Saturday, October 24, 2015

574. La Planete sauvage/Fantastic Planet (1973)

Running Time: 72 minutes
Directed By: Rene Laloux
Written By: Steve Hayes, Rene Laloux, Roland Topor, from the novel Oms En Serie by Stefan Wul
Main Cast: (voices): Jean Valmont, Eric Baugin, Jennifer Drake, Jean Topart
Click here to view the trailer


I have to admire my own dedication to this project, setting my alarm this morning for 6:30 so that I could get up and try my best to knock out three movies before Ruth gets home. Did I forget to mention that today is my off day and setting my alarm for that early is insanity? No worries though, as I hit the snooze until nearly 8:00 - shame on me!

Luckily I had in my possession the shortest movie left from THE BOOK - Fantastic Planet, a sci-fi, stop motion animation classic from Rene Laloux of the Czech Republic. The film hosts two types of characters: Traags (aliens) and Oms (humans). The film takes place on the fictitious planet of Ygam, where Traags are the dominant species and Oms are kept as house pets by the Traags. The story centers on one particular Om, named Terr, who is discovered in the wild by a Traag named Tiwa, who begs her parents to let her keep it as a pet. They allow it and the relationship is very much the relationship we have to a dog or a cat - Tiwa even affixing a collar to the Terr and building a little playhouse for him. On Ygam, the Traags learn by wearing a special set of headphones and having their schooling filtered directly into their head, via a voice that recites various facts. One day, Terr realizes that he too can hear the lessons and begins to learn various things about Ygam and the Traag lifestyle, including learning to read their language. Later, when he becomes bored, Terr decides to run away from home and does so, falling in with a group of wild oms who plan to start an uprising against the Traags.


I guess it was okay...

Okay so it's sci-fi, so you knew right off the bat I was going to struggle with it. However, at this point, I'm trying to have high hopes for everything I insert into my DVD player, since we're getting down to the end here and I barely have enough movies to make a respectable TOP 20 list. Yes, THE BOOK has turned me into quite the curmudgeon - movie watcher wise. I can remember the second TOP 20 list I ever made and how I had an excess of movies that I'd have liked to include (even leaving Glengarry Glen Ross on the cutting room floor - a movie I still would rate a '10'). This last season though has been bare bones and I wonder if it's me being picky or the fact that I managed to do what I absolutely didn't want to do and that's save a lot of bad movies for the grand finale. Anyway...I'm getting off topic.

I liked the spirit of the film - let's say that. Fantastic Planet is a stop motion animated flick in the genre of sci-fi and something like I'd never seen before. Despite the fact that animation has come a long way since 1973 and nowadays 3D and 4D are realities, I liked the style of the stop motion and had no problem adjusting to it. However, what clocked in at a meager seventy minutes, felt more like a full blown two hour affair - which is a discredit to a film which should've breezed by. I'm sitting here staring at my computer screen, trying to think of something else to say and truth is, I really can't think of anything. "It was okay, but never something I was going to love" seems to be the sentence to sum it all up and there's really not much else for me to add. Sure, I liked the story of aliens keeping humans as pets, but once you got into the whole revolt by the Oms and all that it got a little muddled, didn't it? I guess my desire for simplicity is plaguing me again, because I'd much rather have seen Terr escape his captors and had this play out as a survival story just about Terr trying to stay alive and be free. But again, nothing to dread here.

RATING: 5/10  Call it right down the middle, as I could easily fall either way and argue against liking or disliking this film.


October 24, 2015  10:19pm

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