First released in France, Luc Besson's Arthur and the Invisibles
is a touching computer animated adventure that makes up in look and in character for what it lacks in narrative originality. As a direct hybrid of Excalibur
and A Bug's Life, Arthur
stars a heroic ten year-old, Arthur (Freddie Highmore), who draws a sword from a stone to fight a miniature battle in the garden before finding treasure valuable enough to save his grandfather's farm from purchase by developers. Arthur's grandfather, Archibald, having long ago discovered the miniscule world of Minimoys, garden gnome-like elves that lived in his yard, shrunk himself in order to hunt elusive rubies that were hidden in their evil Mecropolis, headed by Maltazard (David Bowie). Now Arthur must assist the benevolent Minimoy clan, ruled by The King (Robert De Niro) and Princess Selenia (Madonna), in challenging Maltazard for possession of the jewels. Shots taking the viewer down through grass blades into the microscopic, yet gigantic yard world readjust one's sense of size, as do scenes, for example, in which a small, elven Arthur fights mosquitoes with catapulted tomatoes. Meanwhile, live action scenes of Arthur's worried grandmother (Mia Farrow) provide respite from a completely computerized world. Bowie, as he did in Legend
, steals the show, bringing to life his Darth Vader-like character who chose evil over good in a past adventure. Corny one-liners sometimes spoil the mood, but overall the film's thematic blend of fantasy and environmentalism, like Princess Mononoke
, will delight children with its positive message. --Trinie Dalton
Children's fantasy adventure follows a little boy with a big imagination and the creations he conjures up in his mind. Arthur lives with his granny in the country. His grandfather has recently died and his parents don't get in touch much. His grandma entertains him by telling stories of the Mimimoys - a race of miniscule, elf-like beings who live in her garden. According to these stories, the Minimoys hold a wondrous and expensive treasure of rubies given by an African tribe to Arthur's grandfather. When a ruthless property developer threatens to evict granny unless she comes up with a tidy sum in two days, Arthur decides the Rubies must be worth enough to cover the payment and sets about tracking down the Mimimoys to relieve them of the jewels. From there, he becomes involved in a fantastic imbroglio with the wee folk who have a cruel foe of their own - the Evil M. The Evil M, it seems, holds Arthur's grandfather prisoner, and the rubies form his throne. Arthur decides it's The Evil M or him but soon finds himself in jail where, happily he meets his Grandfather who's also been shrunk to Minimoy size. Along with the beautiful Selenia, they set off to conquer the evil one and snatch the rubies.