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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> December 2000 >> Fantastic Planet

Fantastic Planet

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
2 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
December 2000
IMDB Name:
Fantastic Planet (1973)
René Laloux
Roland Topor
animated-feature, foreign-language, sci-fi
MPAA Rating:

Strictly Speaking

"Fantastic" is one of those words that has mutated a bit. These days it serves mostly as an indication of quality more than it refers to elements of fantasy. Fantastic Planet is certainly drawn from some deep recess of the imagination. The not- so-fantastic planet is teeming with interesting wildlife and wacky customs. There are also beautiful animation set pieces which show how bizarre fantasies can get when the ambience is already so strange!

To my dismay, I found the overall experience to be too artsy to engross me. The plot serves as an allegory for a European conflict that is outside my lamentable knowledge of history. Many of the characters are thus not sufficiently realized for my liking, and many are added and dropped without the slightest thought. The movie covers a lot of ground in seventy-one minutes, yet I never felt it had been anywhere worthwhile. When the secret of the Traags was revealed, I found myself laughing at the silliness rather than impressed by the inventiveness. Curiously, this is the third non-American 1973 movie which has proven too abstruse for my tastes.

DVD Comments

Fantastic Planet's DVD demonstrates that DVDs can be just as limited as conventional videotapes. On the bright side, there are audio tracks for the original French and for an English dub. There are also English subtitles. The catch is that the subtitles can't be deactivated, and they often disagree significantly with the language in the English speaking parts! The subtitles are apparently an artifact of the old VHS transfer, which reportedly used the same awful choice of color for the text, occasionally rendering things impossible to read against the bright backdrops of the movie. The disc provides some insight into director René Laloux in the form of a biography and three short animated films. The shorts are, unsurprisingly, various degrees of bizarre. The trailer for Fantastic Planet is present, but bad enough to be unnecessary.

See the IMDB information on Fantastic Planet's DVD or compare prices at DVD Price Search.

Copyright 2000-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.