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Light Years

original title: Gandahar


  • US Version
  • Original Version
Release: Mar 16, 2021 - Author: brainbug1602 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

When robots rule the human world

The peaceful people of Gandahar face a gigantic threat. Black robots roam the area, transforming the inhabitants into stone pillars that are eventually transported away. In the capital Jasper, the high council decides that Sylvain should conduct research on the black robots. On his journey, he meets a group of deformed men who are the result of failed experiments by Gandahar's scientists. The deformed men are also threatened by the black robots and therefore want to help Sylvain. Sylvain is captured by the robots and meets Airelle, a woman kidnapped from Gandahar. The two of them manage to escape and sneak onto a ship of the black robots, which is heading for an island. The island is Metamorphis, a gigantic brain that is worshipped as a deity by the black robots. Metamorphis itself does not know why it is worshipped by the black robots, but sees the key to this mystery in the future. Sylvain allows himself to be put into rigidity for 1000 years. When he wakes up again, everything is controlled by Metamorphis. As its cells die off, it sends the robots back in time to kidnap the inhabitants of Gandahar, who serve as his cell supply. For Sylvain, this is now the right time to face Metamorphis.

After Fantastic Planet and Time Masters, Gandahar is the third and last feature film by René Laloux. As with its two predecessors, the viewer can expect a fantastic, imaginative adventure from a strange unknown world, whose existence is threatened in this case by a horde of black robots, which are ultimately controlled by a giant brain from the future. The crazy mixture of fascist robots, topless women, huge lizard monsters, time travel, failed experiments and an all devouring brain causes incredulous amazement in view of the immense resourcefulness. The film can therefore only be recommended to sci-fi and fantasy fans.

Harvey "Scissorhands" Weinstein was at it again: The US version differs in many aspects from the original version

Gandahar was marketed in the US by Mirmax, a company founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein. The film was dubbed in English and none other than the now convicted Harvey Weinstein was responsible for the edited US version, entitled Light Years. Especially when Sylvain and Airelle met for the first time in captivity, several mostly short parts of the scenes were removed. When they are put into the nest by the Sorn a little later, the implied love scene in which they lay naked in the nest is completely missing. Otherwise, various action scenes were removed, probably for reasons of tightening.

At the beginning and at the end, the US version was extended. The film begins with a quote from Isaac Asimov and at the end you see the rebuilt capital Jasper once again. For this extension at the end of the film, already existing scenes were recycled again. Furthermore, the quiet, subtle soundtrack by Gabriel Yared was replaced for the US version. The new music by Jack Maeby, Bob Jewitt and Jim Klein is much more dynamic and energetic. Thanks to well-known speakers such as Glenn Close, Jennifer Grey (Baby from Dirty Dancing) or Christopher Plummer, the English dubbing is very successful. Without question, the cuts of the US version can be considered unnecessary. The new soundtrack is debatable, as the new music is more captivating for the audience, while the original music gives the film more depth. It's a pity that you don't have the chance to see the uncut version with the English audio.

The US version has only been released on VHS so far. The uncut version is available on DVD from Eureka in the UK. Unfortunately, this DVD is now out of print. An alternative is the DVD from South Korea which contains the film with optional Korean and English subtitles. The picture quality is very good and is therefore a much cheaper alternative to the UK DVD.


US version: 78:34 min.
FR version. 79:23 min.

The US version was compared to the original, uncut version.

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The US version begins with a quote from Isaac Asimov. Afterwards, the universe is shown while Sylvain speaks.

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."

US: 42 sec.


The US version has redesigned opening credits.

The French version, however, shows the original opening credits.

US: 1:00 min.
FR: 42 sec.


Sylvain and Airelle can be seen in their prison for longer. Sylvain tells that he is an agent.

Sylvain: "I am an agent."
Airelle: "Of Ambisextra's?"
Sylvain: "How do you know?"

FR: 4 sec.


After the robots could be seen, another cut was made on Sylvain and Airelle.

Sylvain: "I've never seen you in Jasper!"
Airelle: "I live far away from the capital, in a fishermen's village. I would show it to you if we get out of this prison."

Cut to the robots and the ship that transports giant eggs. Then you can see Sylvain and Airelle once again.

Airelle: "I was carelessly playing flute."
Sylvain: "Flute?
Airelle: "Yeah, do you want to learn it?"

FR: 25 sec.


The French version shows how the robots shoot at the monster. In between, a cut on the monster.

FR: 4 sec.


The monster runs towards the robots. Sylvain wonders what happens.

Sylvain: "What is it? What's happening?"

FR: 10 sec.


Sylvain and Airelle can be seen earlier. Airelle feeds Sylvain.

Airelle: "How quiet all of a sudden..."

FR: 3 sec.


Film tear: Sylvain and Airelle can be seen longer, then the monster earlier.

FR: 2 sec.


Sylvain and Airelle can be seen earlier.

Sylvain: "I have a gun."

FR: 1 sec.


Sylvain adds that he only has one shot left.

Sylvain: "With one last charge."

FR: 2 sec.


As the plant grows, another cut is made on Sylvain.

Airelle: "Syl, what is it?"
Sylvain: "I hope it works!"

FR: 4 sec.


Sylvain and Airelle can be seen longer in the monster's hand. Sylvain recognizes it.

Sylvain: "Sorn? It's impossible... This species had been extinct from our planet for a long time.

FR: 6 sec.


After Sylvain and Airelle were put into the nest, they can be seen earlier.

Sylvain: "Don't be afraid. Sorns are not carnivores."
Airelle: "Why is it not leaving then?"

FR: 8 sec.


It fades to another shot. Sylvain and Airelle find each other attractive.

Sylvain: "You are so beautiful, Airelle!"
Airelle: "So are you!"

FR: 7 sec.


After the monster is gone, Sylvain and Airelle talk for a while. Sylvain takes off his shirt.

Airelle: "She took our prison for an egg, and us for the hatchlings."
Sylvain: "That explains it."
Airelle: "Of course, it does."
Sylvain: "That's why sorn was fighting with the metal me. Because she took our cell for her egg. Which leads us to the conclusion that she thought of us as her own children. That's why she groomed us and built the nest.

FR: 22 sec.


After the camera has moved up on the nest, you can see Sylvain and Airelle talking.

Sylvain: "But it has been a little too much for me. I am afraid, Airelle. Yes... afraid. If I fail, Gandahar will die.
Airelle: "The metal men are strong, but they are very stupid. They cannot win!"
Sylvain: "And I would not like to lose!"
Airelle: "It's not easy to lose with me, you'll see."
Sylvain: "No, I don't want to see that. You'll be nice and wait for me, okay?"
Airelle: "Syl, let's not argue, I'll go where you go."
Sylvain: "You're just imagining it, I'll go on my own!"
Airelle: "There is no point arguing. Those who are meant ot be together will stay together."

FR: 42 sec.


Before Sylvain kneels down, you can see how he puts the armor on his head.

Airelle: "Look!"

FR: 4 sec.
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