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This review is from: Les Maîtres du temps [Masters of Cinema]  [DVD] (DVD)
Rene Laloux, director of the absolutely stunning Fantastic Planet, strikes again with this animated Euro space-jaunt, joining forces with artist Moebius to present a tale in which our heroes struggle across space in a desperate attempt to reach the planet Perdide, where a young boy is stranded and under threat from some truly abominable hornet creatures.
You know when you finally see something you haven't since childhood,and it turns out to be just as good as you remember? Well, that was definitely my experience of `The Time Masters': I first saw this as a boy and seem to recall it was on tv more than once over a comparatively short space of time, etching itself into my mind as a result. In fact, as an adult, I would say I enjoyed the film even more this time around, finding myself able to better appreciate its wonderfully off-kilter atmosphere and becoming less frustrated by the from-out-of-left-field ending. It's not really a film to watch for the plot (which is essentially two sets of picaresque adventures), more for the striking visuals (the faceless alien Xul angels are a standout) and the often unsettling mood.
The film looks great, and the DVD comes with an extensive booklet by Craig Keller, analysing and critiquing the film and Laloux's recurrent themes: whilst the interview with Moebius is very welcome, I can't say I always warm to Keller's tone in the rest of the booklet. For me, there's a fine line between erudition and pretention, and this frequently crosses it. His somewhat facetious comparison between Wah-Wah the Ouin-Ouin and Jar-Jar Binks is rather unwelcome as well, given the charming nature of the former. Still, there's plenty here to get your teeth (or your razor-sharp proboscis) into.
Overall, an excellent, trippy piece of cinema, not quite as cohesive as Fantastic Planet but very welcome nonetheless. Watch out for that ending though. It's about as memorable as it gets, but... well, just watch it.