Arthur & The Great Adventure
Review by Jack Foley
LUC Besson’s Arthur & The Great Adventure is the second in his part-animated, part live action family movies but sadly there’s nothing really great to recommend it.
The film fails to compare favourably with other big screen family adventures and is both poorly scripted and flatly directed. If anything, it carries the unwanted feel of a children’s morning TV programme stretched to a pointlessly long running time.
The story once again follows the young Arthur (played by Freddie Highmore) as he is tricked back to the land of the Minimoys, the miniature people who live in his back yard, so that his nemesis Maltazard (voiced by Lou Reed) can use the gateway he opens to venture into the real world, assume giant size and wreak havoc.
Arthur, meanwhile, must find his own way back to the real world so that he can prevent Maltazard from taking over.
There are times, admittedly, when Besson’s film threatens to display the same kind of wild imagination that marks his more adult-orientated feature films (the opening animated sequence, in particular, suggests hope). But his film quickly runs out of steam amid flimsy characterisation and animated sequences that fail to measure up to the opening segment.
The biggest fascination thereafter is in trying to guess how Besson was able to lure actors of the quality of Highmore and Mia Farrow to the project, as well as a voice cast packed full of music icons from Reed and Iggy Pop to Snoop Dogg and The Black Eyed Peas.
Sadly, not even the presence of some charismatic performers can enliven proceedings, as the film plays self consciously to the very young and easily pleased. It remains to be seen on the strength of this poor outing whether Arthur will be able to complete his trilogy.
One kind of hopes not!
Running time: 101mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: May 2, 2011