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LIGHT YEARS - 3 Slimes
Rated PG
Copyright 1986 Revcom Television.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 30 June 2001

The Characters:  

  • Sylvain - He is selected to investigate the threatening occurrences around Gandahar and turns out to be the best man for the job. Calm, thoughtful, and reasoning in his actions. Really unlike your standard action hero.
  • Airelle - Jennifer Grey! A beautiful young woman who falls instantly in love with Sylvain. He returns the favor, but is it because he respects her mind or her total disregard of shirts?
  • Ambisextra - Glenn Close! As the Queen of Jasper she is a woman with her head screwed on right. A good thing, too: if not it might fly away. Okay, sorry, that pun was probably uncalled for.
  • Blaminhoe - Counselor and advisor to the ruling body of Gandahar. He looks like a cross between Buddha and Confucius.
  • The Deformed - Genetic freaks banished from Gandahar because of their twisted bodies, though their minds are sound. Penn and Teller are among them! (This explains a lot of things.)
  • The Men of Metal - Soulless killers sent from the future to enslave the populace. Their marching precision bears no small resemblance to Fascist propaganda films from World War II.
  • Metamorphis - Christopher Plummer! Huge mass of brain tissue that was created by mistake and is responsible for the Men of Metal. When not musing on the secrets of life and the universe it exhibits traits disturbingly similar to a rotifer.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Gandahar is an idyllic paradise where the citizens have mastered both themselves and their environment. Everything exists in perfect harmony with the world, providing an abundance of nourishment for both the body and soul. No need for net or hooks; the fish hop into your boat when a specific melody is played on a flute, while some plants germinate melons or pets on command. How would you like to have a new dog? Simply walk up to the nearest dog tree and let the deciduous mother know your desires. Within minutes a canine embryo begins forming in a large translucent fruit. When it ripens Rover (artistic license here - it is an alien pooch) bursts forth full of adulation for the waiting owner.

Another obvious aspect of the perfect world are breasts. You heard me correct, those physical structures common on females that us men are so appreciative of. Don't get me wrong now; breasts would obviously have a prominent place in any Elysian paradise among my dreams. It is just amusing in ways that require a Y chromosome.

Paradise is lost, not by a woman picking fruit, but when some malevolent force begins attacking the outlying regions of Gandahar. Reports reaching the capital city of Jasper are sketchy, but the audience is privy to certain terrifying secrets. Villages are being attacked and the inhabitants turned to stone by strange beams! Are the attackers medusa wearing storm trooper armor (this is what you get when I fall asleep during "Clash of the Titans" and wake up during "The Empire Strikes Back") or something less subtle?

Sylvain is dispatched by the Council of Women to find out what menaces their peaceful land. On the edge of civilization he is beset by strange winged creatures that swoop to attack. He finishes the last predator with a deadly organic weapon (just thinking about a rose bush germinating inside my head gives me the shivers) right after it mortally wounds his own mount. Yielding in death to gravity's call, the flyer makes a crash landing that leaves Sylvain unconscious. The brave young man is found by a group of hideous figures, all misshapen and prone to strange terms of speech.

The Deformed are not the enemy Sylvain seeks to unmask, though he first mistakes them for such. Instead we find out that they are products of ancient tampering by Gandaharian scientists, perhaps during their search to perfect everything. Reviled by those pure of blood, the Deformed have lived in exile for countless years. Despite this, they harbor no resentment against what the agent represents and even assist him in his quest.

Everything really takes off for a little while here as Sylvain is captured by the invaders, meets Airelle, escapes, witnesses the Men of Metal passing through a strange doorway, and discovers the Metamorphis. He returns to Jasper with all this new information (plus a new girlfriend to boot) and dumps it into Blaminhoe's lap. Luckily the wise old man finds a record of the Metamorphis in some data archives. Long ago scientists created the enormous brain and, not knowing what else to do with it, dumped the mass into the Circumscribing Sea. Great idea; didn't anyone on your planet watch "Alligator?"

Battles are fought and lost to stem the tide of ferrous invaders, including the peaceful citizens of Gandahar employing huge crab like beasts as weapons of war. Rolling giant boulders downhill at the invaders seems to work best (there are a few disadvantages to marching in formation while under attack), but the actions are only a fighting withdrawal. Everything depends on Sylvain's final mission: inject the Metamorphis with a deadly concoction before all is lost!

Now the enigmatic prophecy begins to make sense. The huge brain acknowledges that it and the Men of Metal are linked, but they come from a thousand years in the future. Sylvain is placed in suspended animation for a millennium, waking to find that Salvador Dali remodeled the planet while he slept (next on "Trading Spaces") and the Metamorphis is now a wicked thing. Its cells are too old to reproduce and legions of automatons issue through the doorway of time to plunder the past. People turned to stone are brought back through the gate, reanimated, and then used to replenish the huge brain's tissues.

Meanwhile, in the past, the war is lost and a huge flock of birds carries Jasper (the city is inside a mountain shaped like a woman's head) away. Will the hero be able to euthanize the old and decrepit Metamorphis before the birds all drop dead from hernias? It is more of a physical dilemma than a moral one; once grandpa starts snatching up the grandchildren and sucking out their brains you had better take a hammer to him.

Strange landscapes and races are expensive to film as live action. Even with the burgeoning growth of CGI some visions are simply best realized by talented pen and ink. "Light Years" is not great animation, but it is good animation. Potent would be a fitting description. Like the marching blocks of Metal Men or the Deformed man, who does not have any legs, balancing on one arm to greet Sylvain with an open palm. Here we have a screenplay groomed by Isaac Asimov and delivered with all the fixings. Enjoy it.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • You don't want to be shot in the face, especially not by a gun that makes thorns grow out of whatever it hits.
  • Five heads are better than one.
  • Shaping your storage containers like eggs is a great idea. Unless there are enormous reptiles, with strong maternal instincts, running around. Then it's not such a great idea.
  • Flying carpets are made from neurons. (It's a long story.)
  • There are disadvantages to be being composed of metal, like electrical storms.
  • Having a weapon that causes petrification is of dubious value when your targets are rocks.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 3 mins - Ahhh! Silicates! Run for your lives!
  • 7 mins - I do not think one-eyed birds would be very successful, there is this neat requirement called "depth perception."
  • 13 mins - He has lips on his knees; bizarre.
  • 18 mins - Hey, how about a helping hand? If you have a normal one that is.
  • 30 mins - Obviously this planet's ocean does not have waves.
  • 51 mins - Are we men or are we freaks with limbs growing out of all the wrong places?
  • 63 mins - Maybe this is the wrong time to ask, but how do you go to the bathroom?
  • 68 mins - I sure hope that those are not steam pipes...

Quotes: 

  • Blaminhoe: "We've lived in peace so long, we've neglected the possibility of evil and we may have forgotten how to fight it. Perhaps we've been fools and this land of ours a fool's paradise."
  • Deformed: "You were, will be, Gandaharian?"
    Sylvain: "I was, will be. You were, will be, my friends."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note lightyears1.wav Sylvain: "My quest began with a riddle: 'In a thousand years Gandahar was destroyed. A thousand years ago Gandahar will be saved and what can't be avoided will be.'"
Green Music Note lightyears2.wav Ambisextra: "One less mirror bird to watch over our kingdom of Gandahar, killed like the others were. Who would do it and why?"
Blaminhoe: "To keep us from learning what threatens us. Without the eyes of the mirror birds we can't see what's happening at the borders of our land."
Green Music Note lightyears3.wav Metal Man Leader: "The 'I' does not exist!"
Metal Men: "The 'I' does not exist."
Metal Man Leader: "The true 'I' is 'We!' It is we, it is we!"
Green Music Note lightyears4.wav Sylvain and the Metamorphis discussing things.
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliplightyears1.mpg - 2.7m
Gandaharian troops are fighting the marching columns of Metal Men with their bioengineered weapons here. Where did they get these seeds, at the "Little Shop of Horrors?"

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3
Light Years
Reply #1. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Netweasel
The first time I saw this movie, I think I was about 8 years old, I was mesmerized.  Since then I've seen it about twice.  Every time I think of the movie, I am filled with awe and amazement.  The wonderous landscape and engaging plot bring you into such an amazing world that you will be swept off your feet.  Recently I've been trying to get a hold of a copy of the movie because it truly is amazing, but there seems to be quite a limited amount.  Ah...oh well...If anyone knows of a digital copy of the movie or it's music, I'd be pleased to be informed of how to get it!  Definitely see it if given the chance...it's quite a movie.
Light Years
Reply #2. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Kelly
I saw this movie when I was 13, it being one of about 500 movies my parents rented from their video store. (Yes, I had a blissful, movie-filled childhood, I admit it...)  Unfortunately, the copy my mother was able to get was missing about the first five minutes of the film.  I mean, you'd pop the tape into the VCR, and, immediately, you're thrust into Gandahar's strange little world, where a woman welcomes a dog-like animal springing from a plant and brings it to her breast to suckle.  I'm assuming, therefore, that I missed a tiny bit of exposition because of that, but I still really liked this flick.  As Andrew said, the hero is actually that - a hero.  He doesn't go running around getting into fights, doesn't insult people who are trying to help him, doesn't curse up a storm, doesn't use people to help him, then leave them to their own devices, and doesn't speak in an annoyingly, high-pitched, whiny voice! "pant, pant"  (Sorry, I just watched "Rush Hour 2", and I want so badly to shoot Chris Tucker in the crotch right now...I'll understand if this bit doesn't get printed, but, Godalmighty, that man is annoying!)  However, I digress.  This film was always a pleasure to watch.  It wasn't really what I'd call action-packed, but the characters made it interesting.  The whole idea of people thinking in terms of not only the past, but the future, as the means to the present was a bit confusing at first, but I really got into it.  Looking at the photos and clip on this site, I realize that the animation isn't as good as I remembered, but I still think it was beautifully done.  Anyway, I recommend it, it wouldn't be time wasted.
Light Years
Reply #3. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by The Stormbringer
I saw this movie in the late 80s when a friend lent it to me. I had no idea what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The music is haunting, a web of eerie threads, and I loved it so much that I put the movie on AUDIO tape so I could listen to the various songs! (freak! lol)
The acting is almost...surreal. I felt myself really caught up in this future, and when I saw the Deformed, I knew I was watching a classic.
There is nothing about this movie that I did not like (except when Sylvain tells Arielle that he feels that they had been "chosen"...a guy will say ANYTHING to get a girl into bed...love it...lol).
If you havent seen it, see it!
Long Live Gandahar!!
Light Years
Reply #4. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by BoyScoutKevin
Can you believe I actually saw this, when it first came out, and I do not remember anything about it? Maybe, because I have it down in my list of films seen, as "Light Year" and not "Light Years." Obviously, not as good as much of that put out by Bakshi or Disney, still it is worth checking out.
If for no other reason, then anything classified as adult animation is worth checking out. (IMHO) Enjoy
Light Years
Reply #5. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Vasquez
This movie is one of the very few sci-fi animated movies made in France. We don't make many animated movies, and even less sci-fi, bloody cartesians that we are.

But René Laloux, the director, is one of the Justs! ;) Before that one, he made "Les Maîtres du Temps" (1982, Time Masters) and "La planète Sauvage" (The Fantastic/Savage Planet, 1973). All three movies have in common the good but not great quality animation (for the time), and stories that are infused with a poetry that most Disneys lack thoroughly.

Gandahar is adapted from a novel by Jean-Pierre Andrevon, a French sci-fi novelist among the best. Although the story was his first, and the Time warps/paradoxes are... well. Let's just say they're even less logical than a ST:Voyager episode about time travel... It is still an excellent movie, that found its way into this Bad Movie site because it's French, poorly known, and old. Still, I'm not blaming Andrew, it's nice to see people know about this movie!

Don't dwell too much on the quality of the animation; remember budget was probably one tenth or one twentieth of what Disney used at the time, and that all these movies are old anyway. And check out The Fantastic Planet. It's worth 80 mns.

Light Years
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by The Congo Kid
Not a bad film, really.  For some reason, it reminds me of "Heavy Metal" without all the big-name rock bands in the background.  
Light Years
Reply #7. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Flying Monkey


     I rather liked this movie, it's a animated movie that made me think, which I haven't run across too often. The Metal Men are interesting (love to have a WAV of their marching sound) and the Deformed are excellent. Actually I think this beats the pants off of any Disney story, at least plot-wise.
Light Years
Reply #8. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by felicity
Okay, I don't even smoke. . that. . anymore. But watching this movie last night sure made me wish I did. Then it would have made sense, perhaps. Or perhaps not. It is a lot like old Heavy Metal - when it was Metal Hurlant. Anyway, it rocks, and my 9 year old son liked it too, although he was a little stunned by the advanced technology that yet has not invented the shirt. Well, everyone gets their own priorities.
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