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Gandahar (1987)

While Fantastic Planet (1973) is Rene Laloux’s most famous film, Gandahar is a close second.

Everything is calm and peaceful. The Gandaharian community has made great technical strides in creating eco-friendly technology by actually merging their environment with the tech, and beautiful blue shaded people and alien animals relax in the sands and water, going about their everyday business – until unknown laserbeams blast out of nowhere, transforming their targets into stone.

As an army of ‘metal men’ ravage the doomed utopia, the audience follows Sylvian (voiced in the English language version by John Shea), son of Queen Ambisextra (Glenn Close), chosen by the Council of Women, to investigate the strange happenings.

He allies himself with show-stealer love interest Airelle (Jennifer Grey), and the even more show-stealing mutant race of failed genetic projects known as The Deformed, and together they attempt to exterminate the root of their home planet’s problems.

Isaac Asimov wrote the translation for the English version of the film. The English release also changed the original hypnotic orchestral soundtrack (by Gabriel Yared) to a synth-heavy style of rock, in an attempt to better fit the American audience. The movie suffers for it.

Voice cameos are provided by magicians Penn and Teller, and Letterman sidekick Paul Shaffer.

Released in the US as Light Years.

Ambisextra (voice)
Glenn Close
Sylvain (voice)
John Shea
Head/Historian (voice)
Bridget Fonda
Airelle (voice)
Jennifer Grey
Blaminhoe (voice)
Earl Hammond
Metamorphis (voice)
Christopher Plummer
Optiflow (voice)
Paul Shaffer
Octum (voice)
Teller
Announcer (voice)
Jill Haworth
Maxum (voice)
Earle Hyman
Shayol (voice)
David Johansen
Chief of the Deformed (voice)
Penn Jillette
The Collective Voice (voice)
Terrence Mann
Council Spokeswoman/Head (voice)
Sheila McCarthy
Apod/Metal Man (voice)
Alexander Marshall
Metal Man (voice)
Kevin O’Rourke
Metal Man (voice)
Ray Owens
Head/Metal Man (voice)
Dennis Predovic

Director
René Laloux