Friday, February 02, 2007

ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES is so cute I can forgive it all its manifest flaws

Jimmy Fallon and Madonna redeem themselvesI've read the bad reviews of ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES and I agree with everything they say. The movie borrows heavily from other films and children's stories. The plot is a bit random. Whole set-pieces happen for no other reason than, say, writer-director Luc Besson, wants to see a rastafarian character (voiced by Snoop Dogg) get the pre-teen hero get high. And of course there is that snobbish need to condemn any movie that has a connection with Madonna. The movie rips off many another tale, and features far too much ueber-hip post-modern stylings from the characters. One of the most ridiculous plot contrivances is that despite life-threatening poverty, Arthur attends an English boarding school so as to explain his upper-class English accent! There's also a disastrous parody of Pulp Fiction and Saturday Night Fever.

But the thing is that ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES is a fun time. If you take some kids to see it, they will enjoy it and, frankly, I enjoyed it too. Certainly a lot more than the usual talking-animal US animation.

The story sees a young boy called Arthur (Freddie Highmore) who lives with his poverty-stricken grandmother (Mia Farrow) on a rural farm in 1960s America. The nasty evil Goonies-style property developers are about to seize the family farm and turn it into condos. So Arthur has to search for some rubies that his grandfather hid on the family estate in the care of some inch-high little humanoids called the Minimoys. In miniature form, the movie switches from live action to animation and Arthur has to journey into the lair of the evil M (David Bowie) and rescue his grandfather, locate the ruby and win the heart of the feisty Princess (voiced with no little skill by Madonna.)

It's not a work of genius, but you know, the Minimoys are sweet, and their world is richly imagined. Despite the plot plagiarism, ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES is actually far less formulaic than most studio-produced kids movies. So all in all, I have to give it a thumbs up.

ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES was released in Francem Belgium, France, Israel, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Iceland, Hungary, the US and Kuwait in December. It was released in Poland, Australia, China, the Philippines, Argentina, Germany and the Netherlands in January. It is currently on release in Italy, Sweden, the UK. It opens in Denmark on Feb 9th, in Norway on Feb 16th, in Finland on March 2nd and in Hong Kong on April 5th.

1 comment:

  1. Good to know. I'll have to make a point of seeing this one. Especially since I couldn't agree with you more about the talking animals, cars, etc. What next? Talking toilets?h