René Laloux’s Time Masters

Today I watched René Laloux’s Time Masters (1982)

time-masters

A French animated science fiction by the director of Fantastic Planet, and designs from the legendary Moebius? Sign me up! The film revolves around a boy, who gets stranded upon an alien world, and the space pilot who must rescue him.  This plot has some structural problems though. It feels very episodic as multiple small adventures all happen before the main story can be wrapped up. This lack of focus does the film no favors, it loses much character development and setting detail in the scattershot narrative.

On the plus side there is the truly inspired art design. The alien environments are brought to life with incredibly imaginative designs and music. The fingerprints of Moebius are all over this, his pseudo-esotericism and organic forms dominate this film’s visual language.  There is a romantic sense of optimism to the futuristic elements of the film as well, the technology seems truly miraculous in a way that has changed the way people live their lives for the better.

Time Masters is certainly worth watching for the visuals and concepts alone but its plot and characters are unfortunately not given the focus they need.  Despite its attempts at deeper themes the lack of characterization makes it difficult to fully engage with.  It is a largely visual movie and unfortunately the animation is somewhat dated, but it is a very creative vision of the future that will always have relevancy.  3/5

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