What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that mature themes (racial and cultural intolerance) are the central issues of Fantastic Planet. Frequently disturbing imagery and an odd sexual scenes make this one appropriate only for older kids. Kids will see alien creatures eat each other and human-like creatures get stomped on by much larger aliens and killed by alien contraptions. A humanoid casually kills an animal with a knife. Some scenes show large groups of people killed en masse. At one point, the planet's dominant race of Traggs adopts a policy of genocide against the subservient race of human-like Oms. Characters appear in various degrees of nudity. In the film's strangest moment, we see how the Tragg race mates. Their mental forms (depicted as bubbles with a Tragg inside) attach themselves to the necks of headless nude statues, which then proceed to dance with one another!
What's the story?
In FANTASTIC PLANET, the faraway planet of Ygam is dominated by a blue-skinned race of giants call Traggs, intellectual beings who spend most of their time in meditation. Living under the thumb of the Traggs is the race of Oms, human-like creatures who live either as domesticated pets of the Traggs, or as savage groups in the wild. The status quo of the planet becomes threatened when a rebellious Om named Terr escapes from his masters and steals one of their learning headsets. Hooking up with a group of savage Oms, he quickly takes over the tribe and begins to educate them with the knowledge of the Traggs. They are then able to fight back when the Tragg's attempt to exterminate all wild Oms. As hostilities increase, the future of both races is threatened. Will they destroy each other or learn to live in peace?
Is it any good?
Far stronger visually than narratively, this movie will be of more interest to science fiction and animation buffs than to the casual viewer. Mature themes and frequently disturbing imagery make Fantastic Planet appropriate only for older viewers. Its look is like animated storybook illustration, with backgrounds and characters that have a startling three-dimensional look. And the story deals with such weighty issues as racism, genocide, and sexual reproduction.
In keeping with the serious themes, much of the imagery has an unsettling impact, particularly scenes in which the giant blue-skinned Traggs (whose faces subtly resemble human skulls) embark on a zero-tolerance policy and attempt to wipe out the humanoid Oms. The movie's focus on ideas and images, rather than on characterization, gives the story a cold, emotionless feel. We follow the main character Terr, but we never really get to know him, just that he wants to end the tyranny of the Traggs. Still, Fantastic Planet makes for some interesting viewing.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why the filmmaker of Fantastic Planet chose to animate such a weighty film when people tend to associate cartoons with children's shows and humor. Can you think of other comics are cartoons that are for more mature audiences?