Quick recap: A race of super huge blue people (Draag) oppress a race of teeny tiny humanoids (Om).
Fun (?) fact: The ‘Om’ race is a word play on the French word for man, ‘homme’
My thoughts: I’m still choosing movies at random, so it surprised me how many science fiction films I have seen lately,this one being my second French sci-film when I thought there weren’t any. Actually, Fantastic Planet started out in Czechoslovakia but had to be moved to France because Communists aren’t really fans of being made fun of. Go figure.
I full heartedly expected to not like this movie, but within minutes of its opening sequence, I was sucked in. For starters, I had no idea that Fantastic Planet would be animated, and man is it a trippy movie. It kind of reminded me of the Monty Python sequences, but much longer and weirder. The planet that the Draag live on is as strange as it gets, which I loved because the director could’ve used a somewhat familiar landscape but instead just threw in a ton of crazy plants and animals just for the hell of it. There is a scene where the planet is covered in crystals and the Om protagonist, Terr, gets caught in one. His master, Tiwa, simply whistles and the crystals disintegrate. Why crystals? Why whistling? No clue, but it adds to the idea of these humanoids being trapped in such an unfamiliar place.
As with most sci-fi and horror films, the best ones are those that can be related back to real world events. In the case of Fantastic Planet, it is literally about the Soviet invasion in Czechoslovakia. It was very easy to see the parallels while watching the movie, which is nice, but not so glaringly obvious that it felt preachy. In the movie, Terr is kept as a pet by the Draag child Tiwa. Through an accident, he is able to absorb the lessons his owner listens to, thus gaining all knowledge he will need later on to defeat the Draag. The ending is an optimistic one: the Om travel to the Strange Planet, an uninhabited place where the Draag send their meditations. While there, they are able to find their weakness and use it to overpower them. The Draag, knowing that they have lost, admit defeat and give the Om their own planet to live on without fear of extermination, named Terr.
Final review: 5/5. I don’t know how popular this film is, but anyone who loves science-fiction should watch it, if they haven’t already. Essential viewing.
Up next: Requiem for a Dream