Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fantastic Planet

Left: Tiva and her pet Om (named Terr) in FANTASTIC PLANET (1973), original title La Planète sauvage.



As a vegetarian, I always assumed the little Oms in FANTASTIC PLANET were a method of tweaking our consciences. Look how the big nasty giants (Draags) treat the little Oms, who look just like us. They cruelly keep them as pets and even have mechanical toy rainclouds follow them around to rain on them. They exterminate them like rats. On one occasion I saw the movie (have seen it dozens of times), a girl in the audience sighed "Ohhh!" when they exterminated the Oms. I wondered if she worried about the mice and rats that periodically get exterminated by concerned Health Departments throughout the land? Did she make the connection? I did, and it bothered me. I was not yet vegetarian when I first saw the movie, but it was a building block in my consciousness.

The French/Czech team that produced FANTASTIC PLANET apparently meant the Draag/Om war to be a metaphor for the Cold War and the political repression of Eastern Europe:
French animator René LaLoux' first feature film, produced in Prague's Jiri Trnka Studios, is widely regarded as a metaphor for the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. The story is based on Stefan Wul's novel Oms En Serie (Oms By the Dozen), but the symbolism of a powerful technological culture subduing a (literally) smaller one, then thoughtlessly underestimating and abusing its people, is clearly nonspecific enough to apply to almost any situation of political inequity. As an act of political defiance, it's fairly vague, though considering its broad call for mass education and overthrowing the ruling class, it's surprising the Communists allowed it to be produced at all. (It was a struggle; the film eventually had to be completed with French financing.)
(From Classic SciFi)

Certainly, things turn very dramatic when the Oms start organizing an insurrection. Even so, the amazing, spiritually-based climax is a total surprise. I have always wondered if they stole the idea of mating on other planets from the Mormons; if so, good steal:
...the Oms launch their manned rockets toward the Fantastic Planet, where they discover headless statues. As bubbles descend to alight atop the statues, the statues begin to dance. Each bubble seems to contain an image of an individual Draag in meditation; their "spirits" are what animate the statues.

It turns out that the statues facilitate "nuptial rites" between the Draags and entities from other galaxies, and from these, the Draags draw their life force. When the feet of the dancing statues threaten the rockets, the Oms use energy weapons that shatter the statues. Pandemonium reigns supreme in the Council chamber, for it seems the two races will destroy one another if they cannot find a way to live together.
(From the Wikipedia link.)

If you've never seen it, check it out. Total magic! And there is a happy ending.

Meanwhile, on Planet Earth, we continue to treat our Oms as the Draags did. Will we end up learning the hard way, too?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

mormons think they are having sex on other planets? is that what you said?

Daisy said...

Apparently, in the afterlife, or AN afterlife (not sure I get the LDS afterlife concept), one might (always? sometimes?) go to the planet/star Kolob, and marry there, some say multiple times, multiple wives.

Marital bliss is seen as part of paradise, heaven. I find that interesting.

The tableaux of souls ascending like bubbles to another planet, where a rite takes place, was MADE for animation, and it looked transcendent. But I think the concept itself first came from Joseph Smith.