Les Maîtres du temps (René Laloux, 1982)

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Time Masters is a Franco-Hungarian animation that again shows the invisible hand of Moebius. Thus it is one of the few animations made with his direct involvement. But the really culprit here is René Laloux(Fantastic Planet 1973, Gandahar/Light Years 1987).

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I can safety say that he is right on top of my list, not only of favorite animation directors but also favorite Sci-fi directors of all time. He had got an incredible dedication of describing alien life forms, nonhuman flamboyant mating rituals, fruit-animal and vegetable-animal hybrids, strange ecosystems and planet worlds complete with populations, rituals and husbandry&particular technologies.

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The only important thing that really puts me off is his penchant for libertarian ideals and the hyper-individualism of his heroes that always manage to fight off devilish hive-minds, totalitarian beings or brainiac entities that absorb individuality, personality and life into a single-, group- consciousness. Of course there is a lot of sci-fi out there concerned with this battle against Borgs and a lot of dystopian writing against faceless multitude and the state Leviathan.

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That apart, Time Masters is an incredible piece of animation Sci-fi really standing on its own with an orphan child befriending and surviving in a strange jungle (les Dolons) on the planet Perdide and a bunch of space adventurers trying to reach him. The action always bifurcates btw he child and the space crew that only gets there just in the end. At some point you manage to appreciate all those plot loopholes. For example the title-creatures called Time Masters only appear in the very last scene during a space burial. I am really fond of space burials and the scene from Alien (1979)is one of the most poignant and emblematic of this whole space and ship filmography.

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Some of the most stylish backgrounds and surroundings occur on a brief stop during the visit to Silbad’s planet, a friend of the space adventurer Jaffar.

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This planet is really paradisiacal, it always makes me think if this terraforming design is actually more related to horticultural origins. All the lakes and the floating villa of Silbad more like a lacustre caravan seraglio or an Angor Vat temple.

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The huge nenuphars or sacred watter lillies are hard to forget.

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Another set-piece that I enjoyed was the encounter with the Reform spaceship.

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This is a sort of sacred police, akin to the corrupt techno-Pope from the Metabaron saga.

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Yet another treat is the final half-cut artificial planet that is a sort of giant hospital station helping out he victims of the Time Masters space-time warps. This station is full of Moebius characters(have you seen Arzak?).

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Also love the couch/lounge kind of the space ship controls – finally some of the friendliest controls since Barbarella’s furry ship interiors.

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They are full with incredible combinations of greens – I think this is how keyboards and hardware should look like!

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One Comment

  1. alkmy December 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm .

    Rene Laloux kicks ass!

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