Fantastic Planet-Or Why French SF Is Far, Far Better Than You Think.

It’s a Sunday night and I’m juggling three or four different blogs at the same time, while digesting Sunday dinner and taking advantage of the fact I don’t have to go to bed on a ridiculously early hour on a Sunday as Monday is only a half day in this new job.

The point is The Fifth Element is on Five and I quite like the film even though there’s many who can’t get past Chris Tucker’s annoying character, or the sheer weirdness of it all, not to mention that it just seems different to every other SF adventure film you’ve ever seen. Well, blame the French. Everything in it is French, even Bruce Willis has been transformed as much as is possible for Bruce Willis into a French action hero and any film featuring Knowle‘s finest Tricky in an exceptionally odd bit of casting deserves love, so love the film. It’s a huge piece of fun, plus it’s got designs by the great comic artist Moebius so that’s a huge plus in any book.

What it did bring up is memories of the animated French film Fantastic Planet, or La Planète Sauvage to give it the original title.

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It’s a film that’s never been shown on British TV as far as I know, and since the age of 12 or 13 I’ve constantly looked out for it so I could see if what I saw was actually real but in the 21st century you don’t need to worry about schedules when Youtube is around.

The film itself is set on an alien world where humans are bred as pets by giant alien creatures in a bizarre and wonderful alien world, and you can read a typically detailed and spoiler filled review of the film on it’s Wikipedia page here. The plot is weird and bizarre, but it’s a set up for the fantastic visuals you see on screen.

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It’s just one of these films where the filmmakers imaginations are allowed free range, and it’s got an amazing score which was cited by the likes of Boards of Canada as an influence.

The first time I saw the film was in fact the last 20 minutes at Albacon 80, the Easter Science Fiction convention held in Glasgow  where I’d been taken by my mother for a day as my first example entrance into the world of fandom, and it was a strange an bizarre world but that’s another story for another time.

Needless to say to my 13 year old self this was a revelation. I didn’t realise film could be this weird, unusual and just bloody brilliant as it was an experience for the senses even if I was watching it in a big room full of sweaty SF fans. It didn’t manage to lose the weird beauty of the images.

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It took me only a few years til I saw the film in full at another SF convention in Glasgow in 1983, I think that was the last time I saw it til a few years ago I stumbled across it on Youtube and it’s worth searching out but watch the trailer to get a jist of it. It’s worth it.

Another time I’ll talk about all those conventions and the other films I saw like Wizards which made an impact on me.

1 thought on “Fantastic Planet-Or Why French SF Is Far, Far Better Than You Think.

  1. Pingback: Secret Origins part two | My Little Underground

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