On a strange planet in an unknown solar system, there lives a war between two species the Draags and the Oms. The Draags are blue, large alien like creaetures with a thirst for knowledge and are an advanced race. The Oms are primitive human-like characters, close to cavemen, living in the wild of the planet and are miniscule in comparison to the Draags. The film begins when a mother and a baby Om are being terrorized by a group of Draags. They kill the mother, and run away, before Tiva (a draag) takes the baby Om (Terr) and nurtures it, like a pet, until teen years. One Om year is the equivelant of one Draag day, so within 3 weeks, Terr has aged to 18. As Tiva's exams start, she ignores Terr, so Terr takes his chance to escape. Once gone, he must lead an uprising against the draags.
Laloux had two stages in his career. His early artistic and 'Dali'-like films and his later colourful anime stylised films. 'Fantastic Planet' is his most famous, and a high-point of his early career.
The story is a simple story of a pet rebelling against it's owner, but there are many layers to this story. Firstly there is the surrealistic atmosphere, and strange animation style. Then there is the Freudian undertones and Salvador Dali inspired landscapes and creatures. But what overwhelmed me the most was the story siding with the Oms, making the audience think we are similar, when in-fact as a species, we are like the frighteningly over-developed Draags. The story is written in a way in which we side with the Oms, creating a horrible feeling when they do retaliate of triumph but also dread.
Not many films can create an entire world, and no films can have as many original ideas as this one. At only 72 minutes, the film may feel short, but it crams a ridiculous amount of ideas. Not a single part of this film, did I look at a clock, nor did I feel bored. There was always something happening, and the world Laloux has created is a strange, but completely engaging one.
As a 'PG' rated film goes, there is nudity, killing and mass-murder. Just because it's animated doesn't mean it's OK... Does it?
As I bought the 'Masters of Cinema' blu-ray, I also watched his short films, so here is a quick review of them. 'Le dents du singe' (1960), is his first short film, but is completely terrible. It looks like it was animated by members of a psychiatric facility (perhaps that's because it was). The second film was 'Les temps morts' (1964), contains a philosophical narration, which didn't make much sense. Pretentious? Yes. You can see his early art style, but there is a lack of animation and it appeared more like a slideshow. The third film 'Les Escargots' (1965) is about a farmer who tries to grow large lettuce. The first half is a comical farce, while the second half is like 'Godzilla' with Snails. Far more enjoyable, but I still wouldn't consider 'worth watching'. The Fourth film is called 'Comment Wang-Fo fut sauve' (1987), about a painter in Medieval China, and how the emperor summoned him. His later animation style is visible here, and it matches the gorgeous landscapes and paintings shown. This is by far the best of the short films and I would definitely recommend it. The last short film is called 'La prisonniere' and is really quite forgettable. I couldn't make out any story whatsoever.
As an animation its impeccable, as a sci-fi its 'fantastic'.