(Les maîtres du temps
) is an 1982 Franco-Hungarian animated film by Rene Laloux and Moebius
, based on Stephan Wul's novel "L'orphelin de Perdide".
Piel and his father are on a distant planet, Perdide, frantically fleeing giant hornets before crashing. Piel's father gives him a small communicator before dying, telling the small boy that its name is Mike and that he needs to listen to everything it says. On the other end is Jaffar, a space captain. On his ship is Bella and her fiance, an exiled prince named Matton and a technical wizard named Silbad. They take on each other
and the perils of space's bizarre alien worlds while searching for Piel, and when they find him, the story goes from wacky nightmare fueleriffic
space escapades to a Tear Jerker
. Be warned.
The film encompasses a great number of themes Laloux is fond of: Mind Screw
, Scenery Porn
, and Nightmare Fuel
Tropes related to the movie:
- Assimilation Plot: Gamma 10 is inhabited by faceless male angels who worship one amorphous, all-controlling being. They capture the heroes and plan to change them into more angels to power their God, which would make lose all sense of their individuality as the faceless angels did— they were once scruffy spacemen.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: The faceless angels of Gamma 10 also lack nipples and genitals.
- Burial in Space: Silbad/Piel gets one overlooked by one of the Masters Of Time.
- Children Are Innocent
- Companion Cube: "Mike" to Piel.
- Constantly Curious: Piel, understandably since he has no idea what's going on and is only a poor curious child stuck on a fascinating yet horrifying planet.
- Deranged Animation
- Diabolus Ex Machina: Most common complaint about the ending.
- Eldritch Abomination: The "God" of the faceless angels.
- The Faceless: The bizarre angels of Gamma 10.
- Fallen Prince: Prince Matton. He's on the run from the world he was prince of, with most of its treasury.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Jaffar plans to let the faceless turn him into one of them to buy the others time to escape, even though Yula and Jad tell him that won't work. But instead Matton stuns him and jumps into the pit while hating himself, thus killing the hive mind but dying in the process.
- Insectoid Aliens: The giant hornets inhabiting Perdide, as well as the giant mosquitoes.
- Loss of Identity: The result of being transformed into a faceless angel.
- Meaningful Name: The Planet Perdide. Perdide is the French for "lost," and Piel's lost somewhere on it.
- Mind Screw: Wait, what? We went on a trip to a planet to save some kid but he's been sent back in time and he was actually the old dude we had with us all along?
- Missing Mom: We find out that the hornets killed little Piel's mom shortly before the start.
- My Future Self and Me: Piel and Silbad, played for tragedy.
- Our Angels Are Different: These angels are actually a Hive Mind created forcibly by an amorphous blob out of people it mind controlled into coming into contact with it.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: The egg-shaped radio fits well enough.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Laloux changed the name of the child from the book. In L'Orphelin du Perdide, the child is Claude Junior. Laloux decided this would be confusing and renamed him Piel.
- Prince Charmless: It's hard to consider Matton a decent guy when he tries to drown a child.
- Redemption Equals Death: Matton. Probably even that wasn't enough.
- Reused Character Design: Jaffar has the face of Lieutenant Blueberry.
- Scenery Porn: Combining both Laloux and Moebius was bound to impress.
- Shape Shifter: Onyx uses his powers to impersonate treasure.
- Sinister Geometry: In the end, the planet by the Masters of Time — two half-spheres and a large glowing cube.
- Space Pirates: The true nature of the male angels.
- Technology Porn
- Those Two Guys: Yula and Jad, who also serve as team pets.
- Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: If the victim hates himself strongly enough, the hive mind that tries to absorb him will kill itself. Apparently Matton had a lot of self-loathing. It didn't save him, though.
- Twist Ending: Although Jaffar and his crew make it to Perdide, they run into a Timey-Wimey Ball in space just as they reach it. Turns out Perdide has been selected for colonization by the Masters of Time and they do this by sending planets back in time a set amount of years for reasons best known to themselves. In Perdide's case, it's 60 years and this puts Piel in exactly the right place to be rescued by a passing space trucker and become Silbad.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The angels inhabiting Gamma 10 have been analyzed as a Take That to Christianity and religion.
- Also, in contrast to the film's critique of Christian/Western religion, symbols from Eastern religion appear in a more positive light: "Mike" is a yin-yang, and the wise, superintelligent Yula & Jad emerge from a lotus.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Alien gnomes Yula and Jad at the end say that they felt thousands of emotions, "even though there are only twelve" when Piel/Silbad dies, and the other says they must have really loved him. It's not supposed to be possible for their species.
- Would Hurt a Child: Matton, considering Piel's rescue a waste of time, tries to drown him by using "Mike" to trick him into a lake. The others stop him and talk Piel back to safety.