Arthur and the Invisibles (3 stars)

(U) 93min

If Luc Besson (The Big Blue, Leon) is to be believed, this, his tenth film, will also be his last as director. In adapting his own children’s book, Besson mixes live-action and CGI animation with decidedly patchy results. It’s heavy on style but light on originality.

Arthur (Freddie Highmore from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Good Year) is worried that his grandmother (Mia Farrow, going through the motions) is about to lose her house. The only way he can save the house from being repossessed is to find his long lost grandfather and missing treasure in the back garden. In the garden he stumbles across a portal to the land of the Minemoys, where little clean cut Freddy becomes a spunky cartoon teen. He is soon the object of affection of Princess Selina (voiced by Madonna) and together they must defeat an evil wizard.

The all-star voiceover cast includes Robert De Niro, Emilio Estevez, Chazz Palminteri and Harvey Keitel, but, bizarrely, Besson misses a trick in not getting the cartoon characters except David Bowie as the evil wizard reflect the actor’s on-screen personas. Strangely, for a feature animation aimed at a younger audience, Arthur and the Invisibles is most entertaining in its live-action sequences.

General release from Fri 2 Feb.

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Arthur and the Invisibles

  • 3 stars
  • 2007
  • France
  • 1h 33min
  • U
  • Directed by: Luc Besson
  • Written by: Luc Besson, Céline Garcia
  • Cast: Freddie Highmore, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, David Bowie, Ron Crawford, Robert De Niro, Jason Bateman, Jimmy Fallon, Mia Farrow, Anthony Anderson

In an adaptation of his own children's book, Besson mixes live-action and CGI animation with patchy results. Arthur (Highmore) embarks on a quest to save grandmother's (Farrow) house, complete with troll-like Minemoys, an evil wizard and saucy princess. Most entertaining in its live-action sequences, it's heavy on style…