This is a bit of a special movie for me. Back when I made my first convention trip to London, this animation movie by Luc Besson had just been released and I went to watch it with a good ladyfriend there.
A fantastic line-up of voice cast (Madonna, DeNiro, SnoopDogg, the late David Bowie), this film is part film, part animation movie.
In the year 1960, protagonist Arthur lives with his grandmother Daisy
in a quiet farm house on a dirt road, in a small rural community in Northeastern Connecticut (based on Sterling).
His grandfather Archibald has recently gone missing and he sees little
of his parents (who are away looking for work). Daisy entertains Arthur
with stories of his grandfather's adventures in Africa, featuring the
tall Bogo Matassalai and the minuscule Minimoys, of whom the latter now
live in Archibald's garden, protecting a collection of rubies. Arthur
becomes enamoured of a picture of Selenia, the princess of the Minimoys.
When Daisy receives a two-day deadline to pay a large sum of money to a
building developer named Ernest Davido, who plans to evict the two,
Arthur looks for the rubies to pay off the debt, and discovers various
clues left by his grandfather. He is met in the garden by the Bogo
Matassala, who reduce Arthur to Minimoy size. From the Minimoys, Arthur
learns that they are in danger from Maltazard, a Minimoy war hero who
now rules the nearby 'Necropolis', after corruption by a weevil, by whom he has a son named Darkos.
Arthur, reflecting his legendary British namesake,
draws a sacred sword from its recess and uses it to protect the
Minimoys from Maltazard's soldiers; whereupon Sifrat, the ruler of the
Minimoys, sends Arthur to Necropolis, with the princess Selenia and her
brother Betameche. En route, they are attacked on two occasions
by Maltazard's soldiers. In Necropolis, Selenia kisses Arthur, marking
him as her husband and potential successor, and confronts Maltazard
alone. When Maltazard learns that she has already kissed Arthur and thus
can no longer give him her powers and cure his corruption, he imprisons
all three, who discover a Minimoy form of Archibald. Thereafter Arthur
and his grandfather escape and return to human form, with little time to
spare before Maltazard's flood reaches the Minimoys. With the help of
Mino, a royal advisor's long-lost son, Arthur redirects the flood to
Necropolis; whereupon Maltazard abandons Necropolis and his son, and the
water ejects the rubies above ground. Archibald pays Davido with one
ruby; and when he tries to take them all, the Bogo Matassalai capture
him and give him to the authorities (scene deleted in the U.S. edition).
The film ends with Arthur asking Selenia to wait for his return, and
her agreement to do so.
This film internationally was a bit on two legs, a bit like Pacific Rim was a few years ago. it fell through in the United States, yet was highly succesfull in Europe, warranting two sequels.
This is because the US version was heavily edited and cut short by about 10 minutes. The UK version was only slightly different, while the rest of the world got the `regular` version, and this is really not as bad as the US critics made it look.
No, this is a classic and traditional, though enjoyable to watch story of a kid going on an adventure, save a kingdom and fall in love along the way. A nice sunday afternoon film in other words!
Rating: 6.5 / 10
Miniature Wargames Issue 416
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