Follow TV Tropes


Film / Arthur and the Invisibles

Go To

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 it was surpassed by Asterix 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.

7 years after the end of the trilogy, a short lived All-CGI Cartoon adaptation produced by Studio 100 was released.

And another 5 years later, a Darker and Edgier meta spin-off to the films was released in June 29 in France called Arthur: The Curse, produced by Besson.

Arthur and the Invisibles provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: In the Norwegian dub, Evil M is referred to as "Motbydelige M". The word motbydelige actually means "disgusting" rather than evil, which would be "onde".
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The second film has "Uh Uh" by Imalu as its Japanese theme song.
  • America Saves the Day: Malthazard's army is easily defeated by the US Army.
  • Anachronistic Soundtrack: Can someone explain why "Stayin' Alive," "Let's Dance", "Theme From S'Express", and "Disco Science" (from 1977, 1983, 1989, and 2000 respectively) are heard in a movie set in 1960?
  • And I Must Scream: Maltazard is literally rotting to death due to having his Sacred First Kiss stolen by a venomous insect, leaving him in horrible pain and doomed to die unless he takes Selenia's first kiss in turn.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Maltazard lets Arthur and the other main characters go into the tunnel instead of killing them. Guess what happens.
  • Bowdlerization: The Weinstein release cut out all of the "questionable" content, including some important plot points, leaving several egregious jump cuts. This to the point where the entire romance between Selenia and Arthur is completely taken out, making her sudden attraction to him at the last minutes seem to come out of nowhere.
  • Bumbling Dad: Armand can be this at times.
  • 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: 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.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Malthazard easily defeats the town with his army because the town valued safety and happiness so were not capable of defending themselves from such an attack. However Malthazard is on the receiving end of such a battle once the US Army appears and wipes them out in minutes.
  • Date Rape: G-rated version. Malthazard claims he was extremely drunk and didn't consent to the kiss with the insect that left him rotting alive. Selenia has little sympathy for him, saying he shouldn't have gotten so drunk as to have been taken advantage of in the first place.
  • Deus ex Machina: Betameche's... thing seems to have whatever functionality is necessary for the plot to continue.
  • Disneyfication: The Weinstein version. A critical failure (as opposed to the original French version, which became an international hit) due to rampant Bowdlerization.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The reason for Malthazar's disease and deformation is because he gave his powers to a venomous insect while she did the same via a kiss, but the way it's explained makes it sound like a G-Rated STD.
    Malthazar: Yes, I know, I let myself go a bit. And it's true she stole a kiss from me, one single kiss, which has ruined my entire life.
    Selenia: Next time, try being a little more selective in your choice of partners.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: G-Rated Sex version. Malthazard is attempting to steal Selenia's Sacred First Kiss to use her powers to heal himself, which is understandably portrayed as a bad thing. But when Malthazard explains his backstory and how his Sacred First Kiss was stolen from him when he was too drunk to consent to it, leaving him literally rotting alive in the aftermath, Selenia expresses no sympathy for him, saying it was his fault for being so drunk he could be taken advantage of.
  • Down the Drain: Rare non-Video Game example in the third movie.
  • The Dragon: Darkos for his father, Malthazard.
  • Dumb Muscle: Darkos.
  • Failed a Spot Check: So they are gonna climb down, and Arthur takes the lace Selenia's top is held up with as Betameche says he has no rope. Which makes her cover herself. Later they have a rope from the very item he claimed that doesn't have a rope, so she never really had to embarrass herself. Why didn't they really check if they had a rope first?
  • 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. 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. Might have something to do with her French voice actress, Mylene Farmer.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Darkos becomes good after he realizes his father doesn't care about him and Arthur saved him.
  • Inevitable Waterfall:
    • The heroes lands in a stream in a half-nutshell, and naturally there's a waterfall ahead. Made more dangerous by the fact than Minimoys can't swim. They escape thanks to Selenia's lace.
    • Happens again later when they are in a section of straw. This time they go down the waterfall, but are only a bit shaken.
  • Instant Expert: Arthur and Darkos 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.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Darkos gets injured in a lot of comedic ways in the third film.
  • 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 original French 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.
  • Karma Houdini: The unnamed venomous insect-woman that kicked off the plot by stealing Malthazard's Sacred First Kiss gets off scot-free after dooming him to his painful fate.
  • Love Before First Sight: Arthur immediately becomes enamoured with Princess Selenia after seeing her picture in his grandpa's old journals.
  • Magical Negro: Bogo-Matassalai, a tribe of them.
  • May–December Romance: Arthur, who's only 10, ends up in a relationship with the 1000 year old Selenia.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Arthur is originally off put to his feelings for Selina after he hears she is 1000 years old and he is only 10. However later she tells him that Minimoy years are set by the development of the Royal Flower, making her around the same age as Arthur in human years.
  • 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.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Selenia, big time (even more so in the non-Weinstein original and the sequels). Might have something to do with her being voiced by Mylene Farmer in France, as she is a huge sex symbol over there. She's voiced by Madonna in the English version.
  • Nice Guy: Arthur is a very kind sweet kid who usually does whatever he can to help others. He is even polite to Malthazar and saved a bee from a trap despite being heavily allergic.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Invoked with the Ferrymen, with each one complaining about the fact the only reason they took the job they are assigned to was because they expected to do absolutely no work.
  • Painful Transformation: Arthur's conversion in the second movie. He's tied up in vines and squeezed into tree sap. It is specifically stated that this has a high chance of being lethal and the telescope was created to be a much safer way. The vines though are still used as a last resort.
  • Patriotic Fervor: There is constant American flags in the third film and Malthazard's army is easily defeated by the US Army.
  • Product Placement: McDonald's makes a appearance in the second and third film.
  • 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.
  • Re-Cut: For their UK release, Revenge of Maltazard and War of the Two Worlds were trimmed down and edited into one movie titled Arthur and the Great Adventure.
  • Running Gag: "It can't be any more complicated than driving/flying a _"
  • Sacred First Kiss: The Minimoys' first kiss seals them into a marriage pact where they give each other some of their powers.
  • The Scottish Trope: The main villain is commonly identified as simply "M" or "The Evil M".
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the first film, while dance-fighting Malthazard's minions, Betameche does the Batusi.
    • 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!"
  • Spikes of Villainy: Darkos has plenty over his armor.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Arthur and Selenia can only meet once every ten moons.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Despite being really tall tribal men, the Bogo-Matassalai seem to be able to suddenly appear behind anyone at any time.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Minimoys can't swim and are utterly terrified of large bodies of water.
  • Tsundere: Selenia is type A.
  • Totem Pole Trench: A weird case — the Minimoy King at first appears as an imposing figure (for 2 mm-tall characters, at least), but it's soon revealed he's no taller than the average Minimoy, but riding on top of a Yeti-like humanoid with another ferret-like creature standing in for a long beard and hiding the King's body.
  • 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.
  • Wallpaper Camouflage: The Bogo-Matassalai do this to get the jump on Maltazard but fail.
  • "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.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Arthur is much smarter and mature than the average 10-year-old.
  • Younger Than They Look: Selenia looks to be around 16 despite being around 10 in human years.