Fantastic Planet (1973 France)

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Fantastic Planet (1973 France)

Post  BoG on Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:05 pm

Story: On a distant alien world called Ygam, humans are but diminutive pets known as Oms and cared for by giant blue creatures called Draags. One especially intelligent Om named Ter breaks free from captivity, and using his knowledge of Draag domestic life and history, joins up with a band of humans to free his people from their permanent enslavement. Ter’s escape , however, only confirms the Draags’ biases about the tiny (Earth) creatures, and a pogrom of genocide is launched.

Muir, John Kenneth (2013-10-25). Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of the 1970s (p. 148). The Lulu Show LLC. Kindle Edition.

As it did in Planet of the Apes (1968), mankind finds himself kicked to the bottom of the food chain in Fantastic Planet (1973), an imaginative animated film from France about a future alien world where humans are nothing but lowly pets who belong to giant blue aliens. Thee aliens focus exclusively on meditation and other matters of the intellect, while the humans worry about physical survival on a daily basis. The Oms in the film are descendant of humans on Earth, but it is reported that they destroyed their own civilization (as was also the case in Apes). The film follows one rebellious human “pet,” and the manner in which his education in a Draag home make him the perfect leader of a resistance movement.

Fantastic Planet is filled with amazing visuals of another world. Tiny humans like Ter occupy only the ground level of this world and make their homes and communities wherever they can, amid unearthly flora and fauna. One scene of ritual combat involves the Oms strapping fierce lobster creatures to their chests as they duel. These and other visuals are genuinely impressive, and the vehicle of animation permits for a colossal sense of scope not possible in 1970s live action. A special point is made in Fantastic Planet of noting that the Oms have no schools and therefore no real freedom or understanding of freedom. As a result, perhaps, of this absence the Oms are afraid of knowledge and consider it “evil.” They see it as something else that the Draags “own.” Importantly, the Oms’ journey towards independence in the film comes only when Ter can convince his fellow fighters that knowledge is the answer that will free them. This point is underlined by the finale, which finds the humans taking possession of a rocket, flying to another world, and there unlocking the strange secret of the Draags as well as the secret of their own self-destructive history.

Muir, John Kenneth (2013-10-25). Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of the 1970s (pp. 148-149). The Lulu Show LLC. Kindle Edition.
The best science fiction films in any decade are those that are able to make audiences feel like they are living a different life, one in someone else’s shoes. Fantastic Planet proves very effective in the way that it handles the concept of slavery, or even owning pets, since it makes us consider how we would feel to live at the whim of a thoughtless giant. Masters may not knowingly be cruel, but all creatures -- including slaves and pets -- have feelings, and a right to things we take for granted as absolute, like family. The first scene in the film is especially terrifying in its depiction of this idea. A mother Om and her baby run from the Draags, but are separated and then used as playthings, ones without destiny, self-determination, or any other rights. Ter survives, his mother does not.

Muir, John Kenneth (2013-10-25). Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of the 1970s (p. 149). The Lulu Show LLC. Kindle Edition.
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