Time Masters (Les Maîtres du temps) Reviews
I was interested to see it again after all these years but I can't imagine this movie would hold much appeal for the average moviegoer other than for nostalgic reasons.
It's still very good sci-fi and although it's much more suited to children than The Fantastic Planet, again, I'd say it's a film made with adults in mind more than children.
A big plot point at the end leaves a few boarderline plot-holes and so the film almost felt like Rene just had a cool idea he wanted to cram in the film, but this might be because I've seen another film do a similar twist and that film did it better. Still, worth checking out if you're a fan of animation or science fiction.
Personal enjoyment: 7/10
Actual quality as a film: 7/10
"Time Masters" is a french animated sci-fi adventure story, that begins midchase, and careens towards a "La Jette" like twist, that mostly makes sense, and involves "time colonization".
A boy and his father race along on an alien planet and crash their vehicle, the father sends his son out with a communication device and tells him to do whatever it says. The boy is 5 years olf and the device is a transmitter to a ship across the Galaxy, captained by a freind of the boys father, who informs him they were attacked by an indigenous race of beetle creatures; his wife is dead, he is dying, and his son will be soon too, unless they can save him. For now the boy is safe beneath a part of the forest whose flowers act as a natural repellent to the creatures. The ships captain decides to deviate from his course of helping an embezzler Prince escape capture, and save the boy. Along the way they pick up a guide, whose been to the planet before and narrowly escaped the creatures, and two faceless psychic pixe like creatures, the kind you would find in a Miyazake movie. Meanwhile, They Prince is attempting to lead the boy astray on the communicator, and has to escape when the rest of the crew finds out. The captain pursues him to a planet of faceless angel like creatures who share a single conciousness planet wide, and who assimilate all life into themselves...Later still there are the "Time Masters" , who colonize planets by disloding them in time temporarily, hurling whole civilizations back into times when they would have been easier to conquer and with greater stores of resources.
Time Masters is wonderfully rendered space opera, with as always with Laloux, clever allegorical and political subtext, tucked in next to the sumptous lingering images of the creatures and places which only exist in his films. I think with this, "Fantastic Planet", and "Light Years", Ive now seen all hia feature films. Sad really, Laloux is up there with Miyazake, Svanjkmajer, and Chuck Jones, as the the great craftsman of his medium.
This is a beautifully illustrated and highly absorbing film which leads to an emotionally affecting twist at the end. Occasionally it is a little slow and some of the animation is a bit clunky. Nevertheless, this is a superb piece of film-making that succeeds where many of it's peers fail for example HEAVY METAL and the majority of Ralph Bakshi's works.
A must for all Moebius fans.
It's unfair to compair this film's technicality to present full feature anime and watching it for the first time now will not leave lasting impression as it did for us who watched it some 25 years ago...