Fantastic Planet (1973)

This weird little French animation was a common sight on the “Pay TV” channels (back in the day when “Pay TV” had a specific meaning both technologically and culturally) and, to be honest, I never thought of it as a “drug movie”. I guess there’s an oblique reference to drugs when the Oms do their little rituals, though I think (watching it now) that it was actually sex making them glow, not drugs. (There’s a joke about the proper use of lubricant here, but I’m way too skilled in the art of apophasis to make it.)

Looks like steam coming out of his ears.
Cruelty to pets.

The thing about this crudely animated movie—besides the fact that the crew was entirely animatrices…animatrixes?…all girls!—is that it never misses an opportunity to say “HEY! THIS IS A zatracený ALIEN WORLD!” In situations where most cheap animated films would just pan over a static landscape, this one will show one bizarre large alien animal bonking other, smaller bizarre alien animals to knock them out—and then laughing. (Not even for food, in other words, but just entertainment.) I suspect it’s this more than any given presumed drug-consumption from the aliens, that indicates this is a “drug movie”.

So fine, we can't find it.
It’s a fine line between creative whimsy and “DUDE!”

The story is that, for reasons unexplained, an alien world is populated by giant piscine-humanoids called Draags, and overrun by Oms—who are human beings. A few are kept as pets but most are considered vermin, and the Draags routinely exterminate them en masse. Our narrator, Terr, is an Om whose mother is murdered by some Draag children at play, and who is adopted by a Draag girl. The Draag’s learning device also works on Terr, and he begins to realize certain truths about the world he lives in. When his owner’s parents want to kill him, he escapes dragging the learning collar with him.

I’d say “from there, he leads a rebellion” but for the most part, he ends up the victim of his fellow Oms animalistic/tribalistic fears and politics. At least until the end.

I mean, honestly.
Pet clothes are undignified for any species, anywhere.

It’s trippy, crude (but fortunately recently restored so I think it looks better now than it did when I was a kid) but adequate visually, and abrupt (in terms of plot points and story revisions). It works, though. The abruptness is doubtless an unfortunate side-effect of the budget, but you can forgive a lot of abruptness when no time is wasted, and there really isn’t a wasted frame here. At 72 minutes, it manages to tell quite a story and in a unique way. (The closest thing I can think of to this, really, is Yellow Submarine. Which isn’t very close.)

The girls bowed out of this one, maybe because it’s a little off-putting from the trailers, but The Boy really liked it, as did I. I’d say “check it out” but…it’s really more bizarre than a lot of people would care for.

Still! Not boring!
I haven’t even scratched the surface of the “weird”, really.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *