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Arthur and the Invisibles [2007] - 12.98

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

Customer reviews (av rating: 3.0):

Rating: 2:
Broken plot, very rushed, dialogue stiff and awkward. : well despite bad reviews i thought I'd give this movie a go as visually i think it's looks very imaginative and detailed.

that's really where the positive points seem to stop, the visual splendor that this film is!

however, everything else seems to be a total sham! it's as if the animation was done before they even developed a plot or came up with some dialogue and then they got all the actors together and decided to make up the dialogue and plot as they went along! the outcome is that you get a rushed plot, which is quite predictable, as in it was like a pattern, (problem-solve-talk-next scene-problem-solve-talk-next scene-problem-solve-talk-next scene etc etc) the movie quickly jumps from scene to scene with me real character development, unexplained plot lines and a general rush job feeling.

dialogue/voice acting.

despite having a few big name's chucked in the voice acting seemed a bit "dry" to me, there wasn't much feeling in it, it felt as though they were not taking the parts seriously, Madonna i think was the best as the princess, her voice fit the character and there was an edge of sarcasm to her tone-which gave some personality to the character, the boy annoyed me, snoop dog was snoop dog, however it seemed totally unnecessary to the story development to even have the club scene, if was obviously an attempt to "be cool" chucking in a hip hop scene that would appeal to young wannabe rap stars, the dancing/fighting scenes made me cringe! and my children were not exactly amused by them, asking me why they were dancing if they were fighting the bad guys? (who did not seem menacing in any way)

David Bowie was good as the bad guy although again, not menacing, in fact this last scene was the worst for me, **contains mild spoiler** princess gets into the evil guys lair, (quite easily) she has to go alone although no explanation is given as to why, they have a friendly chat in which the baddie does not seem threatening again, then some evil side kick jumps in out of no where and yells it's a trick! (what's a trick? they're just talking?) at which the baddie (bowie) is like "I've got you now!" it's just well, a little dry! (remember the beginning of toy story? where Andy is playing with his toys? and he puts on the stereotypical voices etc? this film is like that whole scene, except with less character)
the bad guy ends with a tennis ball being chucked into his lair, (after the boy is rushed back to real life) at which he exclaims, "what is this thing?" and you don't see what happens to them.

as for the relationship between the 10yr old boy and 1000yr old Madonna, i would say not to take the 1000yrs literally, as it is explained that in the world of the mini-moy's time is a lot faster, therefore that will affect their ages etc, it's not a 1000yr old human! if she were to turn human she would be a lot younger, although i admit it's still a bit weird as her voice and looks make her seem to be at least an adult in her 20's!

i thought at first that the boy just thought she was cute and was a little infatuated with her, or had a little crush and that she just thought he was a sweet little boy and felt compassion toward him, until however at the end she is shown sitting in a tree stating that she will wait for him!

what's that all about then?

2 stars for the animation, character design and imaginative environment.
worth a watch with the kids if you can get it for less than 8.00, otherwise don't bother, their are plenty of decent animated features out there that the kids will enjoy.

Rating: 3:
Fantastic Fun : I rented this film from our local rental store on a whim. (after being told they couldn't find the disc to the movie we wanted to rent, and we couldn't be bothered to search all over again) However I was very pleased with what I saw. I thought the animation was whimsical, and took me back to movies like A Bugs Life. The characters were all very well voiced, especially Bowie's character. The story was also wonderful and in my opinion would appeal to children and adults alike. Although this is probably not the most advanced film, or the best written script, I appreciated the movie, as something which was very reminiscent of the past.

Rating: 3:
Fun but unfulfilling : Quirky and I loved it but I couldn't get away from the feeling that it was rushed and half made. There are several areas of the plot that are condensed into breathless dialogue and several times I was left asking what had just happened. The film is held together by great individual characters but fails on a badly handled plot and action scenes that are sometimes very stilted, culiminating in an excrutiatingly bad bar fight scene to music.
There are some disturbing ideas, the 10 year old and 1000 year old love angle is iccky while the obvious drug and drinking overtones in the bar are distasteful.
This was a brilliant story mangled by trying to be too clever, poor animation and borrowing far too many ideas. Its fascinating to watch and I fully recommend it but expect to feel a little cheated (like watching the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) because it was not done justice.

Rating: 2:
Kids Will Love It : Laboured by out-of-date animation and a catastrophically adapted plot, 2007's "Arthur and the Invisibles" is yet another to add to the long list of disappointing animations of recent years. By no means is this an awful movie, and younger less quality-conscious viewers to whom "Arthur and the Invisibles" is targeted will undoubtedly find something to enjoy within. Viewed as a motion picture in its own right, however, this admittedly charming movie blunders in key areas of its production. The voice cast is at times questionable -- though David Bowie unquestionably excels as the feature antagonist --, the plot isn't properly established and explained, character resolutions are pat and half-baked, and for all the purported zaniness of the affair, "Arthur and the Invisibles" never adequately enthralls or interests older viewers.

Bidding to prevent the imminent demolition of his grandfather's home ten-year-old Arthur (Freddie Highmore) follows a series of clues that ultimately culminate in him locating tiny people named the Minimoys. Searching for treasure to ensure his grandfather's home remains, Arthur teams up with beautiful Princess Selenia (Madonna) and Beltameche (Jimmy Fallon). However, all doesn't go quite according to plan when evil Maltazard (David Bowie) attempts to stop the trio by whatever means necessary.

In the live-action portion of "Arthur and the Invisibles", young Freddie Highmore excels as adventurous ten-year-old protagonist Arthur. Conveying emotions via facial expressions like few other actors of his age, Highmore could be one of the best screen actors of the coming years. When voicing the animated portion -- which dominates the movie -- Highmore's flaws as an actor present themselves. While his facial expressions themselves are remarkable, his voice is monotonous throughout, not lending to his shrunken Minimoyed character the required emotional state of the live-action version. Madonna's apparently got it figured, when you can't act go the animation-route. As possible love-interest Princess Selenia her voice is reasonably placed, but the idea that a character thousands of years-old is attracted to a ten-year-old becomes creepy when you think about it. As the bad guy Maltazard, David Bowie is the best cast voice in the entire picture. Fitting his respective character perfectly, Bowie either chose the correct role or was given it. Bravo on that.

There's an admittedly high level of intrigue to grip younger audiences and perhaps even some adult viewers -- to the contrary of an earlier point -- but most adults will find the experience tiresome nevertheless. The infrequent attempts at humour aren't funny whatsoever, with a decided focus upon slapstick. Animated slapstick? No thanks. Where "Arthur and the Invisibles" can be credited with regards to the humour department is the abscense of crude toilet humour or fart jokes, one of the reasons adults will never get annoyed by proceedings even if they find them slightly tedious.

"Arthur and the Invisibles" doesn't work as a motion picture. Failing to mash together humour, intelligence, enthusiasm and plot in a cohesive, adequate way, the movie ultimately feels like yet another feeble attempt at an extraordinary animation gone horridly wrong. Younger audiences will probably enjoy it but I doubt that the majority of adult viewers will.

Rating: 5:
Great film for children (and not only) : A masterpiece for kids and adults alike. Touching, magical, capturing, and technically superb will not disapoint the fans of the fantasy genre. It moves back and forth between the real world, and a fantastic subterranean one, all action taking place above and below a farmhouse garden.
The only thing I really didn't like is the intrusion of "modern" music and rapers smoking joints in a fictional theme. They might be fun, but (according to my humble opinion) don't match with the subject.
It is good to see that French directors show us what they are really capable of (Enemy at the gates, A very long egagement), moving away from "deeply cultured" crap where no-one is speaking, staring at the infinity...

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