The 1980s Sci-Fi Space Survival Epic Everyone Forgot From Two Masters Of The Genre Needs To Be Seen

By Charlene Badasie | Published

time masters

The 1982 French-Hungarian animated sci-fi film Time Masters is a must-watch for any fan of the genre. The movie is directed by René Laloux from a script he co-wrote with Moebius – a pseudonym for the famed French comic book artist Jean Giraud. It is based on the 1958 novel L’Orphelin de Perdide (The Orphan of Perdide) by Stefan Wul.

Time Masters

time masters

Time Masters begins with Claude, who is traveling across a planet called Perdide. His heart heavy with grief, Claude sends a desperate message to his friend Jaffar, recounting the tragic demise of his wife Annie at the hands of indigenous monster hornets. Things take a turn for the worse when his vehicle crashes, leaving him trapped in the wreckage.

Claude manages to free his young son Piel from the wreckage and arms him with an interstellar transceiver named Mike, urging him to heed its guidance. Claude then sends Piel to a nearby forest sanctuary called the Dolongs, which repels the deadly hornets. As the vehicle bursts into flames, Piel is left to face the trials of Perdide alone, setting the stage for Time Masters.

The Adventure Continues

time masters

Meanwhile, Jaffar receives Claude’s haunting message and sets out on a mission to rescue Piel. He is accompanied by former royals Prince Matton and Princess Belle who are carrying a precious treasure that may help them get reinstated. The trio is also joined by Silbad, a seasoned traveler of Perdide. Communicating with Piel through the interstellar transceiver, they offer guidance and support from afar.

As Time Masters progresses, alliances are tested and sacrifices made. Matton’s treacherous nature nearly leads Piel to his demise. But Belle’s courage and compassion prevail, saving him from a watery grave. Determined to reach Perdide, Jaffar plots a daring course through the cosmic dance of celestial bodies, aiming to harness the gravitational pull of the Blue Comet.

A Critical Success

Time Masters received largely positive reviews from fans and critics. The film was praised for its richly detailed storyline involving time travel, exiled royalty, monstrous aliens, and philosophical subtext. While the film did not achieve widespread commercial success, it earned a cult following over the years, particularly among fans of animated sci-fi.

Originating In France

Time Masters is actually an English-language dubbed version of the French original Les Maitres du temps. The film was animated in Hungary at the Pannonia Animation Studio due to budget constraints, leading to varying quality in different parts of the movie, with some sequences showing superb animation while others revealed limitations in resources.

In the French version, Les Maitres du temps, the voice cast includes Jean Valmont as Jaffar, Michel Elias as Silbad, Frédéric Legros as Piel, Yves-Marie Maurin as Matton, Monique Thierry as Belle, and more. In the English dubbed version, titled Time Masters, the voice cast features Ray Brooks, among others, in a talented ensemble.

Stream It Now

Despite a few minor shortcomings, Time Masters is a lesser-known masterpiece that has influenced popular culture. It showcases Mœbius’ unique style and design, which have left a lasting impact on the animation industry. Over the years, the film’s design and storyline have sparked interest in potential remakes or adaptations to introduce this hidden gem to a broader audience.