Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Arthur and the Great Adventure (2009) Kids' film with a Luc Besson spark

Viewing context:
Took Corey down on a Saturday morning. We hadn't seen the first film to which this is a sequel, nor had I read anything about it, so I was going in pretty blind

Directed by one of my favourite people in cinema: Luc Besson, who has a hand in pretty much anything that has action in it and is any good, including Fifth Element, Ronin, Leon, The Transporter films, The Taxi films, and the District 13 films. I didn’t have a clue about him having anything to do with this (as I said, I went in pretty blind) until the credits rolled. Besson also wrote the film along with the writer of the book on which it is based.

What Happened:
Some kid wants to go visit the tiny little pixie-like creatures that live in the garden. This is a sequel and Arthur (Freddie Highmore) has already been acquainted with all these little fellas and is very much looking forward to being reacquainted with the beautiful princess Selinia. The thing is though, if Arthur can get small and go visit the little people world, then the sinister Emperor Maltazard, apparent lord of the underworld reckons on that he can get big and enter the real world.

Pretty basic reinforcement of good vs evil, along with the ‘leave the natural world alone, it is beautiful’ sort of eco-message. But the more subtle touches were the father/son acceptance themes, as Arthur’s parents were so distant from him; not terribly parents or anything, just didn’t get him. In this absence, the boy develops a solid bond with his grandfather, a theme that seems quite prominent in children’s narrative (most notable at the minute being Ben 10). What added a little more depth to this relationship is how there was a mirror version of it going on with the antogonists as the loutish, loveably naive brute Darkos is constantly seeking approval from his maniachal father Maltazard.

What it did particularly well:
Wonderfully adventurous and whimsical family adventure film. Loved the mix of CGI garden world, real life house world and the combination of the two as the film progressed. A nice visual way to emphasise the differnece between the two worlds.
Really interesting, fleshed out and charismatic villains. Not only were they everything that villains should be, but as mentioned above, they really added to the depth of the father figure/acceptance themes running throughout.

Unimpressed or didn't quite reach potential:
There really were elements that made it seem like it had beeen hurridly adapted from a book or that it scratchily referenced the previous film. There were tiny inconstencies, but they were all completely forgiven due to it's ability to capture a really adventurous spirit.

Performance of the film:
Once again, gotta go with the villain, Lou Reed as Maltazar

Scene of the film:
All the monster things wreaking havok in the ‘human world’

Final Word:
Great sense of adventure and whimsical, epic childrens’ storytelling. Corey loved it.

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