Archive for August 5th, 2008

What a delightfully trippy movie.

Fantastic Planet is an animated movie that tells the story of two species: the giant Traags and the miniature Oms. The Oms are a put upon, abused sort of people who either live in some sort of freedom but absolute squalor or are kept by pets by the freaky looking Traags. One Om is kept as a pet by a Traag family and through a complete accident, begins to learn what they know, including reading and writing. Upon his escape, he joins up with other Oms, helping them to learn Traag knowledge and inspiring them to move forward.

First of all, Piper, if I have nightmares about freaky, blue-skinned people with fins for ears, I’m blaming it on you.

Secondly, Fantastic Planet has kind of an ethereal feel. It’s not really describable, but I guess if I had to compare the feeling you get from it, the closest thing would be Saint-Expury’s Le Petit Prince. The Oms and the Traags are nice little analogies for the human race, even if the Traags are very blue, very red-eyed and obsessed with meditation (’cause they are). Eventually they both decide that after the Oms rise up and use their own knowledge against the Traags, that mutual destruction solves nothing. (Seems strikingly similar to messages of other movies also made during the Cold War, eh?) No one wins when everyone dies.

Edited to Add: So. like a weirdo, I surfed on over to the Wikipedia page after writing this. The source material for Strange Planet is a book, which was apparently written a long time before the Cold War. Jeez. Serves me right for making stupid assumptions. Carry on, carry on, and feel free to throw rocks at me.

The animation is really, really amazing, but not in a traditional sense – it’s a whacked out, weird world with crazy predators and bizarro trees. It’s like if you threw Dr. Seuss, Monty Python’s animations and a healthy dose of a French philosopher’s view of the world with a splash of science fiction into a blender, Fantastic Planet might be what you would get.

It’s not very long – it clocks in at an uber short 1 hour, 11 minutes – but the time it does spend packs a lot in, whether it’s in the message or the world they’ve created.

There was only one minor quibble I had with all this. The scene where Terr (the former pet Om) has to fight another Om with some sort of squicky saw-toothed creature attached to them made me giggle uncontrollably. I really don’t think that was what the filmmakers intended, but it’s kind of unintentionally hilarious.

Either that, or I’m twelve (at heart), which is a very distinct possibility.

All in all, an excellently made movie that’s worth the time to sit down and watch, even if there is a squicky creature battle to the death. Ha.

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