French director/animator René Laloux’s landmark sci-fi adventure Fantastic Planet is a mesmerizing, one-of-a-kind psychedelic masterpiece based on the book Om en Serie by Stefan Wul.
An astonishingly beautiful and otherworldly vision, the film tells the tale of a race of humanoid creatures called Oms, who are fighting for their freedom from the giant, blue-skinned Traags, who keep them enslaved as pets. When a group of rebel Oms travel to a strange planet in hopes of uncovering the secret of the Traags’ existence, a revolution is set in motion – a revolution that may change everything. Featuring incredible design work by Roland Topor and a mind-blowing acid jazz rock score by Alain Goraguer, and made at a time when adult animation was gleefully subverting the traditional Disney model, Fantastic Planet prefigures much of the work of Hayao Miyazaki at Studio Ghibli with its palpable political and social concerns, cultivated imagination and thrilling animation techniques. An international co-production between France and what was then Czechoslovakia, the film was continually waylaid by disapproving Czech authorities due to its biting political content, right up until it won the Grand Prix Award at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival. Released by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures that same year here in the U.S., Fantastic Planet was often double-billed with the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, becoming an underground cult sensation thanks to its trippy animation, heady concepts and mind-blowing strangeness.