I’m a lover of animation and surrealism, and I learned of one of the best examples of both from a friend, Fantastic Planet. (or as it’s titled in its original language, La Planéte Sauvage, literally “The Wild Planet) It was released in 1973 and is based on the is based on the 1957 novel Oms en série by Stefan Wul.
The animation is reminiscent of the kind used in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It’s nice to look at. There is some nudity here and there, so I wouldn’t recommend it for children. Plus, it’s pretty disturbing.
The story takes place on an alien world. The opening scene right away shows us how nightmarish this world is. A woman is seen running and carrying her baby. She is stopped by giant blue hands. One picks her up and she drops the child. She is dropped to her death, and then we meet the aliens, the Draags. These are blue-skinned aliens who live in prosperity. The humans–which they call Oms–have it worse. They are kept as pets and some of the Draags regard them as vermin. They look at the humans like a scientist would look at a mouse. A curiosity for experiment and entertainment for children, but not much else.
The movie mostly focuses on the human baby seen at the beginning, who is named Tiwa by one of the alien children. The Draag child teaches the human its language, but beyond that, does not appear to have compassion for Tiwa. The humans have overpopulated the world, despite their conditions, which is why the Draags regard them as vermin. There’s even a scene where the aliens use poisonous gas to kill the humans.
I thought this was an interesting movie. It truly deserves its legacy. If you can find it on DVD, I’d recommend it if you like strange animation like Heavy Metal.
One thought on “Film Freak: Fantastic Planet”
I think it comes around and ties up nicely in the end, with the Draags and Oms learning to live together–albeit on separate worlds. It’s a nice message of coexistence, and it’s not quickly achieved–just as coexistence among different types of humans isn’t easily achived on Earth. Rene Laloux’s later film “Light Years” aka “Gandahar” is worth looking at it, if you can find it. It’s not as visually interesting as Fantastic Planet, but the animation is closer to what modern audiences in this country are used to. I find “Fantastic” to be a perpetually rewarding journey, one I’m sure I’m continue to re-experience.