Movies »Fantastic Planet

fantastic planet rene lalouxI appreciate 3D animation. Pixar has proven time and again that it can be used to accomplish extraordinary results, but for me it's always nice to see traditionally drawn animation, to see the inherent special qualities an artists hand can lend. Fantastic Planet is a truly glorious achievement in drawn animation and, though the technique is traditional, nothing else about this totally far out film is remotely familiar–it's pretty unlikely that you'll ever see or even hear anything like it.

Rene Laloux weaves a trippy tale, based on the book Oms en Serie by Stefan Wul, about giant blue humanoids (called Draags) obsessed with meditation and the tiny humans (called Oms) they keep as pets. After the Draags discover the possibility of Om intelligence, paranoia leads to mass exterminations, which leads to war.

When we recently re-watched this movie, both of us kept remarking at just how bizarre it is, and yet it's completely accessible. The planet is wildly imaginative, populated by stunningly bizarre creatures and wildlife. Surreal artist Roland Topor is responsible for much of this amazing imagery–he was also the author of The Tenant, which was made into a nearly great Polanski film and played Renfield in Herzog's Nosferatu– quite a career!

This is Laloux's most famous work, but another feature called Time Masters is also worth checking out. On the Fantastic Planet DVD you can also see a couple of his shorts, “Monkey's Teeth” and “The Snails”.

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Posted on January 14, 2008

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