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Arthur and the Invisibles Review

Published January 12, 2007 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of The Weinstein Company.
Arthur and the Invisibles Poster Arthur and the Invisibles
Usually when a movie bookends animation with live-action segments, it feels really cheap. You know they couldn't afford to do all of James and the Giant Peach in stop motion, so they just did annoying live action bookends. But Arthur and the Invisibles actually makes it work.

Review: Arthur and the Invisibles


Arthur (Freddie Highmore) lives with his grandmother (Mia Farrow) who tells him stories about his explorer grandfather and his hidden gold. When developers come to collect on the house, Arthur seeks the hidden treasure of grandpa's stories and enters an animated fantasy world of small underground creatures that are invisible to human eyes.

So, there's surely less than an hour of CGI in a movie under 90 minutes, but the buildup actually feels appropriate. Arthur has several real-world contraptions that show childlike inventiveness and provide cartoonish entertainment. The actual transition into animation is pretty cool.

The animated portion looks like it was done in French, because the English voices don't match the lips. It's fine, because there's so much going on, you're not really paying attention to the mouths anyway.


The underground world is full of action with enemies attacking the cute creatures. There's good strategy in using cute creatures to disarm the scary ones and turning their massive strengths against them. The quest for the treasure spans a beautiful garden world that's more impressive than Honey I Shrunk the Kids and continues to provide exciting perils, from a river of water drops to a fight on a turntable in a DJ's club.

The characters are wonderful. They look like a cross between anime and Jim Henson puppets. Fortunately, they look nothing like Pixar, PDI, Sony Animation or any of the other talking animal companies. They move in a hyper, heightened way and speak maturely. The heroine has a civil conversation with the villain and the henchmen use businesslike sarcasm going about their daily evil.

The film makes up plenty of words that should keep the Harry Potter crowd happy. I couldn't begin to repeat the mythology but it serves its purpose, to take us through a world of creativity.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of The Weinstein Company.
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