Fantastic Planet ★★★★

I am a sucker for pre-1980s hand-drawn independent/non-Disney animation, and of the major stars of that umbrella I've seen, Fantastic Planet is a stand-out.

Surprisingly, I am at a loss for words with this film. To call it an 'experience' almost feels like an understatement. Not only is the animation top-notch, but the world is so singularly unique. This is a movie that you can literally get sucked into, and its oddness and surrealism only make it twice as compelling.

This alone would warrant it high praise, but the fact that it's driven by a fascinating plot with excellent pacing, has one of the best scores I've ever heard [if only because I've heard it sampled on so many classic records at this point], and has an incredibly deep subtext that can lead you to a myriad of interpretations solidify Fantastic Planet as a movie I'd recommend to literally anyone at the drop of a dime.

Which is why I'm so confused why I have nothing to say about it. It's not like there's a lack of thematic depth. You can pull out everything from Master-Slave relations, Communism, war, animal rights, and environmentalism, and that's really only the tip of the iceberg, on top of praising the technical aspects. But for some reason, I don't feel compelled to really do that with this movie. Sure, I have some small issues - the last third kinda puts around in a circle and the ending is not strong, and the lack of explanation about the world kinda makes the tangential world-building things feel too loose - but I think those only demote this a little bit. Still, the fact that all I want to say is "watch this movie" makes me feel like it's missing something, even though I'd recommend it. For some reason, I just can't figure out what that something is. What more do I want from thsi movie? It has complex themes, it's gorgeous, it sucks you in right from the beginning - what more do I want a movie to do?

I don't have the answers to that question, and I think my loss for words is exactly why I think Fantastic Planet is the most fascinating Film Club pick so far. I think when all is said and done, this will be the movie I end up thinking the most about, maybe not because it's the one I'll return to the most, but because it's just such an experience. Maybe that element of 'experience' is diminishing the cinema in this, even though I know this is definitely cinematic. Maybe I'm just thinking too hard about this.

Regardless, if you haven't, watch Fantastic Planet, because it truly is fantastic.

Film Club #23

Kyle liked these reviews