Synopsis of Fantastic Planet
French/Czech co-production, the dream-like La Planete Sauvage concerns the degradation of the Oms, human-like creatures on the futuristic planet Yagam. The Oms are kept as pets and beasts of burden by the Draggs, 39-foot beings who comprise Yagam’s ruling class. The status quo is upset when Terr, one of the Oms, accidentally receives an education, whereupon he organizes the other Oms to demand equality with the Draggs
Editorial review of Fantastic Planet courtesy of Amazon.com
Based on French science fiction novelist Stefan Wul’s Oms en Serie (“Oms by the Dozen”), René Laloux’s La Planète Sauvage (its title changed to Fantastic Planet for the U.S. release) paints an animated tale of humans kept as domesticated pets by an alien race of blue humanoid giants called Traags. The story takes place on the Traags’ planet Ygam, where we follow our narrator, an Om called Terr, from infancy to adulthood, when he escapes his subjugation with a Traag learning device with which to educate the savage Oms and incite them to revolt. As a French-Czech coproduction, this story had much resonance for its makers as an allegory of Czechoslovakia’s invasion by Soviet troops in the late ’60s, and had to be completed in Paris due to political pressure.
While the story does not distinguish itself in the annals of science fiction, the imagination invested in the surreal backdrops, with its eerie creatures and landscapes, does. The animation technique–moving paper cutouts across backgrounds–contributes to the overall feeling of other-worldliness. Fantastic Planet won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973. Included on the DVD are three early short subjects by Laloux showing his evolution toward Fantastic Planet. You have your choice of audio: French with English subtitles, or English with English subtitles. But choose the latter so you can see how much the subtitles are cheating you. –Jim Gay