Arthur and the Invisibles : 1 & ½ Stars (out of 5)
Slow and steady wins the race. Take your time. Both maxims make for sound advice that Luc Besson obviously chucked out the window when he made Arthur and the Invisibles, a computer animated/live action movie that wasn’t anything to shit yourself over in the first place; but thanks to its gratuitous usage of quick pacing, is ensured to not become a family classic.
Based on Besson’s book, Arthur is about a boy named, uh . . . Arthur who has to shrink to the size of a piece of sand so that he might find his Grandfather’s lost rubies in the backyard. This is the point where we go from watching a poor live action film to watching a poor computer animated film. After getting all bit-size, Arthur meets a wonderful race of tiny people who’s voices sound like Madonna and Jimmy Fallon, who gladly help him to in his quest.
The film’s largest weakness lies in its pacing. The film feels like it’s playing at double or triple speed at some points, like the projector behind you was somehow left on ‘fast-forward.’ The technique worked for Besson in his previous film The Fifth Element; but that was an insane, futuristic action film where the world around Bruce Willis was going a hundred miles a minute. Arthur and the Invisibles, on the other hand, is an animated children’s movie that’s supposed give kids a fantastical escape to the mystery of a backyard, it’s not supposed to give them ADD.
And it’s too bad. The curse of the pacing takes away from the wealth of a diverse and A-Lister cast (minus that whole ‘Jimmy Fallon’ thing,) and the look of the film is a nice treat for the eyes.
Live action sequences are shot with enough color to fill a box of Crayolas, and the CG scenes, animated in Europe, have a sort of detailed complexity you don’t see in your average Pixar film. You could compare the look of the film by calling it the relative Labrynth of computer animation. Hey, it even has Bowie.
I have to say, I was genuinely excited to see a children’s movie by Luc Besson. The guy’s got an awesome amount of style of up his Frenchie sleeve – an attribute often found missing in family movies. But the film goes so fast, with a new shot every tenth of a second or so, that it feels like the projector isn’t projecting the film quite so much has it is vomiting it onto the screen. Why should you pay eight bucks for that?