Les Maîtres du temps is a wonderful film by the French animator Rene Laloux. Before I say any more about it I should state up-font that I have a rather special relationship with this movie. I saw it when I was a child once and could not get some of the images out of my head. I promptly forgot the title and director and could never find it again. Every so often I would remember scenes or images and be frustrated that I could not track the film down. It was re-released on DVD in the UK a couple of years ago and there was much excitement on my part. I am also glad to say that, after so many rosy-tinted years, it remains an awesome piece of work.
The film is a must-see for several reasons: first, it's a great story. I won't spoil it for you but it's the kind of classic sci-fi which we rarely see these days involving fantastic planets, lost children, amazing vehicles and, of course, time travel. Second, it was designed by the late Moebius. The renderings are wonderful and suitably French. Finally, although the animation is not amazing, it is restrained and, when coupled with Laloux's sensitive direction, is quite magical in a way that is hard to describe.
The must-bookmark Monster Brains has compiled the whole movie in YouTube clips for your edification. I suggest you watch the first one online then go out and buy the DVD (as that's kinda the right thing to do). Also, check out Laloux's other animated sci-fi masterpieces including Gandahar and (the insanely trippy) Fantastic Planet.