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Film: Arthur and the Invisibles

Arthur and the Invisibles (or Arthur and the Minimoys in non-anglophone territories) is a part-animated, part-live action feature film adaptation of the 2002 children's book Arthur et les Minimoys, and the 2003 sequel novel Arthur et la Cité Interdite, which had been written by filmmaker Luc Besson, who also directed the film. Released on November 29, 2006, in France; December 29, 2006, in North America, and February 2, 2007, in the United Kingdom. With a budget of €65 million, Arthur and the Invisibles was briefly the most expensive French film production until surpassed by Astérix at the Olympic Games.

The story occurs in 1960. Ten-year-old Arthur is living with his grandmother in a quiet country house. His grandfather Archibald has recently gone missing and Arthur sees little of his parents. His grandmother entertains him by reading stories to him of his grandfather's adventures in Africa. One of these stories is about the friendship of the tall, Masai-like tribe called the Bogo Matassalai with the Minimoys, tooth-sized, elfin beings whom they believe to be their counterparts. Arthur eventually encounters a tribe of Minimoys nearby, aiding them in their attempts to thwart a threat poised to destroy them.

A sequel film, Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard, was produced and received limited release in 2009. Its story directly led into the third and final installment, Arthur and the War of the Two Worlds, in 2010. These are based on the third and fourth books in the series, Arthur et la vengeance de Maltazard and Arthur et la guerre des deux mondes.

Arthur and the Invisibles provides examples of:

  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The second film has "Uh Uh" by Imalu as its Japanese theme song.
  • Anachronism Stew: Can someone explain why "Stayin' Alive," "Let's Dance" and "Theme From S'Express" (from 1977, 1983 and 1989 respectively) are heard in a movie set in 1960?
  • Beneath the Earth/Mouse World: The village of the Minimoys. It's known that there are other tiny sentient humanoid creatures, but it is unknown what the scale of their societies truly is.
  • Bowdlerization: The North American release cut out all of the "questionable" content, including some important plot points, leaving several egregious jump cuts.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Numerous; particularly, the vial on the bookshelf.
    • Chekhov's Gunman: The bee from the beginning of the second movie later helps Arthur earn the trust of the Queen Bee.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: It appears that knowledge of Minimoys leaves people incapable of shutting up about them; as such, Arthur and his grandfather look like this to outside observers.
  • Completely Different Title: The French vs. English-language title.
  • Deus ex Machina: Betameche's... thing seems to have whatever functionality is necessary for the plot to continue.
  • Disneyfication: The North American version. A critical failure (as opposed to the French and UK versions, which became international hits) due to rampant Bowdlerization.
  • Down the Drain: Rare non-Video Game example in the third movie.
  • Faux Action Girl: Despite being extremely athletic and proficient with a sword, Selenia usually spends most fight scenes waiting for Arthur to save the day, which leads to the implication that the writers didn't care enough to let a woman save the day.
    • She did help save the day (together with Betameche) using a bee and a magic elixir to shrink Maltazard in the third movie.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: A particularly G-rated example; the evil M will spend the last of his days trapped in a glass jar, taunted by tiny slices of chocolate pie every Sunday until he starves to death.
  • Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: Davido
  • Fiery Redhead: Selenia
  • Instant Expert: Arthur and Darko at driving. After all, it "can't be any harder than driving a [bug]", never mind that a car's controls would be completely different from that of an insect.
  • Irony: Arthur's dad decides to take a stand and have an active role in his son's life and safety, starting with exterminating a nearby beehive so Arthur's bee allergy is never triggered. If he would have succeeded, he would have killed Arthur as well.
  • Jerkass: In the director's cut, Arthur's parents care more about buried treasure than him and are racist to boot.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Selenia is downright disagreeable in the first and third movie, but deep down cares deeply about Arthur.
  • The Lost Woods: The huge forest near Arthur's Grandparent's house.
  • Magical Negro: Bogo-Matassalai, a tribe of them. Many people believe that their presence counts as Unfortunate Implications.
  • May-December Romance: The film has been accused of this because of the fact Arthur, when not miniaturized, is only about 11 or 12, yet carries on a romance with the considerably more mature Selenia — who was voiced by Madonna of all people in the original film. For the sequels, the more age-appropriate Selena Gomez performed the voice. As for the facts of the case, the film establishes that Selenia and Arthur are actually close to the same age (Minimoys, presumably, er, mature "faster").
  • Ms. Fanservice: Selenia, big time (even more so in the non-Americanized original and the sequels)
  • Painful Transformation: Arthur's conversion in the second movie. He's tied up in vines and squeezed into tree sap.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Betameche
  • Really 700 Years Old: At one point it is mentioned that Selenia is 1000. This is glossed over by the time she enters her relationship with Arthur. All of them are incredibly old, though- 300 is considered young.
    • This more because 1000 Minimoy years are actually 10 regular years.
  • Running Gag: "It can't be any more complicated than driving/flying a _"
  • Saving the Orphanage
  • The Scottish Trope: The main villain is commonly identified as simply "M" or "The Evil M".
  • Shout-Out: The second and third films are rife with pop culture references, including a disguised Darkos meeting a young George Lucas and serving as the inspiration for Darth Vader.
    • Actually, with an inversion: "He is my father!"
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Arthur and Selenia can only meet once every ten moons.
  • Tsun Dere: Selenia is type A.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: The sequels. In the U.K., they were edited together into one film (Arthur and the Great Adventure), while the U.S. packaged them strictly as a two-pack on DVD. Particularly egregious considering the second movie is pretty much filler and the establishment of Chekhov's guns, and only exists for the sake of setting up the third.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Darkos desperately wants his father to love him, but Maltazard never will because his mother is the result of his banishment.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Them: Maltazard lets Arthur and the other main characters go into the tunnel instead of killing them. Guess what happens.

AquamarineFilms of 2005 - 2009 Art School Confidential

alternative title(s): Arthur And The Minimoys; Arthur And The Invisibles
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