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DVDFeature Film

Criterion Slates ‘Fantastic Planet’ For June Release

After decades of resisting animation, Criterion Collection is finally acknowledging what Cartoon Brew have always known: there’s a lot of amazing animated features out there!

Following up last year’s release of Watership Down on Blu-ray/DVD, Criterion will release René Laloux’s fantastically weird Seventies sci-fi Fantastic Planet. The cult classic is not only layered with meaning, it’s an artistic masterpiece thanks to the graphic artwork of Roland Topor. Here’s how Criterion describes it:

Nothing else has ever looked or felt like director René Laloux’s animated marvel Fantastic Planet, a politically minded and visually inventive work of science fiction. The film is set on a distant planet called Ygam, where enslaved humans (Oms) are the playthings of giant blue natives (Draags). After Terr, kept as a pet since infancy, escapes from his gigantic child captor, he is swept up by a band of radical fellow Oms who are resisting the Draags’ oppression and violence. With its eerie, coolly surreal cutout animation by Roland Topor; brilliant psychedelic jazz score by Alain Goraguer; and wondrous creatures and landscapes, this Cannes-awarded 1973 counterculture classic is a perennially compelling statement against conformity and violence.

In addition to a new, restored 4K digital transfer (and uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition), the film will come with these additional features:

  • Alternate English-language soundtrack
  • Les escargots (1966), an early short film by director René Laloux and illustrator Roland Topor
  • Laloux sauvage, a 2009 documentary on Laloux
  • Italiques: Roland Topor Special, a 1974 French television program on Topor’s work
  • Archival interviews
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Brooke

The Criterion edition of Fantastic Planet can be pre-ordered from Amazon on Blu-ray ($39.95) and DVD ($29.95). Both editions will be available on June 21, 2016.

Since Criterion seems to be warming up to the idea of animation, what other animated classics do you think they should release?

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  • Elsi Pote

    Heavy Metal of course.

  • Michel Van

    At last this masterpiece on Blu-Ray

  • Alex

    I’d really like them to release some stuff by Gyorgy Kovasznay like Habfurdo. Also definitely Marcell Jankovics’ Son of the White Mare. I do hope they get into some anime as well with something like Angel’s Egg or Royal Space Force.

  • Chicken McPhee

    This movie is the stuff of nightmares. Honestly, it’s like being thrown into the mid of the worst, scariest dream you’ve ever had. Live it out.
    When I was a kid I saw this several times on repeat on Canal+ in a hotel in France. I can’t watch it again. It’s too scary.

  • Johnny Marques

    About time to be perfectly honest. One of the best movies of all time finally getting the treatment it deserves. The soundtrack is particularly great. They should give the same treatment to Laloux’s Les Maîtres du temps.

  • Inkan1969

    In Miami, I discovered a super-obscure HD broadcast TV channel called “Retro TV”. Their schedule included a show called “Off Beat Cinema”.

    “Off Beat Cinema” actually did broadcast “Fantastic Planet” this January. I was able to catch the second half of it when I stumbled upon it while channel surfing. It was such a baffling movie as I was approaching the movie knowing absolutely nothing about it.

  • The Mighty One Eye

    Bravo! Criterion dream release: Richard Williams’ cut of ‘The Thief & the Cobbler’

  • maxbrown

    I nominate “The Man Who Planted Trees” (1987). Please, Criterion, rescue this one. It’s my favorite 30 minutes in all the history of film.

    It’s gorgeous, completely out of print, and can only be found on Youtube at 360p. The horror!

  • FourQ

    Yay! Now put it on Netflix!

    • James Anderson

      It’d be on Hulu most likely. They have that Criterion deal

    • David

      I’d rather they wait until it’s released on dvd/bluray.

  • Noah

    Yes! On top of what is already mentioned in the comments, a remastered Plague Dogs would be great. The US version is crap, and they already did one Richard Adams work.

  • Tony

    I mentioned Mr. Bug Goes To Town and The Adventures of Prince Achmed in a previous post. To that I would like to add The Adventures of Mark Twain and Allegro Non Troppo. Also, they should do sets dedicated to short films, like the works of John and Faith Hubley or the Zagreb School.

  • David

    Since they already have both Laloux and Martin Rosen in the Collection, I hopefully their other great works long unavailable in the US, Laloux’s Time Masters and Rosen’s Plague Dogs.

    The obvious would be:
    -Angel’s Egg (Tenshi no Tamago)
    -Feherlofia (Son of the White Mare)
    -Habfurdo (Foam Bath)
    -I Married A Strange Person & Hair High by Bill Plympton

  • GW

    My first pick is a French animated feature, Andre Lindon’s animated film The Invisible Child. Not many people have seen it, but it looks interesting from the still photos I’ve found. The other one is Jose Antonio Sistiaga’s film Ere Erera Baleiubu Icik Subua Aruaren. It’s the only feature length abstract animated feature that I know of. I’d like to see a release for Midori-ko too.

  • otterhead

    – The collected works of the Brothers Quay.
    – The Iron Giant
    – Yellow Submarine
    – Coonskin
    – The Mouse and His Child

  • Portalingscience

    It would be nice for the Belladonna of Sadness to finally come out in Blu-Ray.

  • David

    yay for both! Mind Game!

  • Psychedelic Piper

    Criterion should acquire the Soyuzmultfilm catalogue.