Arthur and the Invisibles Review
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After returning from boarding school in England, Arthur (Freddie Highmore) returns home to live with his grandmother (Mia Farrow) in Connecticut. Arthur’s grandmother’s home is a fascinating place, filled with souvenirs of her well-traveled life with Arthur’s grandfather, who mysteriously disappeared one day and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

One day, a man from town shows up at Arthur’s grandmother’s house and announces that he’s going to tear it down and turn the land into an apartment complex—unless they can pay off their debt within 48 hours. Arthur’s grandmother starts packing up their things and getting ready to move out, but Arthur decides that it’s up to him to go in search of the treasure that his grandfather hid somewhere near the house. To find the treasure, though, Arthur discovers that he must travel to the land of the Minimoys—tiny people whose kingdom lies under the fields surrounding the house.

Once Arthur follows the instructions that his grandfather left behind and becomes one of the Minimoys, he meets Bétamèche (voiced by Jimmy Fallon) and his sister, the beautiful Princess Selenia (voiced by Madonna), both of whom agree to help Arthur in his mission to find the treasure—which is currently in the hands of The Evil M, Maltazard (voiced by David Bowie)—to save Arthur’s grandmother’s house as well as the kingdom of the Minimoys.

Arthur and the Invisibles is an imaginative, partially-animated, partially-live film that offers a unique story (no animals returning to the wild here, fortunately) and an all-star cast (which also features the voices of Snoop Dogg, Jason Bateman, Harvey Keitel, Emilio Estevez, and Robert De Niro). But, unfortunately, it just doesn’t come together well. There are too many inconsistencies and holes in the story, and it doesn’t help that the animation was designed to work in both English and French—so it always seems out of synch. The voice performances aren’t exactly remarkable, and the dialogue is sometimes silly. I did, however, enjoy the animation—and I was fascinated by some of the details in the world of the Minimoys. But that just wasn’t enough to blow me away.

While the characters are likeable and the story is interesting, director Luc Besson (known for action-packed films like The Fifth Element and The Transporter) fails to turn Arthur and the Invisibles into the magical adventure I’d hoped to see. It’s definitely a creative film, but it’s just not all that thrilling.

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