Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

From famed French action director and producer Luc Besson we have a children’s live action tale mixed with CGI animation in ‘Arthur and Invisibles’. When this movie was still in France it was known as ‘Arthur and the Minimoys’ but for reasons that I can’t begin to fathom, by the time this film made it to the United States the name was magically changed to ‘Arthur and the Invisibles. The little Lilliputian like dudes in this film are stilled called The Minimoys and though they are tiny they are hardly invisible but yet I’m sure some silly focus group must have thought Minimoys sounded too much like Freedom Hating Terrorist so a name change was in order. Not that it mattered all that much since all of about 12 people saw this movie when it came out in theaters a year or so ago, which is too bad because Arthur and them is quite the exciting little adventure.

Little Arthur (Freddie Highmore) is a precocious little twelve-year old living with his Granny (Mia Farrow) and spending his summer days playing in the yard and waiting for his wayward parents to find their way home. Arthur’s grandpa has been missing for a little over three years now which has put a little excess pressure on his Grandma to help pay the bills and keep the farm. I’m thinking maybe Granny should run out at get a freaking job, but that’s just me. Gramps was some kind of anthropologist and wrote about a hidden treasure which by chance was hidden in his back yard. He sent a few cryptic clues to his grandson who is now old enough to decipher these messages and now, against Granny’s will – who is about to lose the farm and still shows no interest in gaining employment, Arthur is going find the hidden treasure in the back yard.

By saying some wacky incarnation Arthur is met in the back yard by a group of dudes looking like the Cleveland Cavaliers but dressed like African Bushmen and carrying

spears who advise Arthur that he has to go to the land of the Minimoys to find his treasure, and possibly rescue his granddad. This is a very complex process which includes shrinking yourself to about a millimeter high which ultimately results in one looking like an elfin Flock of Seagulls reject. Now my man Arthur is in the land of Minimoys, who has their own issues as the evil Maltazard (voiced by David Bowie) is set to run over the land. But the Princess of the Mininmoys (Madonna) who also happens to be the hottest animated character this side of Jessica Rabbit, reluctantly agrees to drag Arthur and her little brother Betameche (Jimmy Fallon) along on her journey to stop Maltazard and save her land.

My first issue with ‘Arthur and the Invisibles’, even though it was only voices, was that Freddie Highmore is twelve and Madonna is fifty. Both voice acting talent were quite good by the way but the whole love interest thing was just slightly disturbing considering that in reality Madonna could theoretically be Highmore’s grandma and as such their voices didn’t really match. Nothing but love for Madonna but surely there was a child actress out there they could have found to voice Selena. And speaking of little Freddie, why DID he have British accent? Considering he’s from Connecticut and all and his parents don’t have British accents. Perhaps it’s the same reason that Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory has a Swedish accent even though Didi and them sound like they’re from Brooklyn.

Those issues aside ‘Arthur and the Invisibles’ is solid imaginative children’s entertainment. The animation is crisp and well thought out, the voice acting, with stalwarts such Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel and Chazz Palminteri being very good, if somewhat miscast in spots. The story may be a bit tired, I mean seriously, we have to get some loot to save the farm? Maybe that’s a novel story arc in France, but nonetheless it still does serve the perfectly perfunctory purpose of moving us along on our adventure and it does keeps the story from dragging.

Though ‘Arthur and the Invisibles’ doesn’t measure up to water bearer of this genre, that of course being Pixar Studios, it is still a very colorful and entertaining adventure tale which will certainly keep the children entertained and has just enough to keep their parents from wanting to swing from the light sockets with a sock around their throats. ‘Arthur and Invisibles’ – a movie that won’t make you want to kill yourself. And for the life of me I still can’t figure out why my movie review blurbs don’t show up on commercials and DVD box covers.

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