Fantastic Planet (1973/aka La Planete Sauvage/Animated/France/Umbrella
Entertainment Region 4 PAL DVD)
Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: B- Film: B-
PLEASE NOTE: This DVD can only be operated on
machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region 4 PAL format
software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the
website address provided at the end of the review.
The spirit of alternate, adult animation during the worldwide
counterculture would have to stretch to France, the home of the French New Wave
and though we do not get jump cuts and a free style in Rene Laloux’s enduring,
stand-alone animated Science Fiction fable Fantastic
Planet (1973), we do get a surreal world in the Johnathan Swift tradition
where human beings are tiny (or is that a tiny version of humans) called Oms
are kept as pets (even more so than a certain Twilight Zone classic) by alien creatures known as the Draggs.
Om is actually able to obtain a Dragg knowledge device, he starts working on
plans for an uprising against the gigantic captors. The 68 minutes are engaging, surreal,
creative, influential and political, inspired in part by the events in
Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s and what the now-defunct U.S.S.R. did about
them, the nudity and uses of surreal images are to unlike Heavy Metal magazine
(and the features so far inspired by it) and Ralph Bakshi’s work. Not in print long enough to get the new
following it deserves, if you can play this PAL Region 4 DVD, you should get
this as soon as possible and it is a must for serious animation fans.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image looks good, but has a little more
softness and minor flaws here and there to rate it higher than I would like to
otherwise, but the used of color and the art design are a plus. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono shows its age and
has some compression, but sounds good for what it is and is in French, though
subtitles are available. Extras include
trailers and two more short animated films from Laloux: Les Escargots (1965) and Comment
Wang – Fo Fut Sauve (1987) which are recommended after you see the feature.
As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import
exclusively from Umbrella at:
- Nicholas Sheffo