Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) Jennifer Drake, Eric Baugin, Jean Topart, Jean Valmont, Sylvie Lenoir, Michèle Chahan, Yves Barsacq, Hubert de Lapparent, Gérard Hernandez, Claude Joseph, Philippe Ogouz, Jacques Ruisseau
Written by: René Laloux, Roland Topor, based on a novel by Stefan Wul
Directed by: René Laloux
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: French, English with English subtitles
Running Time: 72
Date: 05/01/1973

Fantastic Planet (1973)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Om King

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Images from this film reminded me of my childhood, so I must have seen it at some point, though I can't remember how or when. Seeing it today as an adult yields a mixed reaction. Like a lot of sci-fi, it's a very simple story covered up by a myriad of cool sci-fi imagery and devices (it frankly reminded me of David Lynch's Dune). It takes place in a world where Oms are human-like beings, captured and enslaved by the giant Draags (with red eyes and fish fins for ears). One Om is captured and raised from a baby, and he grows up to learn Draag history and language. He escapes and uses his knowledge to wage a war for freedom. Directed by René Laloux, the animation is crude, but the artwork is never less than astounding. Often, the characters pass by some astonishing creations in the background, such as a tree that captures animals with a cage-like appendage. In another sequence, two women fight while tied together by their hair. In any case, the overall effect is an odd mixture of astonishment and queasiness.

DVD Details: Facets Video has released the 2007 DVD, available in its original French-language track with English subtitles, or in the English-dubbed track (which is what I must have seen as a kid). The disc includes a short work by Laloux and an interview, as well as a trailer, a photo gallery and a music video by Sean Lennon.

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