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Review: Fantastic Planet

Work tomorrow doesn’t start until later in the afternoon. Decided to take advantage of this rare opportunity and watch Fantastic Planet over on FilmStruck.

Criterion’s description on the “Info” page interprets this 1973 animated art film as an allegory about the dangers of conformity, but what I really savored was all the delicious world-building. Through the eyes of a human narrator, director Rene Laloux explores the bizarre culture and customs of gargantuan, blue extraterrestrials known as Draags while simultaneously offering brief glimpses of how these unwitting oppressors regard their diminutive “pets” (ranging from fascination to revulsion)—and each is utterly alien and incomprehensible to the other. As our protagonist gradually transitions from slave to rebel to savior, he traverses gorgeous, grotesque landscapes populated by terrifying monstrosities (think H.R. Giger as reimagined by Max Fleischer), and every single frame is an absolutely breathtaking painting.

I’m almost ashamed to admit that I chose Fantastic Planet over literally everything else in FilmStruck’s library primarily because it runs a brisk seventy-two minutes; it ended up being one of the best sic-fi movies I’ve ever seen.

[Originally written September 26, 2017.]

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