Amazing Planet: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray)

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&#13 It’s relatively obscure outside of animation circles, but that doesn’t imply René Laloux’s Fantastic Planet (AKA La Planète Sauvage, or “The Savage Planet”) isn’t worth a look. This oddly compelling 1973 animated work has surely aged in some regards, even though its creative visuals, universal story, and disturbing characters stay just as accessible and repulsive as ever. These who like their sci-fi slow-cooked have come to the correct spot everybody else, even so, may possibly feel more than a bit estranged by what unfolds in just 73 minutes. Translation: it is quite trippy.&#13

&#13 Our story revolves about the human-like Om people and their strange relationship with the Draags, a race of giant blue creatures who inexplicably speak excellent French (or English, depending on your dub preference). These curious beings have mixed feelings about the smaller Oms: most adult Draags regard them as vermin, but the younger creatures take pleasure in maintaining them as pets. Careless play sessions usually injure or humiliate the Oms, regardless of whether their big owners are batting them about or pitting their pets against a single yet another. It is established early on that this a single-sided partnership is akin to a selfish kid toying with ants or teasing a modest kitten even though some Draags mean effectively, their connection is closer to a master-slave relationship than something else. It really is suitable, then, that this one-sided connection does not final really extended: quickly enough, Amazing Planet transitions into a tale of revolt, rebellion, violence and attempted escape, armed with a powerful sociopolitical message that’s easy to interpret but tough to overlook. &#13

&#13 The storybook cease-motion animation is possibly the most striking aspect of Fantastic Planet, which resembles Terry Gilliam’s work for Monty Python with a stiff but striking cut-and-paste look that’s punctuated by bold hatching strokes. Conceived and made by late French surrealist illustrator Roland Topor (who co-wrote the film with Laloux), the handcrafted visuals are as essential to the film’s legacy as a lot as its story. They are paired with Alain Goraguer’s original score, a pure solution of the 1970s though his music cues show their age during numerous sequences, this typically adds to the film’s densely disarming atmosphere. The end outcome appears and sounds vibrant but moves fairly slowly, creating an knowledge that will keep most new viewers off-balance. Those who stick with Great Planet need to have no dilemma appreciating the film’s forward-pondering message and singular construction.&#13

&#13 Originally released on Region 1 by Anchor Bay and internationally by Masters of Cinema (who later released a Blu-ray, despite the fact that I have not noticed it), Great Planet gets much more domestic consideration by way of Criterion’s new Blu-ray. Though the new 2K restoration isn’t a slam-dunk like I hoped, the clear improvements in audio and bonus features make this a properly-rounded work worth owning for established fans of this cult classic. Either way, Criterion’s lastly acquiring on board with more animation following their release of Watership Down last year, and that’s constantly a excellent thing. &#13

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Good quality Handle Division

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Video &amp Audio High quality&#13
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&#13 Presented in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer of Fantastic Planet is…well, fairly darn blue. Every single previous version of Wonderful Planet I’ve observed hence far (which includes older DVDs by Anchor Bay and Masters of Cinema) has displayed a warmer, earth-toned palette that is not uncommon in property video, but the extent to which this Blu-ray leans on colder colors just doesn’t really feel proper at occasions…particularly since it is pretty inconsistent. Probably the older DVDs had been incorrect and we’ve just gotten used to them, but it nonetheless requires fairly a bit of visual adjustment if you have observed Wonderful Planet a lot more than a handful of occasions ahead of. Otherwise, this new 2K restoration (offered by France’s Argos Films) is head and shoulders above preceding versions: fine detail and textures are extremely significantly improved, with no flagrant digital imperfections and a terrific “in-motion” appearance that actually amplifies the film’s special style. Black levels and contrast are also deep and effectively-balanced, with no clear indicators of black crush or boosting.&#13


&#13 &#13 DISCLAIMER: The screen captures featured in this overview are strictly decorative and do not represent Blu-ray’s native 1080p image resolution.&#13 &#13


&#13 Criterion’s Blu-ray serves up two 1. tracks: the original French (PCM) or an English dub (Dolby Digital), which sound very diverse in far more methods than expected. The French track is mixed lower in both volume and frequency with a stronger emphasis on Alain Goraguer’s original score, and it also defaults to a split two-channel track even although my player did not determine it as such (the English dub, on the other hand, is more treble-heavy in direct comparison and appropriately placed in the front channel). It is also exciting to note a quantity of script differences by way of the optional English subtitles which properly translate the original French dialogue in comparison, the English script is slightly more verbose and, combined with the Draag’s much more robotic delivery, creates a a lot diverse encounter.&#13

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Menu Style, Presentation &amp Packaging
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&#13 As usual, Criterion’s interface is smooth and simple to navigate. This 1-disc set is packaged in their common “stocky” Blu-ray case with colorful artwork that pays tribute to one of the film’s most recognizable scenes. The accompanying poster-style Insert characteristics technical specs, credits, and an essay by film critic Michael Brooke.&#13

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Bonus Functions&#13
&#13 A handful of things of interest here some may possibly be familiar to DVD owners, and some are new. A pair of Short Films, Les temps morts (1965, 9:46) and Les escargots (1966, 11:15), mark two earlier collaborations among Laloux and Topor. The very first is a curious black-and-white mixture of reside action and drawings—some of which have been lightly animated—and is usually as dark and morbid as its title implies. The second, a story about a farmer whose depleted crop is revived by his own tears, is presented in complete colour and a bit closer in style and structure to the main feature.&#13

&#13 The supplements continue with Laloux sauvage (26:16), a 2010 French-language profile of the late director that was overseen by filmmaker Florence Dauman (who incidentally assisted with its recent restoration). Two other items spend tribute to illustrator and co-writer Roland Topor: a lengthy and playful 1974 episode of the French tv plan Italiques (53:51), as well as a shorter Interview Segment (3:24) with the artist performed a year earlier. Topor is really candid and truthful for the duration of each among other topics, we discover his background, philosophy, and family members life. Lastly, we get the film’s original Trailer (two:17) prefaced by a brief list of awards and nominations.&#13

Final Thoughts

&#13 Amazing Planet, though vivid and nearly entirely alien at initial glance, delivers the slower-paced exploration of a planet that’s meant to mimic our own in some respects. Co-written by director René Laloux and surrealist illustrator Roland Topor, it is each and every bit as psychedelic and off-balance as its stylized look suggests…but this film is still destined to polarize audiences, and that is specifically why it really is worth a look if you have not seen it already. Criterion’s Blu-ray represents a solid upgrade from preceding residence video versions: I can not say that I’m fully on board with the cold tint of this new 2K restoration, but the upgrade in clarity and texture is clear (the lossless audio and new/vintage supplements never hurt, either). New fans need to rent this 1 as an alternative of generating a blind acquire, although those familiar with Great Planet‘s special charms need to enjoy most of what this disc has to offer. Recommended.&#13

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Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey by day and film reviewer by night. He also does freelance design and style function, teaches art classes and runs a website or two. In his limited cost-free time, Randy also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs and writing in third particular person.&#13


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