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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