By Fred Topel | Images property of The Weinstein Company.
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
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.