Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage)

March 23, 2015 at 2:18 am (9 Heads, Fantastic Planet) (, , , )

Fantastic Planet – 1973 – France

After Earth is ravaged by an apocalyptic war, the surviving Oms (humans) are abducted by the Draags (aliens) and taken to another planet. The Draags are a race of blue-skinned giants who keep the Oms as pets. They believe the Oms are unintelligent animals and cruelly degrade them, until many Oms escape and go feral. The Oms reverse engineer the Draags’ advanced technology, and rebel against them.

Fantastic Planet’s narrative might be about animal rights. The Draags’ inhumane treatment of the Oms reflects how people often treat animals. The Oms are dressed in clownish costumes and insensitively toyed with. In the opening scene, a woman is indifferently prodded by one of the giant Draags until she dies. In another scene, two women are tied together by their hair and badgered into fighting. And ultimately, the Draags initiate a policy of genocide on the Oms using sophisticated extermination weaponry.

However, Fantastic Planet’s message is less interesting than its masterful visuals. The film’s unique visual style uses hand drawn cutouts animated with stop motion. The imaginative life forms and organic technologies of the Draags’ world are lavishly depicted. The surreal scenery is constant, with little attempt to explain how the planet came to be as it is. In one perfect example, two Oms duel for leadership of their tribe. Instead of wielding weapons, each fighter straps a giant carnivorous worm to his chest. The two men wrestle, trying to position their worm to devour their opponent. It is ironic that the Oms rebel against the abusive Draags, but then pointlessly abuse these worms. I wonder if that is intentional.

Rating: 9/10 Shrunken Heads. When the Draags realize the Oms are intelligent, the two races make peace. The Draags begin keeping reptilian beasts as pets instead. Will they never learn?

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