ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES
General Release 2007
94 minutes approx
Directed by -
Written by -
CÚline Garcia & Luc Besson
Arthur has problems, or more precisely his grandmother has problems, but since Arthur lives with her that means he also has problems. Since his grandfather disappeared three years or so earlier, times have been hard on the farm and now the bank is going to foreclose. This is the depression after all. Then Arthur discovers a story about a race of tiny people called Minimoys that his grandfather encountered in Africa. They now live in the back garden and may hold the secret to a fortune in rubies. In order to find out where the rubies are, Arthur must transform into a minimoy himself and descend into their world. This is only possible on one night every few months and it just so happens that tonight is the night.
What's this - Luc Besson, creator of SUBWAY, LEON and NIKITA making a children's fantasy. Admittedly, he did make THE FIFTH ELEMENT which was more appreciated by children than adults, but a full blown kid's flick. Has he got the sensibility for it? The short answer is no.
There are a lot of problems with ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES, but the most damning one is a lack of charm. A children's film can be forgiven a lot of shortcomings if it has charm. This has very little and pretty much all of that occurs in the real world and is ascribable to Freddie Highmore as Arthur. Mia Farrow plays his grandmother and proves to be woefully miscast and woefully not funny. Just because it's a kid's film doesn't mean you can get away with gurning.
Once into the minimoy world, however, the charm leaks away. True, the animation is fine (though unstaggering) and there is always a lot going on, but it's hard to care very much. Madonna pops up voicing the minimoy princess who takes a dislike to Arthur when he turns out to be a true hero and steals her thunder by pulling a sword from the stone (oh yes, it's that derivative as well), but equally inevitably begins to fall for him as their adventure continues. At least the villain is suitably villainous and everything is wrapped up neatly by the end, but nothing here is charming.
The action is fluffed, consisting mainly of moves stolen from other films. In fact the whole fight in the Rasta bar (yes, you read that right) is a pastiche of famous fights we have seen before. It's all pretty soulless and by the numbers.
Then there's the small matter of the casting. Freddie Highmore is fine in the main role, but whose idea was it to cast a much older and sexually provocative pop star as his love interest? Even were her vocal performance that much better than it is there would still be a very serious ick factor. On top of that the rest of the cast is full of big names, but Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, Chazz Palminteri and Emilio Estevez don't exactly rank high on the cute and fluffy scale.
the younger and less demanding members of the audience will enjoy ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES (it is colourful and full of movement after all), but the older children will get restive and the adults that are dragged along will find little to impress.Top
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