Plot: What’s it about?
Arthur (Freddie Highmore) lives in the countryside with his grandmother (Mia Farrow), spending a lot of his time thinking about his grandfather and his adventures. His grandfather Archibald (Ron Crawford) traveled the dangerous lands of Africa, but he vanished four years back. While he might not be around, his journals are and within them are the stories of his adventures, complete with illustrations. Since his disappearance, Arthur’s grandmother has found herself in quite a bit of debt, so when a collector shows up, its no surprise. But this is no normal collector, instead its a developer who serves her papers that say she no longer owns the home. Of course, this is a severe problem and if she can’t pay off her debts soon, she will lose her home. Arthur knows from the journals that a treasure of rubies is close to the home, but its in a miniature world. Is this fantasy world written about in the journals true, or is Arthur wasting his time?
As frequent readers should know, I am an addict when it comes to computer animated features. But I do not like most movies that combine animation (computer or hand drawn) with live action elements. For every Who Framed Roger Rabbit? there are a handful or more of miserable attempts, so the ratio isn’t that impressive. Arthur and the Invisibles tries to buck that trend, but even with Luc Besson in the director’s chair, could it make the concept work? I have to admit, the movie succeeds and creates a world in which animation and live action work hand in hand. When it comes to the cast, we have an impressive and eclectic talent lineup, with David Bowie, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Robert De Niro, Mia Farrow, Jason Bateman, and others. But the best cast still needs a good story and Arthur delivers in that department. The story is good enough to draw us in and the pace is quick, but not rushed. I wouldn’t rank this with the best animated features of all time, but Arthur and the Invisibles is solid entertainment. So if you’re looking for family friendly fun, then this release is recommended.
Video: How does it look?
Arthur and the Invisibles is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie is about half and half, as far as animation and live action, but neither side is mishandled. The live action scenes show good detail, as well as accurate colors and contrast, with no problems to mention. As for the animation, it looks good as well, very bright and colorful, rich with detail. I wouldn’t call this an eye opening transfer, as we’ve seen more impressive ones, but the movie still looks terrific.
Audio: How does it sound?
This movie isn’t loaded with dynamic audio potential, but the included Dolby Digital 5.1 option is quite good. As I said before, the movie lacks the kind of sound design to take full advantage of a lavish home theater, but for what we do have here, it couldn’t sound much better. The action scenes have a rich, full presence and from the vocals to the music, all the elements sound terrific. The audio is calmer in most other scenes, aside from some sparks of life in those more action driven sequences. This disc also includes subtitles in English and Spanish
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a brief look behind the scenes, music videos from Jewel and Elijah, and the film’s theatrical trailer.