It tells the epic story of a small, lonely ladybug separated from her family by accident not long after hatching, trying to find her way in the harsh, scary world... Except the world is rather nice and pretty as anything. And full of interesting stuff humans left (we are the good sort of Neglectful Precursors, apparently). Like toys. Or sugar... Finding herself befriending a group of cute black ants who have procured a box of sugar on the site of an interrupted picnic, she ends up on an oddyssey of adventure on the way back to the anthill, including an encounter with their regular foes, the red ants. And the red ants really want this sugar for themselves. Cue a dramatic Ant War.
The theatrical budget allows the live-action/computer-animation world to become an utterly gorgeous movie, the lack of no spoken dialogue continuing and making the film an example of a modern Silent Film.
A sequel came out in 2019, titled Minuscule 2 : Les Mandibules du Bout du Monde (localized in English as Minuscule: Mandibles From Far Away).
Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants provides examples of:
- Ant War: The Siege, to be exact, with both sides using human "weapons" like bug spray and fireworks. And slingshots.
- Badass Adorable: The ladybug shall stop at nothing to help her ant friends.
- Carnivore Confusion: Most ladybugs in Real Life feed mostly on aphids. They sometimes eat berries, but definitely not by sucking them out.
- Chekhov's Gun: The matches.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Nice black ants (also notably cuter, with larger, rounder eyes) versus bad red ants.
- The Determinator: the red ants' squadron leader.
- The Faceless: Averted for humans in this film, we get a good look at the couple at the start whose leftover picnic serves as the spark of the plot.
- Flies Equals Evil: A petty, bullying sort of it.
- The Four Loves: Seems the main motivation for the friendly ladybug.
- Good Animals, Evil Animals: Most are nice, but beware the red ants.
- Haunted House: The spider's doll house really comes up like one, at first.
- Insect Queen: Black ants have a motherly queen surrounded by green... critters (aphids?). The red queen has God Save Us from the Queen! vibes around her.
- MacGuffin: Box of sugar cubes, apparently irresistible to ants.
- Maternity Crisis: The picnicing human couple at the start end up hastily leaving their food behind when the pregnant woman starts going into labor.
- Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: Cartoon mixed with live movie, but even the human couple in the opening scene communicates purely in gesture. The insects buzz.
- The Movie: The series is done in the same no dialogue, animation blended with live material, Scenery Porn way.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The cutest insects ever!
- Running the Blockade: The blockade is insurmountable to ants, but ladybugs can fly, luckily.
- Sliding Scale of Animal Communication: All the insects communicate in buzzing, understandable to them, but not to us.
- Spiders Are Scary: Subverted Trope — the spider's a cute, curious and helpful soul.
- Stock Animal Diet: Ants raid the sugar, but the ladybird seems to prefer berries.
- Strong Ants: They have no trouble carring an entire (tin) box of sugar, about the size of a lunchbox.
- War for Fun and Profit: The red ants really want this sugar. Apart from being generally not-nice.
Minuscule: Mandibles From Far Away provides examples of:
- Humans Are Bastards: Human construction activity becomes a significant danger to the insect characters this time around.
- Human Mail: This is how the main ladybug character ends up in Central America in the first place.
- Wacky Sound Effects: Though not necessarily wacky, the mantis's actions are given mechanical sounds, evoking the feeling of a fierce, dangerous robot hunter.
- Vacation Episode: The film's action takes place in the Caribbean