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
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Brooke
Since Criterion seems to be warming up to the idea of animation, what other animated classics do you think they should release?