I had not watched this 1973 animated film for a while, so its all-regions release on DVD by a British label was very welcome. A Czech-French co-production by director René Laloux, it is something of a landmark film in its Sci-Fi sensibilities and its appeal to an adult audience. While Japanese anime has now claimed this market, it is important to recall who was here first.
The original title of the film is La Planète Sauvage and the movie tells the tale of a world inhabited by large cerebral blue folk (Draags) who keep some tiny human-like creatures (Oms) as pets, but consider wild Oms as vermin to be periodically culled. We follow the story of one such Om, Terr, who is taken as a pet after his mother is killed and raised as a toy by a young Draag. He manages to learn in the same manner as his Draag captor: via a device which feeds knowledge directly into the brain — though the learning in question is largely gibberish to the audience. When, as a teenager, his captor tires of him and turns to meditation, the Draags' main pastime, Terr escapes, taking a learning device with him.
He moves into the wilderness of the surrounding park where he finds several Om colonies who are uneducated and vulnerable. Despite their initial suspicions, his ability to read saves many of them during the next cull. He supervises their education and eventually their rebellion. At first, they attempt to establish their own land on the nearby satellite, known as the Savage Planet. They quickly find that this is where the Draags travel with their meditating bubbles. They land these bubbles on the top of giant headless statues, which then mate in order to renew the Draags' will to live. There can be no safe Om settlement here, so they return to their homes and eventually forge a 'live and let live' world with their former oppressors.