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Arthur and the Invisibles (DVD Review)

29 Apr, 2007 By: John Latchem

Street 5/15/07

Box Office $15.1 million
$28.95 DVD
Rated ‘PG' for fantasy action and brief suggestive material.
Stars Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow. Voices of Madonna, Jimmy Fallon, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Chazz Palminteri, Emilio Estevez, Snoop Dogg, Anthony Anderson, Jason Bateman, David Bowie, Rob Corddry, Nate Corddry.

Had he not already made The Fifth Element, the fantasy adventure Arthur and the Invisibles might be described as the most bizarre film in director Luc Besson's career.

The material must suit him, as there are reportedly two sequels in the works.

Set in 1960, the film follows a boy named Arthur (Highmore), whose adventure-loving grandfather, Archibald, has disappeared. Creditors threaten to foreclose on the family farm. The only hope is to find a cache of rubies Archibald brought home from an African safari.

Arthur follows the clues and discovers his grandfather also brought back a tribe of miniature people called Minimoys, who look like a cross between The Littles and Troll dolls. When Arthur makes contact, they shrink him and turn him into one of them. He learns his grandfather may have been captured by the supervillain Maltazard (Bowie).

Arthur joins Selenia (Madonna) and Betameche (Fallon) on a quest to recover the rubies and stop The Evil M's plan to destroy the Minimoys. Arthur becomes somewhat of a mythical figure among the Minimoys and finds himself attracted to Selenia, who is destined to one day rule her kingdom.

Making matters even more bizarre is that the Minimoys do not live in some parallel fantasy dimension, but Arthur's own backyard, and interact with actual objects left lying around.

The film is based on a series of children's books and deftly combines live action and animation to depict the vast underground kingdom. The plot doesn't make much sense, but the animated segments are lively, and the fantasy elements appeal to the imagination and should satisfy most youngsters.

It's really best not to dwell on some plot details, or the notion of romantic attraction between characters voiced by a 15-year-old boy and a 48-year-old woman.

The film is a French production, which may explain why the sparse bonus features focus on the voice talent assembled for the English-language version. There also are a couple of music videos.

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