Fantastic Planet

 
A jarring examination of racism and intolerance.
  • Review Date: September 12, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 1973
  • Running Time: 72 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A dominant race of blue-skinned giants embards on genocide when the slave race rebels.

Violence

In the style of fantasy violence, alien creatures eat each other, humans get stomped on by much larger aliens and are killed by alien contraptions. A human casually kills an animal with a knife. Some scenes show large groups of people killed en masse.

Sex

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!

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that mature themes (racial and cultural intolerance) are the central issues of this film. 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?

QUALITY
 

Far stronger visually than narratively, Fantastic Planet will be of more interest to science fiction and animation buffs than to the casual viewer. Mature themes and frequently disturbing imagery make this one 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 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 1, 1973
DVD release date:January 12, 1999
Cast:Barry Bostwick, Eric Baugin, Jennifer Drake
Studio:Anchor Bay Entertainment
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Space and aliens
Run time:72 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:Parental Guidance Suggested

This review of Fantastic Planet was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byfrankwhim June 27, 2011
age 10+
 

I wish more people knew about this film

This is a wonderful film. The strange, dream-like animation is great to watch, and the story is intriguing and thought-provoking. But I don't think that this film addresses racism. Rather I believe it is an examination of the ways in which we treat animals. The Draags see the Oms as a species fit only for being kept as pets or exterminated, which is what we do with many animals, especially those much smaller than us, as the Oms are to the Draags. One scene in the beginning shows a young Draag tormenting a terror-stricken Om in much the same manner as a child will treat a small insect. It was such a familiar thing to see that it brought the theme of the movie into sharp focus for me. Something to keep in mind is that the sexual aspects of the film are presented in such a surreal, unearthly manner that they seem almost scientific, like a nature documentary or something of the sort. I reccommend watching this film in its original language, as the English version makes the movie seem even more detached from reality.
Kid, 9 years old September 13, 2011
age 13+
 

PG-V-S

I give it PG V-S
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex

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