMusic, François Couture noted:[10]

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.

The soundtrack was originally pressed on vinyl during the mid-70s in France. These original pressings command a high dollar on the secondary market given the soundtrack's limited release. In 2000, DC Recordings released the soundtrack on CD, and the soundtrack was later reissued on LP.

Track listing[edit]

1."Déshominisation (II)"0:57
2."Déshominisation (I)"3:50
4."Le Bracelet"1:27
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
14."La Femme"2:12
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
21."Les Fusées"2:20
23."Strip Tease"2:24
24."Méditation des Enfants"1:33
25."La Vieille Meurt"0:49
Total length:38:53


The film's narrative has been considered to be an allegory about animal rights and human rights, as well as racism.[11][12] 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".[11]

Liz Ohanesian of LA Weekly speculated on the film being a commentary on animal rights, using the Traag's treatment of the Oms as evidence and writing that the film places "humans in roles of pets and pests".[13] 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".[12]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film was reported to have a total of 809,945 admissions in France.[14]

Critical response[edit]

Fantastic Planet has received generally positive reviews. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 91% based on 35 reviews with an average rating of 7.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads "Fantastic Planet is an animated epic that is by turns surreal and lovely, fantastic and graceful".[15]

Howard Thompson of The New York Times wrote that the film offers "original, thoughtful, often strong (but tasteful) animation".[16] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "disquieting, eerie and vastly imaginative."[17] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune, on the other hand, 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."[18]

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".[19] 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".[12] 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".[20]

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".[21] Scott Thill of Wired called the film "a sterling example of the trippy animation ambition of the late '60s and early '70s".[22] 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".[23] 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".[24]

The film was used as inspiration in designing the world of Pikmin.[25]

In 2016, Fantastic Planet was ranked the 36th greatest animated movie ever by Rolling Stone.[7]


The film won the Special Prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival.[6]

Home media[edit]

Following various bootleg VHS releases of the film, it was released by Anchor Bay Entertainment on VHS and DVD on 16 February 1999.[26] In 2006, Eureka Entertainment released the film on DVD in the United States as #34 in their Masters of Cinema line.[27] It was released on Blu-ray in 2012.[28]

On 23 October 2007, Facets Video and Accent Cinema released a newly restored version on DVD, including many bonus features never available before.[29] In June 2016, the Criterion Collection released the film on Blu-ray and DVD.[30]


  1. ^ in French and Czech spelling: Draag.[9]
  2. ^ this is a play on the French word for "man", homme.


  1. ^ "Fantastic Planet (A)". British Board of Film Classification. 29 May 1974. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  2. ^ Don Bluth Goes Independent -
  3. ^ "10 Essential Arthouse Sci-Fi Films". Film School Rejects. 1 September 2018.
  4. ^ "La Planète Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) @ BCDB". BCDB. 16 November 2012. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013.
  5. ^ Stephenson, Ralph (1967). "15. Filmographies". In Peter Cowie (ed.). Animation in the Cinema. International Film Guide. London: A. Zwemmer. p. 173.
  6. ^ a b "Festival de Cannes: Fantastic Planet". Archived from the original on 22 August 2011. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  7. ^ a b 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.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Wul, Stephan (31 October 2010). Fantastic Planet Paperback. Creation Oneiros. ISBN 978-1902197319.
  9. ^ Wul, Stefan. "Oms en série". Folio.
  10. ^ François Couture. "La Planete Sauvage - Alain Goraguer". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  11. ^ a b San Axmaker. "Fantastic Planet (1973) - Articles". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Mike D'Angelo (18 June 2016). "Fantastic Planet looks as strange today as it must have 40 years ago". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  13. ^ Liz Ohanesian (7 January 2011). "Is Fantastic Planet Just a Cool Movie or Is It Also a Commentary on Animal Rights?". LA Weekly. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  14. ^ "La Planète sauvage". Archived from the original on 13 July 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Fantastic Planet (1973)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 6 October 2023.
  16. ^ Howard Thompson (19 December 1973). "Movie Review - - Fantastic Planet' Is Animated Feature". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  17. ^ Thomas, Kevin (6 February 1974). "Life on a 'Fantastic Planet'". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 11.
  18. ^ Siskel, Gene (5 March 1974). "What's this? Jellyfish with jaws?" Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 5.
  19. ^ Carson Lund (23 June 2016). "Fantastic Planet - Blu-ray Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  20. ^ Alan Morrison (17 August 2006). "Fantastic Planet Review". Empire. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  21. ^ Maitland McDonagh. "Fantastic Planet - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV Guide. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  22. ^ Scott Thill (5 June 2012). "Yellow Submarine Sparks Dive Deep Into Psychedelic Animation". Wired. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  23. ^ Gary Dauphin (2 February 1999). "Spaced Out". The Village Voice. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  24. ^ Paul Trandahl. "Fantastic Planet Movie Review". Common Sense Media. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  25. ^ "Ask the developer Vol. 10, Pikmin 4—Part 1". Nintendo. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  26. ^ Fantastic Planet. ASIN 6305307156.
  27. ^ Randy Miller III (4 May 2007). "Fantastic Planet (Masters of Cinema Edition)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  28. ^ LA PLANETE SAUVAGE / FANTASTIC PLANET (Masters of Cinema) HD DVD Trailer - Eurekaentertainment on YouTube
  29. ^ "Fantastic Planet (35th Anniversary)". Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  30. ^ "Fantastic Planet (1973)". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 12 July 2017.

External links[edit]