DVD Review: Fantastic Planet looks as strange today as it must have 40 years ago

Originally released in 1973, René Laloux’s animated sci-fi parable Fantastic Planet still looks strikingly alien, over four decades later. Its visual ideas are so outré that few have been borrowed or referenced by subsequent films, and Laloux himself made only two other features (most notably 1988’s Gandahar, which was released in the U.S. as Light Years). Not that Laloux’s imagination was the prime mover, in any case—most of Fantastic Planet‘s fantastic design work came from the mind of Roland Topor, a French illustrator who’d teamed with Alejandro Jodorowsky to create a new surrealist movement in the ’60s. (Topor also wrote the source novel for Roman Polanski’s The Tenant and played Renfield in Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu The Vampyre. He was quite the interesting guy.) The nonhuman creatures are still humanoid, in order to make the intended allegory clear, but this world’s …

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