Arthur and the Invisibles Review: A Near Disaster of a Film
by Alex Billington
January 15, 2007
Luc Besson's short but illustrious career includes directing credits for some memorable greats: La Femme Nikita, The Professional, and The Fifth Element. His latest film, Arthur and the Invisibles, is a forgettable mÃ©lange of King Arthur, Neo from The Matrix, all of the Harry Potter books that include Voldemort, and A Bug's Life, all smashed into one big misadventure that pales in comparison to Besson's better-known works.
Arthur and the Invisibles follows young Arthur (Freddie Highmore) on an adventure to the land of the Minimoys, tiny people living in harmony with nature while also living around the house and in the yard. In the first half the film takes place in real life, following Arthur who's living with his grandma (Mia Farrow) while his parents search for jobs in the city. When his home is at risk of being demolished, he sets off to find rubies that his grandfather had received while in Africa to use as payment and hid in the yard, and thus begins his adventure into the 3D animated world of the Minimoys. Here he travels through the grasses in the yard and encounters the Evil M, whose throne is made of the precious rubies, and whom Arthur must battle to save the kingdom of the Minimoys from destruction.
Arthur and the Invisibles is an all around terrible misfortune of filmmaking. The plot during the live-action scenes is much too jumpy, snappy, and is constantly pushing itself to quickly get to the animation through oblivious and conspicuous devices. Once it finally does get to the animation, it's even worse. I'm not sure whether the animated portion was translated poorly or edited poorly, but all the dialogue in the animated story seems rushed - much too fast for any understandable conversations. Apparently the film was originally animated and recorded in French, and dubbed later into English, but with such a poor translation it's painful to even listen to.
This film is just a big mish-mash of Rastafarians and confusing disco fights, a henchman with sharp teeth but an innocuous lisp in his voice, and other ridiculous, drug-induced visuals and plot twists that only damage what little entertainment was being provided. The typically great Luc Besson has underachieved vastly with Arthur and the Invisibles and given us a poor quality, rushed, and hardly enjoyable film.