Fantastic Planet

Fantastic Planet

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Anton Bitel's film review of Fantastic Planet

Fantastic Planet itself has been transferred in its original 1.66:1 ratio, with new and improved English subtitles optional, as well as an option to listen to the unusually excellent alternative US dub track (from the seventies). It is also possible to listen to the film's complete soundtrack separately.

There are two short films by René Laloux included. From 1965, Les Escargots (The Snails) is his first collaboration with graphic designer Roland Topor and composer Alain Goraguer (both of whom would later work with him on Fantastic Planet). It is a ten-minute slice of madcap surrealism (with a melancholic edge), in which a farmer uses his own tears to irrigate his failing cabbage crops, with unforeseen and monstrous consequences. Its use of cut-outs looks somewhat primitive compared to the more sophisticated visual style achieved in Fantastic Planet - which, after all, took five years, and a large team of Czech illustrators, to create - but its exuberant bizarreness and wacky humour make it a real treat.

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Second is 1987's Comment Wang-Fo fut Sauvé (How Wang-Fo was Saved), an exquisitely illustrated 15-minute piece about both a Chinese master painter's encounter with a disillusioned Emperor, and the paradoxical relationship between art and reality. Laloux claimed it to be his finest work, and it is certainly one in which you can, like Wang-Fo, easily lose yourself. It is as beautiful as a Chinese painting – although, unfortunately, there are a few scratches from the original print still visible here.

Last but not least there is a 40-page accompanying booklet, including rare production sketches from Laloux's films, and a stimulating new essay by Craig Keller (written in an academic style) documenting Laloux's biographical background and films.

Reviewed on: 13 Sep 2006
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Fantastic Planet packshot
Trippy, Seventies animated version of the biblical story of Exodus.
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Product Code: EKA40218

Region: 0

Ratio: 1.66:1 anamorphic

Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0

Extras: René Laloux short films Les Escargots and Comment Wang-Fo fut sauvé, the complete soundtrack for Fantastic Planet, 40-page full colour booklet

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