“Fantastic Planet” (Original Title: La Planète sauvage) is a 1973 animated flick that plays into a wild concept of human beings taken to a planet in the distant future by giant blue humanoid creatures called ‘Draags.’  The Draags live on a planet called Ygam, and they call the domesticated humans ‘Ohms.’ Though the Draags are leaders of a spiritually and technologically advanced community, they treat the humans as pets and also systemically slaughter the humans who live in the wild. It’s a bit disturbing, but what really stands out is its vibrant, colorful animation. To put it simply, the Draags are under the impression that they’re better than humans in every way imaginable, and this gives them a right to rule over them. Back in 1973, only a niche crowd dug the film, but as time rolled on, people started appreciating the eerie ambiance it marketed. “Fantastic Planet” was way ahead of its time, and it’s now a standout in the world of French animation.

Fantastic Planet (1973) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

The movie kicks off with a human mom and her child running scared. Sadly, the mom meets a tragic end when she falls from a height. This freaks out the Draag kids playing with her, who bolt in fear. Then, a Draag father and daughter duo find the kid. The daughter, Tiwa, decides to take the human kid in as her own. She hooks him up with a collar that she can control with a remote on her wrist. At first, the kid, now named Terr, isn’t too happy about the collar, but eventually, he learns to live with it.

Terr’s voiceover then recounts his life with Tiwa. She took care of him, feeding, dressing, and bathing him. They’d also have fun breaking crystals outside her house. But things weren’t always all peachy. Terr reveals how he was forced to fight another human, an elderly one at that. He was just a baby when he watched his mother die, and then Tiwa came in and took him under her wing. But despite her care, Tiwa treated Terr more like a pet than a person. As time went on, she started ignoring him, focusing on other things instead.

How did Terr evolve due to Tiwa?

Fantastic Planet (1973) Movie Ending Explained
A still from “Fantastic Planet” (1973)

Terr grew up as Tiwa’s pet, always by her side. Tiwa possessed a special headband that helped her learn and meditate. One day, a malfunction in Terr’s necklace allowed him to absorb the teachings from Tiwa’s headband. Tiwa and her family dismissed this, thinking Terr couldn’t understand the information. However, Terr surprised them all by learning the language and ways of the Draags, the dominant species. As Tiwa grew older, she became more focused on her studies, leaving less time to play with Terr.

Despite this, Terr’s inner voice believed Tiwa still cared for him. Feeling neglected, Terr decides to leave, taking Tiwa’s headband with him. When Tiwa finds Terr and her headband missing, she uses her wrist control to call him back. Terr’s world revolved around Tiwa after he lost his mother. He became very attached to her, thinking she loved him back, but the harsh truth hit him hard when he realized Tiwa saw him more like a plaything than a person. This broke his heart in many places, thus leading to him bolting to save himself.

What happened after Terr escaped Tiwa’s house?

As soon as the collar is activated, Terr gets tangled up in some plants, thanks to Tiwa’s remote. Luckily, a wild human spots him and takes him to their treehouse. There, Terr meets a bunch of other wild humans, and their leader can’t help but poke fun at Terr’s fancy clothes. Terr talks about the collar to the wild humans, and they all decide to use it to learn new things, but some of them think these lessons are only for the Draags and that humans shouldn’t be getting educated.

After learning a bunch of new skills, the humans decide to steal some things from the Draags, but when they get back to their tree, another group of wild humans arrives in and steals their loot. Despite this setback, they keep using the headband to learn and figure out how to steal from the Draags. One day, a creature attacks their colony, but the humans manage to take it down. The humans have their own ways of mating and staying safe, but they soon realize that to survive against the Draags, they’ll need to join forces. Although some humans see them as a threat and compete for survival, the humans understand that if they need to have a fighting chance against the Draags, they must join forces.

Fantastic Planet (1973) Movie Ending Explained:

Why did the Draags make peace with humans?

When the humans catch wind of an impending massacre by the Draags, they decide to stay alert in Draag territory to watch out for any attacks. While on guard duty, another group of savages captures Terr and grills him about why he’s on Draag’s turf. Terr tells everything, but the savage leader doesn’t buy his story. Soon enough, the Draags launch their attack, and many humans perish. Terr manages to escape and heads back to his colony, only to find his leader dead and his girlfriend fleeing with the headband.

The humans have been cleverly crafting rockets with their limited gear. When Terr and his girlfriend escape the massacre zone, they witness the two human groups uniting to fight off the Draag assaults, but things take a grim turn when two Draags show up and start squashing humans with their legs. The humans fight back and manage to take down one of the Draags. This sets the other Draags off, and they come up with new rules to stop humans from being tamed or adopted. The next day, the Draags launch yet another brutal attack on the humans.

Fantastic Planet (1973) Movie Ending Explained
Another still from “Fantastic Planet” (1973)

As the humans face the relentless attack, they make a daring escape to another planet using the rockets they’ve crafted. Landing on the Fantastic Planet, they discover eerie headless statues. Soon, they learn a mind-blowing secret that the Draags, during meditation, teleported to this planet to interact with other races and perform mating rituals crucial for their survival. Realizing the sculptures are important for the Draags, the humans start wrecking them. This freaks out the Draags, who then decide to make amends with the humans. They build a whole new planet with cities for humans to inhabit.

The movie closes with a young Draag learning about this history.

Fantastic Planet (1973) Movie Themes Analysed:

The movie takes us to a planet where humans are the underdogs, living under the thumb of an alien race. It shows how power is unevenly distributed among different social classes, with the Draags holding all the aces over the humans. Themes like oppression, control, and the struggle for freedom are at the core, which reminds us of real-life societal battles.

The movie gives us a peek into our relationship with nature so we can think about the upsides and downsides of technological progress. It also nudges us to consider living in harmony with nature and practicing sustainability. Through Terr’s story, we see how the Draags’ neglect inadvertently leads to his evolution and deeper understanding of their world. It also makes us reflect on our own coexistence with nature and other creatures on Earth. Additionally, the film is also a cautionary story about the dangers of unchecked technological advancement and its potential for harm to other species.

The movie follows Terr’s journey to free his people, accentuating the themes of freedom, self-rule, and the fight against oppression. It really gets you thinking about who we are as a species and what values we hold dear. With its deep metaphors and symbols, the film explores big ideas like life, consciousness, and spirituality. It challenges us to consider our place in the universe and the meaning we find in it all. Plus, the stunning visuals and deep themes make you stop and really ponder about life and its mysteries.

Read More: The 25 Best Animated Movies of All Time

Trailer:

Fantastic Planet (1973) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
Fantastic Planet (1973) Movie Genre: Sci-Fi/Animation | Runtime: 1h 11m
Where to watch Fantastic Planet

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