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Fantastic Planet [VHS]
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Product Description

Based on French science fiction novelist Stefan Wul's Oms en Serie ("Oms by the Dozen"), Ren¨¦ Laloux's La Plan¨¨te 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

Customer Reviews:

  • Stunning sci-fi animated
    I remember seeing this when I was 16 year old on the USA Network around the end of 1988 or beginning of 1989, I was totally amazed at the stunning surrealistic animation and odd '70s period music. I then saw it again on the Sci-Fi Channel in 1994 and I was still equally impressed. I never saw it again, until I got my dubbed in English version VHS copy on Anchor Bay. If you want a truly bizarre sci-fi experience and you're sick and tire of garbage that passes as sci-fi like Lexx and Farscape, then give Fantastic Planet a try. I just love those otherworldly scenes, bizarre creatures, and those meditation scenes where the big giant blue-skinned Traags project spheres. The music, courtesy of Alain Goraguer is amazing, in a progressive funk/jazz/experimental rock style that's absolutely perfect for this style of movie. Fantastic Planet is full of social/political undertones, it seems that the Traags verses the Oms was a metaphor for the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, in fact the film was made in Czechoslovakia, until the communists found out the intent of the movie, so it had to be finished in France, at least that's what I understand. The animation is very different from any Disney or Warner Bros. cartoons. In fact it's more like Terry Gilliam's minus the humor, and more bizarre and surrealistic. Some people might complain about the crudeness of the animation, but I love it because it's different from normal animation. The small complaint I have here is the fine folks at Anchor Bay had forgot to remove the English subtitles on the dubbed in English version, which is the VHS tape I own. Aside from that, it's perhaps one of the greatest sci-fi films I've seen....more info
  • Fantastic planet not fantastically transferred
    OK, let's get this straight right up front: I love Fantastic Planet. It's a fantastic film (yes, I meant to do that). I was elated to see the DVD arrive at my door. And oh, hurray! Widescreen! Finally I can watch it in widescreen!

    So I go to watch it in Laloux's preferred version (English, yes - and the flat emotionless voices in the English version are indeed intentional and not "bad acting" for the inhuman Trogs), and oops, the subtitles are still on. And, annoyingly, they are not on the bottom black bar but right over the artwork. I go to turn them off, and - lo and behold - they are already off! The only film print transferred for this DVD has the subtitles on RIGHT OVER THE PICTURE. I've seen videotapes of FP that did better than that (English, no subtitles).

    The inexcusable laziness of those overlooking the transfer covers up some of the richest art in French animation. It's appalling. I can't even tell you how mad I was when I saw it. All they had to do was do a transfer without subtitles, and have them re-entered as an optional subtitle display (like every other DVD I've seen or owned!).

    Am I too picky? Perhaps. My other options? Just one right now: Just live with this less-than-completist edition of one of my favorite movies.

    Guess I'll have to wait and pay $$$ for the Criterion edition...

    Not that that'll ever hit the shelves.

    Matt...more info

  • Great movie, highly recommend it!
    I saw Fantastic Planet back in 1973 at the movie theater and I really enjoyed it. Anyone out there who enjoys a psychedelic experience must see this movie. There are also the social/political undertones that make this movie a must-see.

    I have only one complaint. I am greatly disappointed that Anchor Bay did not remove the English subtitles on the dubbed English version in the DVD. It is so annoying not to be able to shut off the subtitles when listening to the movie in English. The subtitles are totally distracting and take away from the movie. How could such a huge mistake be overlooked??...more info

  • Weird, dream-like... fascinating to watch
    For animation fans or admirers of strange cinema, check this film out. As a kid, I'd seen it on cable television many times and was really taken by the strange characters and design work.

    It still holds up and the DVD is beautifully done....more info

  • Great film, so so DVD
    Fantastic Planet is arguably the best animated sci-fi film ever made. The weird soundtrack and unusual animation style give it a wonderful otherworldly feel. I'd love to see it at a midnight showing in a local theater. I have it on tape and the picture quality of the DVD is vastly superior. The only problem I have with the DVD is the fact that I can't turn off the English subtitles even when the audio is in English. Also, the added shorts are only available in French....more info
  • If you enjoy high-concept animations, buy this film.
    I have been a fan of this movie for a long time and only now as an adult have I finally felt the full depth of the concepts conveyed through this film. Set in a strange world not unlike our own, a culture of large alien giants reigns over the planet while 'infestated' by a type human culture the size of hamsters. As these little "pets" are treated like slaves and abused as a lower lifeform, you feel yourself identifying with rats and other small pets. The protagonist learns more about the culture and the world by finding a learning device which is used to teach the GIANT children about the universe. After a daring escape, our hero steals the learning device and teaches "wild" humanoids about the world and together they rebel against the alien giants. This thrilling film also features a fantastic soundtrack with 70's synth stylings in full effect.

    A must own for animation enthusiasts....more info

  • fantastic imagery
    This flick breaks the mold for creativity. It will still be fresh in 2050.
    ...more info
  • Well worth watching (more than once even!)
    I have just purchased this movie and watched it as soon as I got home. The imagination and animation are fantastic!(As the name implies =) ) The ability to listen to it in French with subtitles or no subtitles and listen to it in English makes this film even more pleasurable to watch. The movie has dark undertones and may not be suitable for all family members, however, I think that everyone in the family would learn something from this movie. I recommend the purchase of this movie. This is an excellent addition to anyone's collection....more info
  • Fantastic planet not fantastically transferred
    OK, let's get this straight right up front: I love Fantastic Planet. It's a fantastic film (yes, I meant to do that). I was elated to see the DVD arrive at my door. And oh, hurray! Widescreen! Finally I can watch it in widescreen!

    So I go to watch it in Laloux's preferred version (English, yes - and the flat emotionless voices in the English version are indeed intentional and not "bad acting" for the inhuman Trogs), and oops, the subtitles are still on. And, annoyingly, they are not on the bottom black bar but right over the artwork. I go to turn them off, and - lo and behold - they are already off! The only film print transferred for this DVD has the subtitles on RIGHT OVER THE PICTURE. I've seen videotapes of FP that did better than that (English, no subtitles).

    The inexcusable laziness of those overlooking the transfer covers up some of the richest art in French animation. It's appalling. I can't even tell you how mad I was when I saw it. All they had to do was do a transfer without subtitles, and have them re-entered as an optional subtitle display (like every other DVD I've seen or owned!).

    Am I too picky? Perhaps. My other options? Just one right now: Just live with this less-than-completist edition of one of my favorite movies.

    Guess I'll have to wait and pay... for the Criterion edition...

    Not that that'll ever hit the shelves.

    Matt...more info

  • A Five-Star Masterpiece on a Two-Star DVD
    "Fantastic Planet" is more like a film, than an animation or cartoon, yet it is so unique, beautiful and alien, that it does not really fit in any category. The landscape designs are stunning, and the story, albeit never really dominant, is intriguing. The hunting music score, reminiscent of early Pink Floyd instrumental pieces ("Atom Heart Mother", for example) here and there, smoothly contributes to the film's dreamlike atmosphere. This film should be watched mainly for its truly unearthly sets, the weird, yet hauntingly beautiful and fascinating landscapes and plants.

    "Fantastic Planet" was made on a unique way, as both the characters AND the backgrounds were drawn by the same technique (using colour pencils), thus, unlike in the usual animation, the images of the characters are not being separated from the background. As a result, each frame looks a nice, coherent picture (just like in a real film). Do not look, however, for other sci-fi animation with equal value, as you will never find one - not even from Rene Laloux (the person responsible for the stunning designs in "Fantastic Planet" was Roland Topor, anyway)... If you like "Fantastic Planet", yet you also like other sci-fi animation, you probably do not like "Fantastic Planet" enough...

    Unfortunately, the DVD presentation suffers badly - and it is not just those stubborn subtitles, but the picture quality. Although the 'technical details' above claims that in the picture "[colours are fully saturated [...]", it does not seem to be correct at all. I have the fortune to own the French edition, and the picture, even though a bit soft, is FAR superior to the Anchor Bay edition's. After watching the Zone2 DVD, I realized that the "[...] lots of browns [...]" (see 'technical details' again) in the Zone1 DVD just simply replaced the originally vivid blue, green, orange, etc. colours, that are so evident in the French edition. In other words, the dominant brownish-reddish hue in the Anchor Bay DVD is simply a result of the utilized, badly aged filmprint (and the lack of any serious restoration attempt). My advice is to get an inexpensive American VHS edition for solely its English language - and go for the remastered French version ("La Planete Sauvage") from Amazon.fr for fully enjoying the film's colorful and imaginative pictures. This DVD alone would justify buying a multizone DVD player. This gem does deserve it ......more info

  • Excellent Quality; Great Movie!
    This older movie is very good. The seller sent it in excellent time and in excellent condition. Couldn't be happier....more info
  • Extremely good movie, but this edition suffers.
    Imagine how I felt finally being able to buy this on video, only to find out that this particular version is dubbed into English (as in the original USA release) and subtitled into English. The subtitles do not match the dubbing. I'd really like to see it in the orignal French......more info
  • TRULY ALIEN
    The narrative and story telling in this movie are very conventional. And even though it's underlying allegory is about genocide, it remains static and aloof. Yet, it will stay with you forever, because it is consistently compelling on a purely visual level. And not in the way movies like Brazil or Blade runner are striking because of their cinematography or a commitment to a vision in their set design. But in a way that good ART is compelling. What we are looking at is something akin to a Hieronymous Bosch painting, like the "Garden of Earthly Delights." The movie is perpetually bizarre, bursting with strange ideas and an incredible array of surreal flora and fauna. The landscapes are foreign and desolate, every creature encountered is malevolent, and the mood is cold and clinical, mixed with a sense of technological dread. The sight of the floating Tragg meditation spheres, or such things as the large vacuum that sucks up the tiny humans are not easily forgotten. The music is good, too. Odd and slightly jazzy, it might sound dated to some people's ears, but trippy nontheless. Of all the sci-fi movies I have ever seen, this is the only one I feel is TRULY ALIEN. I really feel transported when I watch it, completely submerged in its environment. I am transfixed by its imagery.

    The nasty things that people say about the dvd are true. How annoying to not be able to shut off the subtitles. It's terrible to think that a movie which is so well DESIGNED could have such a terrible flaw in its packaging! The movie is still worth having, though....more info

  • Eerie, thought-provoking, stimulating, but less than perfect
    I agree with almost everything said in the more laudatory reviews of this film, but would add my own spin. Quite aside from being an allegory of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, this brilliant film, to me, is also an allegory for the cruelness of modern society, wherein those on the "top of the food chain" (the Traags) automatically assume their intellectual and spiritual superiority to the Oms simply because they have never bothered to examine their society properly. Indeed, the Traags likewise seem to pay little attention to their savage, almost violent wildlife and environment, where dangerous ice crystals form in place of dew around plants, strange caged animals kill little birdlike creatures for sheer cruelty rather than sustenance, and where their lofty ideals are completely suspended when they "clear the park" with poison gas pellets and other strange weapons that murder the humanoid Oms like so much vermin. Likewise, the savage macho habits of the wild Oms are also praised as brave and valiant, like the roaming bands of thieves, battles to the death with fearsome snapping animals, and the drinking of blood of a giant flying creature that sucks up Oms like an anteater. If all this sounds a bit violent, be assured that it is offset by some of the most creative and imaginative animation I have ever seen in a film; and, for once, the soft rock soundtrack is perfectly suited to this astonishing film. My only complaint is that, when the producers had to flee to France to finish it, they tended to rush the last 2 minutes, hurriedly wrapping up a story that had previously taken a quite leisurely pace. Otherwise, this is very much a masterpiece of its kind, though the original trailer shows very little of the editorial content that makes it so brilliant....more info
  • Intelligent animation
    Ideas and concepts are animated for the intelligent viewer. This movie is fun and thoughtful, and its delivery is unique and yet extremely entertaining. It is a cult classic similar to Rocky Horror, A Boy and His Dog, and Forbidden Planet. Like the Wizard of OZ, a yearly viewing is a tradition....more info
  • great sci-fi!
    The stylistic surrealism of Fantastic Planet was remembered blurrily from an early morning viewing on TV. I've asked around, and this is how most people know this film, although I'm pretty sure I saw it at a drive-in too. This is dark imagery with a telling social satire. The DVD itself is flawed. You may listen in English, but you have to watch the subtitles, which don't match, as well. The three shorts are just plain stupid. The first, The Monkeys Teeth, is probably the worst. I reccamend watching all of them at 2X by the way, it isn't quite as painfull. Anyway, the annoying thing is that he doesn't start with the animation, instead using film of people in what looks like a classroom. The narrator drones about mental patients writing a story together. Then the animation starts and you wonder "Why the stupid intro?"."Maybe they'll have some sort of wrap up or something" you think. But no, it's just a stupid intro. Some guy gets his teeth pulled by a dentist, then wanders around for ten minutes. Then the monkey pulls the dentist's teeth and gives them to the victim. That's worthy of 20 minutes of your life isn't it? NOT! The second film (The Death Times) is not any better, but the visuals are interesting. It's just an excuse for a film really, it's just zooms and pans of drawings. Ignore the narrator, it's just drivel. Some of the pictures are quite striking and inventive. Slides of these would be preferrable, however. The third (The Snails) is almost, ALMOST bearable. Again you must utilize the 2X or you will tear your hair out! A farmer discovers that tears will make his crop grow larger, so he walks through his field with an onion, then reads a depressing book, etc. Anyway, so snails come and eat the crop, grow large and chase people around. It's kind of amusing watching giant snails run around a city and chase people. Keep that 2X on though because they are snails! Overall, just ignore the shorts and enjoy the film, as much as that's possible with the stupid subtitles! Still, it's better than nothing....more info
  • Space Oddity
    FANTASTIC PLANET, a French animated production, gained cult status almost from the time of its release in the early 1970's, and it is easy to see why.

    The movie combines the aloof, melancholy tone of Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY with much of the static, cut and paste animation design of the Beatles' YELLOW SUBMARINE (although the present movie ultimately pales in comparison with those two masterpieces).

    Traags, a race of enormous blue androids, use human beings, called Ooms, as playthings. The Traag children, for instance, use the Ooms to stage mini-gladiator contests, much like cockfights. One Oom, however, inadvertently gains superior knowledge from his owner and proceeds to use it to stage a rebellion of other Ooms against the Traags in order to end their subservient status. That's it as far as plot goes. Of course the movie is a parable about political and social tyranny. The Communists had invaded Czechoslovakia some five years before the movie's release, and no doubt the event resonated in the minds of the film's creators. Really, though, FANTASTIC PLANET is much more successful as a mood piece than as commentary. The animation is interesting and unusual, if not remarkable, the music score, typical of the time, is excellent, and some of the monsters the Ooms encounter in their fight for freedom are wildly imaginative and fun to watch.

    There is some "nudity" here and "sexual situations", so the movie has been designated an "adult cartoon", but it really is pretty tame by today's permissive standards.

    My only qualm with this tape would be Anchor Bay's inexplicable failure to remove subtitles from a film already dubbed into English. The subtitles are not always parallel with the dub, so it makes for distracting viewing. This, however, shouldn't stop you from renting or owning the picture if you haven't seen it. You'll want to go back again and again and relive the peculiar visions of these filmmakers....more info

  • Strange but Good
    Fantastic Planet is a movie that anyone can love and enjoy. The movie is a true spectacle of filmmking.

    Of course, it has its share of problems (ending is extremely rushed, characters lack personality, dubbing is so bad, its not even funny) but if you just sit back and look at this movie/DVD as a whole, you get something very good. Its so good, it merits itself to be a mandatory part of any eccentric person's DVD collection. (It was actually the 1st DVD I'd ever owned.)

    The plot follows the story of one "om" (human) who is kept as a little palm-sized pet for the gigantic, blue skinned traags. He escapes with a traag learning device and uses it along with other wild oms to rebel against the traags.

    An interesting aspect of the movie, is that it does almost nothing to make you know the main character. He is an incredibly ambiguous being devoid of any real personality, and if memory serves, he doesn't even have a name.

    The animation looks like they made thin outlines and filled them with color-pencils. This creates an effect that totally mistifies the viewer. The beautiful and vid landscapes come alive along side imaginatively drawn characters and various monsters.

    Ultimately the movie is great, and any problems in the movies are made up for by the fact that there ARE other short films on the DVD.

    Finally, the subtitles are much better than the dub; use them.

    EDIT: Now that I've finally gotten to watch the magnificent short films included on the DVD, I can say, they're the most freakish, disturbed, and wonderful pieces of short animation ever.

    The best one features a sad farmer whose crops don't grow. So he cries on them and they become huge. So snails eat them and then they become huge, adn start terrorizing the city. The farmer is sad again and this time, he grows gargantuan carrots and the short closes with a hilarious shot of some rabbits eyeing the food expectantly....more info

  • A timeless animation film dealing with prejudices.
    Fantastic Planet was definitely ahead of its time when it was created. The musical score is riveting. The creativity of the scenery and life in the film is breathtaking. Dealing with the universal issue of prejudice the film shows that all life has its hierarchy, and prejudice is possible anywhere. A beautifully composed animated film which is more geared for adults than children.Timeless in its answer to solving hatred among different cultures. END...more info
  • Wonderful French Hallucination
    Fans of animation , science fiction, or just plain weirdness must not pass this up. Contains some of the most mind-bendingly surreal creatures and backdrops to ever make there way into a feature-length animated film from any country. My only problem with this DVD is the language options. French audio with English subs is fine, but English audio with English subtitles - what is the sense in that? I found it very annoying and unecessary....more info
  • Excellent
    This movie shows you things from a different perspective and really makes you think. And it's a little creepy too. But if you're into that kinds thing it's great. :-D...more info
  • Great for people that are really into that kind of movie
    No question - this is a great story, set up in a really weird environment. I do not doubt that there will be many people out there, who, like me, owe much of their SciFi addiction to watching 'Fantastic Planet' when they still were kids. What should be mentioned with regard to this DVD edition (US, region 1) is, that it is impossible to turn off the subtitles. They are part of the image, and not encoded separately, as otherwise usual....more info
  • Quite the Bizarre and Unusual Movie..
    This is a cartoon that is not for kids because they wouldn't understand it. It is one of the most bizarre movies I have ever seen- the animation, music and sound combine to produce a very strange experience. I bought this on sale somewhere for $2.99 (the EP version - not very good quality) and it was worth every penny! Seriously, I would recommend this because you have to watch it and see for yourself. It is a film with an interesting premise....more info
  • Interesting and Amazing Cinematography
    This was a captivating and breathtaking documentary that I highly reccomend, especially the segment on death valley, and it's mysterious sliding rocks and disapearences. 5 stars!!...more info
  • Exceptional political and social commentary
    "Fantastic Planet" is one of the most profound and unappreciated commentaries on the Soviet Empire. Produced in Chzechoslovakia shortly after the 1968 Russian invasion, this film is an incredible, under-the-table commentary about life under Russian rule. The giants are the Russian invaders. The humans are the Czechs and Slovaks, kept as curious "pets" but who eventually become troublesome and must be exterminated. The pets organize to resist the giants. This is not a fantasy but one of the finest metaphors of the Cold War and the nuclear age since the Japanese created Godzilla in the wake of the atom bomb. That the Czechs were allowed to produce this film right under the noses of their Russian captors is a testament to their spirit and cunning....more info
  • Rene Laloux freaks us out
    "Fantastic Planet" is an animated movie, released in 1973. It chronicles the life of a human named Ter, kept as a pet by a young girl who belongs to an alien race. He escapes his master and joins a civilization of wild humans (called "Ohms" by the master race).

    This film is bizarre and sometimes even thought-provoking. The adversarial relationship that develops between the Ohms and their masters nearly destroys them both, and the road to ruin is fascinating and surreal for the viewer.

    Early 1970s period music and what seems to be colored-pencil animation make this movie truly unique (the animation was completed in Czechoslovakia). Accolades for the film include the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival....more info

  • French=Bad
    Once again, this movie proves the points that:

    a. nothing good has ever come out of France
    b. the '70s was the decade that God stopped caring

    In closing, I'd like to part with the following question:

    what the f**k? i mean, seriously, someone please tell me. what the f**king f**k?!?!?...more info

  • Beautiful...Cruel...Surreal...Nightmarish...Fantastic Planet
    Once there was a sophisticated race of humans who despite their intelligence...destroyed their homeworld of Terra.

    Landing on an alien world of Ygam these humanoids called Oms find themselves in a harsh cruel enviroment. They become the lower order suppressed by the planet's inhabbitants...the Traags.
    The Traags are blueskinned giants who rule over all creatures. Where the Oms become savage and wild...the Traags are cerebral and aloof and preoccupied with meditation.
    The Traags domesticate some of the Oms for pets while exterminate wild "nests" of Oms in order to control their population...

    This brings you now to the begining of this tale of one domesticated Om named Ter who steels knowledge from the Traags and delivers it to the savage Oms. Although Ter is an Om...he is at first isolated in a race he has never known. But, it is he who helps to bring about change in this strange world. And the mystery of Ygam's only moom Fantastic Planet holds the key to the Traag's ruin.

    WHY SHOULD YOU WATCH IT?
    Along with a superb soundtrack of jazz fusion rock mixed with sound fx, this annimated classic is art frame by frame. It is an allegory of the Russian invasion of Czecholslovakia directed beautifully by Rene Laloux.

    WHY SHOULD YOU OWN IT?
    Watch Fantastic Planet...and you will discover the reasons....more info

  • Has not aged well.
    Fantastic Planet (Rene Laloux, 1973)

    When it came out, Fantastic Planet was visionary, cutting-edge, all those superlatives (even if it did seem to derive a great deal from Terry Gilliam's animations on Monty Python's Flying Circus). Nowadays, well, it hasn't aged well. The nostalgia crowd will get a serious kick out of it. If you haven't seen it before, though, you're better off not listening to the raves.

    It's sometime in the far future. Humanity has been reduced to wild animals who co-inhabit their planet (which may or may not be Earth) with the Draag, a race of giants. The humans, now known as "om", are sometimes domesticated by the Draag and kept as pets; one of them, though the use of certain Draag tools, learns how to read their language. When he escapes and takes refuge with a tribe of wild om, he brings the disturbing news that the Draag are planning to step up their om extermination campaign, and he must therefore educate the wild om so they can either fight back or flee to another planet.

    It's all quite pretty, if exceptionally retro-looking in these days of CGI and Pixar. Roland Topor's story and art, like much of his work, is stuffed full of sexual repression masking itself as permissiveness, which these days is the most interesting thing about the movie; still, Topor's obsessions tend to come off better in prose form (The Tenant is still as riveting today as it was forty years ago). That said, if you saw it long ago as a youngster, you'll probably get a nostalgia kick out of it. **...more info