Based on French science fiction novelist Stefan Wul's Oms en Serie ("Oms by the Dozen"), René Laloux's La Planète Sauvage (its title changed to Fantastic Planet for the U.S. release) paints an animated tale of humans kept... more » 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« less
Best DVD version, but low bit rate transfer can cause issues
HallertauRogue | Mechanicsburg, PA | 12/29/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is the best transfer I've seen to DVD for this amazing film, but there surely is room for improvement. I'm not going to go into details about how awesome this film is, if you are reading this you most likely already know all about it.
What I do want to address is the bit rate of this DVD. It dips really low and some players do not like lower bit rate DVDs. This is why a few reviewers couldn't get it to play on their systems. In my home theater my main DVD player can balk at low bit rate media. It typically only likes DVD-R for home burned movies as DVD+R gives a lower bit rate. This issue typically only rears its head with consumer burned discs as 99% of studios use top end media with good bit rates. That ISN'T the case with Accent Cinema and Facets Video and this movie.
My Onkyo player plays the movie, but during motion scenes you can literally see the picture break up into major digital macro-blocks, a true sign that the player is getting a low bitrate read. Again, some players just shut down and refuse to play movies with such a bad data rate signal.
To remedy this you can make a 100% uncompressed back-up copy if you have the right software and put it on media like a DVD-R that will give a better bit rate to your player. Use media you know is compatible with your player. Also, most PC DVD drives are more forgiving and you can easily watch this on them using something like VLC player (or your DVD software of choice).
I gave the DVD 3 stars. It would have been 4 if the media wasn't so lame, but this company should know better. I get the feeling they tested it on PCs, ran a bunch of copies off and never took the time to check the bit rate to see if it dips too low for the common stand alone players out there. It is a shame because I had high hopes for this version with its decent extras and wide screen aspect. Why is it so hard to give this movie the transfer and treatment it deserves?"
A Childhood Influence.
R. Williams | Fl | 01/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You know those bits of memory from your childhood that pop into your head from time to time and you wish you could relive them? Bits of this movie were permanently etched into mind since childhood, waiting to be triggered. I vividly recall the opening sequence, the children's first meditation and the giant headless mannequins. I can't even remember where or when I first saw it but I recognized the images instantly. This film resonates with me on a subconscious level. It's entirely my style. It is the very definition of what I consider to be good entertainment, and may have even predetermined my interest in sci-fi. Remember those old UNICEF animated shorts? This style of animation always caused an emotional response with me and I didn't know why until I saw this film again so many years later.
I don't recall the frontal nudity the first time I saw it, so I guess it was no big deal. This movie is like being "the one" no one can tell if you will like it, you either like it or you don't. Its difficult to free a mind after a certain age."
Mars Velvet | Green Tree, Blue Earth...Deep Space | 02/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Great Film, Good DVD edition - finally with optional subtitl
litemakr | Phoenix, AZ | 10/25/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am very relieved to say that this new DVD edition allows you to TURN OFF the English subtitles, something that you could not do in the previous DVD. This is one of the very few foreign films I prefer to watch with the dubbed English track (probably because I grew up seeing that way on cable in the 80s). The previous DVD forced you to watch the English subtitles, even with the English language track. The titles and the dubbing did not match, so it was distracting to the point that I could not stand to watch the movie.
The transfer is in anamorphic widescreen (not full screen as in the Amazon description) and looks good, though the print used was not cleaned of nicks and dirt. The sound is monophonic, but clean and about what you would expect for the early 70s. My only complaint is that I had some trouble with the programming on my disc. I had trouble accessing the menu at some times.
I have not yet watched the special features but they include an interview with Rene Laloux, a trailer, a short film (Les Escargots), a music video and a photo gallery. I would like to have seen something more comprehensive, but I am just glad to have a watchable version of the film.
As for the film itself, there is nothing else quite like it."
Fantastic planet not fantastically transferred
Matthew N Griffin | Bloomington, IN USA | 11/18/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"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"