Arthur and the Invisibles (PG)

Animation 103 January 12, 2007
By Jean Oppenheimer
The wildly uneven French writer-director-producer Luc Besson has a fondness for life outside the margins of conventional society: the neon-lit labyrinths of the Paris Metro (Subway), the pristine depths of the ocean (The Big Blue). His latest finds him subterranean once again, this time in a fantastical universe where elves and fairies -- so small that they're invisible to human eyes -- live in harmony with nature. Adapted from his own series of children's books, this live-action/computer-animated hybrid follows 10-year-old Arthur (Freddie Highmore), who, in order to save the home he shares with his somewhat addled grandmother (Mia Farrow), must decipher his grandfather's diary. Following the clues, Arthur, now a 3-D animated figure sporting cool shades and spiked hair, enters the mythical Seven Kingdoms, where he joins forces with a sexy CGI princess (voiced by a delightfully unrecognizable Madonna) and her chubby, rubber troll of a brother (Jimmy Fallon) as they battle the evil Lord Malthazard (David Bowie) for buried treasure. Predictable and overly busy, this sci-fi adventure should nonetheless appeal to computer-game-savvy tots -- especially those familiar with the source material.
Luc Besson Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow, Penny Balfour, Doug Rand, Adam LeFevre, Jean Bejote Njamba, Serge Blumental, Madonna, Jimmy Fallon, Robert De Niro Luc Besson, Celine Garcia Luc Besson MGM


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