Bil’s rating (out of 5): B. France, 2006. EuropaCorp, Avalanche Productions, Canal+, Sofica Europacorp. Created by Patrice Garcia, Georges Bouchelagem, Philippe Rouchier, Nicolas Fructus,Screenplay by Celine Garcia, Luc Besson, based on the book by Luc Besson. Cinematography by Thierry Arbogast. Produced by Luc Besson. Music by Eric Serra. Production Design by Hugues Tissandier. Costume Design by Olivier Beriot. Film Editing by Karim Benhammouda, Yann Herve, Vincent Tabaillon.
One of the worst animated children’s film to be foisted upon the innocent young since Quest For Camelot. Freddie Highmore preens and prances big eyes and an insincere smile as a young boy living with his grandmother (Mia Farrow, who provides the film’s only genuine warmth) while his parents look to find work in the big city. His grandfather, an explorer of sorts who used to regale the child with his stories of Africa, has been missing for ages: Highmore suspects that he’s gone to be with the Minimoys, tiny elf-like creatures who live in the garden and know the whereabouts of his grandfather’s buried treasure. When a real estate developer comes along with the threat of taking over the family’s farm to build an apartment complex, Highmore decides to look for the Minimoys himself in order to find the treasure and save his grandmother’s home. Eventually he discovers their miniature world, becoming tiny himself and teaming up with the princess of the land (voiced amusingly by Madonna) to fight an evil bad guy (David Bowie) and find the pile of rubies that will save the day. The plotting is weak, devoid of any serious challenge or intensity, and the live-action scenes are tiresome and dull. By its end the film has completely failed to inspire any interest despite some nifty animation and a high-profile (but wasted) voice cast.