Fantastic Planet(1973)

H.R. Geiger’s design work for Alien aside, there is no film that better conveys a sense of the otherworldly than 1973’s French animated classic La Planete Sauvage, or, as it was released in America, Fantastic Planet.

It’s about a strange world populated by blue-skinned creatures who view humans, or “Oms,” as pets at best, and a pestilence at worst.

When I say “strange world,” I really mean that. It truly does live up to the film’s title.

Everything is just so wonderfully exotic and outside the realm of of our understanding of what life is–the animals, the plants, the landscapes, the daily routines of the blue aliens–it’s not merely a redressed version of Earth, like we often see in onscreen sci-fi. It’s got an entirely unique aesthetic all its own.

For instance, there’s a scene in which crystals sprout up everywhere and it’s treated as a normal, familiar phenomenon. I love that.

The aliens do weird, inexplicable stuff and learn things through headbands, one of which a tame Om steals and brings to the wild Oms.

It’s just a gorgeous film, a surrealist painting come to life. If you haven’t seen it, and you like truly imaginative, thought-provoking science fiction, I highly recommend you seek it out. HBO Max has it, and I’m sure it’s readily available elsewhere online.

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