Despite missing his galavanting parents, 10-year-old Arthur (Freddie Highmore) leads an almost perfect existence with his grandmother (Mia Farrow). Granny, on the other hand, is feeling a little down. Arthur’s grandfather, you see, disappeared some time ago after venturing to the bottom of the garden in search of buried treasure – as you do. And now the bailiffs have arrived to repossess the house. Only one thing for it: Arthur must unravel grandad’s easy-to-decipher clues, meet a group of African tribesmen and, with the aid of a telescope, be reduced to the size of an ant so that he can save a community of silly-looking underground elves from the clutches of David Bowie’s evil Maltazard. Only then will Arthur find the hidden rubies, pay off the repossessors and live happily ever after. Luc Besson’s half-baked live-action/animated fantasy looks like it was invented on the hoof: it’s erratically plotted, poorly animated, overly derivative and too insufferably cute to interest anyone above undemanding toddler age – or perhaps those stoners familiar with Roger Dean’s LP covers of the ’70s.
Friday February 2 2007
Luc Besson, Céline Garcia