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(aka "Light Years" )


directed by René Laloux
France 1988


Rene Laloux's 1972 cult film "The Fantastic Planet" was an intriguing addition to the slim field of science-fiction animation, and his new offering, "Light Years," is another. All animation is fantasy unbound by limitations, a theater of true possibilities, but it seldom has the visionary underpinning evident in Laloux's work -- certainly not in the genre of animated features, where everyone seems to follow the storytelling footsteps of Walt Disney (even when, like Ralph Bakshi, they stumble on the esthetics).....

The animation itself is somewhat stiff (production costs, most likely), but the illustration is terrific, richly detailed and vibrant, like pages of Heavy Metal magazine rippling with invention. The notions of scientific responsibility and moral revenge, civilizations destroyed and reborn, battles between individuality and collective being, are hardly new to science fiction or to sci-fi films, but they have seldom been explored so poetically.

Excerpt of review from Richard Harrington located HERE


Theatrical Release: March 2nd, 1988 (France)

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DVD Review: Eureka/Masters of Cinema (Spine # 63) - Region 2 - PAL

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Eureka/Masters of Cinema

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:19:42

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.87 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Eureka/Masters of Cinema

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Laloux short film La Prisonnière
• 36-PAGE BOOKLET including a new essay by Craig Keller and an interview with Philippe Caza

DVD Release Date: October 22nd, 2007
Keep Case

Chapters 13



With their release of release of René Laloux's "Gandagar" (or "Light Years" as it was known here in the states, with the redubbed voices of Bridget Fonda, and Glenn Close amongst others), the crew at Masters of Cinema have once again shown the care and the attention to detail that has come to define their work. Like Laloux's other works, the story is a blend of fantasy and science fiction. Here we find the innocent and peaceful people of Gandahar menaced by an unknown force that turns its inhabitants into stone. Their elders turn to the young Sylvain to find the hidden menace, and his adventure takes him on a journey that uncovers the dark side of his people, one that reveals a menace far beyond anything that they could have imagined. Like other works by Laloux, the plot of "Gandahar" isn't always the easiest to follow, but the film is never dull and has enough entertainment value to make the viewing worthwhile.

As the cover informs us, the print used for the disc is the result of a new progressive and high definition remastering of the material, preserving the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, and I have to say that the work that they put into this print really shows. The image on disc is generally sharp and I didn't see even a hint of damage or artefacting. The colors are, as I believe, accurate to Laloux's original presentation and weren't boosted or distorted in the remastering process. As you can see in the fourth and fifth captures, reds look particularly lovely here.

The disc uses a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track with the dialogue in the original French. The American "Light Years" track is not available here, and in all honesty, I don't think that that's much of a loss. The audio sounds about as good as any DD 2.0 track that I've come across, without any hint of manipulation or unwanted background noise. The removable subtitles are only available in English, and do not interfere with the image.

There are two special features on the disc. First, there's the short film "La Prisonnière", which proved to be Laloux's penultimate work. The short is even more abstract and open to interpretation than his feature work, but will likely be of interest to anyone who enjoys sci-fi or fantasy. MoC has also thrown in one of their typically exquisite fully illustrated booklet. This 36 page booklet contains a lengthy and informative essay on the film, as well as an interview with Philippe Casa on the making of the film.

Time and time again MoC has shown why they're one of the best DVD production companies working today, and this release is no exception. It's a good film that has been lovingly handled by some of the masters in the industry and is therefore an easy recommendation.

 - Brian Montgomery


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