Arthur and the Minimoys

Infobox Film
name = Arthur and the Minimoys

caption =
director = Luc Besson
producer = Luc Besson
Emmanuel Prévost
writer = Luc Besson
Céline Garcia
("the universe of")

narrator =
starring = Freddie Highmore
David Bowie
Snoop Dogg
Mia Farrow
music = Éric Serra
cinematography = Thierry Arbogast
editing =
distributor = EuropaCorp
The Weinstein Company
released = France:
November 29, 2006
United States:
January 12, 2007
runtime = 103 min 94 min (USA)
country = France
language = English
budget = €65,000,000 ($86,000,000)
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id = 1:327356
imdb_id = 0344854

"Arthur and the Minimoys" ("Arthur and the Invisibles" in English-speaking territories) is a part-animated, part-live action feature film adaptation of the same-name, 2002 children's book and the 2003 sequel "Arthur et la cité interdite" / "Arthur and the Forbidden City" by filmmaker Luc Besson, who also directed the film. It premiered in limited release in France on November 29, 2006, and received wide releases in a number of countries in the following weeks. In the U.S., it opened on December 29, 2006, for one week in Los Angeles, California, with a wider release on January 12, 2007 (February 2, 2007 in the UK). [ [ Official site] and [ "Arthur and the Invisibles"] ] The film was MGM's first theatrically released animated film since 1996's "All Dogs Go to Heaven 2".

With a budget of 65,000,000, Arthur and the Minimoys was the most expensive French film production until "Asterix at the Olympic Games". [ [ "French Director Visits China for Film Release" (reprinted from "People's Daily", Jan. 12, 2007)] ]


10-year-old Arthur is living with his grandmother in a quiet country house. His grandfather has recently gone missing and he sees little of his parents. His grandmother entertains him by reading stories to him. One of these stories is about the friendship of the tall, Masai-like tribals called Bogomatassalai with the Minimoystooth-sized, elfin beings living underground in the garden of his grandparents' house. According to these stories, the Minimoys hold a treasure of rubies given by the Bogomatassalai to Arthur's grandfather in gratitude for his help. Arthur has become enamoured of a picture of Selenia, princess of the Minimoys.

Arthur's grandmother has been given a two-day deadline to pay a large sum of money to a building developer named Davido, who has bought up her mortgage from the bank and plans to evict the two. Arthur takes it upon himself to find the rubies in order to pay off the debt. After stumbling across various clues written a few years previously by his grandfather, Arthur manages to find the key to the Minimoys' world. He is met in the garden by the "Bogomatassalai", who show Arthur how to get into the Minimoys' world by way of shrinking down to their size. This is done by means of a telescope and the power of a shining full moon. When Arthur is underground with the Minimoys, he learns of a danger to the little people's future, posed by the plans of Maltazard, the leader of an army of mosquito-riding rebels named Seides living in nearby "Necropolis", who plan to conquer the Minimoys by flooding their city. Maltazard was once a Minimoy himself; a war hero corrupted by a seductive weevil, by whom he has a son called Darkos. After his corruption, Maltazard became a warlord known as the "Evil M". Arthur's grandfather is his prisoner, and the rubies form his throne.

Arthur, in a moment reflecting his legendary British namesake, draws a sacred sword from its recess, which he then uses to protect his new friends from Malthazar's soldiers. The king gives permission for Arthur to travel to Necropolis, sending with him the princess Selenia and her younger brother. Armed with Arthur's new sword – the use of which they share – the trio embark. "En route" to Necropolis, they are numerous times put in danger by Maltazard's soldiers, who are making plans for the coming flood. During their travel Selenia reveals that at her age (which corresponds to Arthur's, though not counted on the same numerical system), she must find a husband within two days.

Eventually, the questors arrive in Necropolis, where the stubbornly independent Selenia takes the sword and leaves the others. Before doing so, she kisses Arthur, which as the first kiss of a princess marks Arthur as the future king. Selenia then confronts Maltazard alone. Maltazard wishes the first kiss of the princess to restore his original beauty; after learning she has already kissed Arthur and she can no longer give him her powers, he decides to kill her. She is captured and incarcerated in a cell where she finds her companions, who have also been seized. The kiss scene was cut in the U.S. version, and the order of the scenes was changed.

While in prison, they find Arthur's grandfather Archibald, who like his grandson after him has become a Minimoy. This transformation has altered the proportions of his body, giving him a larger head, thinner limbs, long ears, and broad extremities. He has been teaching his knowledge to Maltazard in exchange for food. Selenia feels defeated, but Arthur comforts her.

Maltazard allows them to escape 3 minutes ahead of the flood, which they do by using a clockwork car that Arthur, in his human form, recently possessed until Davido kicked it down the drain.

During the adventure, Arthur's infatuation of Selenia has been supplemented by comradeship, as well as by her own affection for him. When Arthur learns of a Minimoy custom stating that newlyweds should not kiss for the second time until after ten moons, Selenia decides she does not wish to wait and gives Arthur a long, passionate kiss before he returns to his human form. He now has an hour wherein to save the Minimoys from the flood. Archibald also returns with him and is reunited with Arthur's grandmother.

With the help of a royal advisor's long-lost son, Miro, Arthur, in human form, is able to prevent the flood from destroying the Minimoys, redirecting it to Necropolis instead by dropping a ball into Necropolis, smashing the straws they were using to direct the water and blocking the tunnel it was heading through, flooding Necropolis. Maltazard abandons the plan, his army, and his son, and flees. The force of the water ejects the rubies and Mino who was in Maltazard's throne and Arthur returns him home by inserting a straw into the Minimoy home and sending him through it.

Arthur and Archibald pay Davido with one ruby; he tries to take all, but the Bogomatassalai capture him and give him to the authorities (scene cut in the U.S. edition).

The story closes with the vows spoken by Arthur in his human form to Selenia, who sits in a tree, to wait patiently until the time is right for them to be together.

The ending credits then proceed, alongside scenes of every significant character (as well as the director, Luc Besson) appearing in Minimoy form to take a bow.


The film was budgeted at €65,000,000/US$86 million. [ "Arthur and the Invisibles"] ] By Boxing Day, "Arthur" earned over US$20 million in France alone..

In the United States, the movie's Los Angeles run garnered 20% positive reviews at the critics-aggregate site [ [ "Arthur and the Invisibles"] ] "Los Angeles Times" reviewer Alex Chun wrote that, "Director Luc Besson admits he knew nothing about animation before he started this project, and it shows". [ [,0,238109 "Los Angeles Times" (Dec. 29, 2006): "'Arthur and the Invisibles': A film with no shortage of well-known talent makes an awkward transition from live action to animation"] ] "Variety"'s Robert Koehler called it "alienating and dislikable" and specifically noted that, "Having African-American thesps Snoop Dogg and Anthony Anderson voice creatures that are basically humanoid monkeys shows poor taste". [ [ "Variety" (Dec. 21, 2006): "Arthur and the Invisibles" (review by Robert Koehler)] ] Many found it derivative of sources ranging from King Arthur's sword-in-the-stone to the films "The Dark Crystal" and "The Ant Bully", which itself was based on a children's book written three years before Besson's. "It all simply looks as if [conceptual artist Patrice] Garcia and Besson couldn't decide on any one thing to copy", said Frank Lovece of "Film Journal International", "so they copied them all". [ [" "Film Journal International" (posted online Dec. 29, 2006): "Arthur and the Invisibles" (review by Frank Lovece)] ] Lovece also noted that, "the whole thing gets seriously creepy when [the animated versions of] the grown-up, pinup-beauty princess and the 10-year-old boy fall for each other. Mary Kay Letourneau comes uncomfortably to mind".

Besson, in a May 2007 interview, blamed American distributor The Weinstein Company for the film's poor critical reception in the U.S., saying "Why the critics didn't like "Arthur" was because [Weinstein] changed so much of the film and tried to pretend the film was American. ... America and the UK were the only countries where the films were changed. The rest of the world has the same film as France". [cite web|url=|title=Luc Besson and Rie Rasmussen|accessdate=2007-05-27|last=Epstein|first=Daniel Robert|date=2007-05-18|publisher=SuicideGirls]


On February 1, 2007, the film received the Imagina Award in the category Prix du Long-Métrage. [ [ Imagina] ]

On October 1, 2007 Mylène Farmer was rewarded with an NRJ Ciné Award (category of best doubling) for the voice for Sélénia in "Arthur and the Minimoys". [ [,87527.html Nrj Ciné Awards 2007 ] ]

Production notes

The animation was done by the French company [BUF Compagnie] , which hired approximately 100 animators, most of them from French animation schools and without any previous experience. Besson wanted a photorealistic environment, and BUF initially used microlenses to film physical environments, but eventually instead used photogrammetry, where a digitized photograph of a real object is manipulated with a computer. Sets were built to 1:3 scale, which allowed the animators to use natural elements, such as plants and grass. While the film did not use motion capture, real actors were, however, used as reference, and recorded with 13 to 14 video cameras, but without the markers used in motion capture. Besson directed their performances. In terms of lip sync with actors' dialog, the French animators could not cope with the English phonemes. For Madonna and David Bowie, a camera was used to record their lips to help the animators. The animation was done with proprietary software. [ [ "Animation World Magazine" (January 12, 2007): "Arthur and the Invisibles": Luc Besson's Animated World" (review by Alain Bielik)] ]


German voices

* Bill Kauliz ("Tokio Hotel") - Arthur
* Nena Kerner - Princess Selenia
* Oliver Rohrbeck - Beta
* Dagmar Heller - Granny
* Gerhard Paul - Archibald
* Frank Glaubrecht - Maltazard
* Jan David Rönfeldt - Max
* Christian Brückner - King
* Engelbert von Nordhausen - Darkos
* Wilfried Herbst - Miro
* Michael Pan - Mino
* Tobias Meister - Easylow

English-language version

* Freddie Highmore - Arthur
* Mia Farrow - Arthur's Grandmother
* Penny Balfour - Arthur's Mother
* Doug Rand - Arthur's Father
* Ron Crawford - Archibald
* Adam LeFevre - Davido


* Madonna - Princess Selenia
* Jimmy Fallon - Betameche
* Robert De Niro - King
* Harvey Keitel - Miro
* Erik Per Sullivan -Mino
* Chazz Palminteri - The Travel Agent
* Emilio Estevez - Ferryman
* Snoop Dogg - Max
* Anthony Anderson - Koolomassai
* David Bowie - Malthazard
* Christian Erikson - Darkos

Original French-language version

*Barbara Kelsch : Arthur
*Mylène Farmer : Selenia
*Cartman : Bétamèche
*Alain Bashung : Malthazard
*Rohff : Max
*Marc Lavoine : Darkos
*Cut Killer : DJ Easy Low
*Jacques Frantz : The king
*Sergio Castellitto : Station manager
*Stomy Bugsy : Koolomassaï
*Serge Blumental : The electrician
*Dick Rivers : le passeur
*Barbara Weber-Scaff : Mino
*Doudou Masta : Maasai chief


Main characters

* Arthur: Arthur is the main protagonist. Arthur is 10-years-old and largely lives with his grandmother because his parents have little time to spend with him; a fact Arthur resents. One day, his grandfather mysteriously vanishes; Arthur is determined to find him and the treasure of the Minimoys so that he can pay off the unscrupulous debt-collectors who covet his grandmother's land.

* Princess Selenia: Selenia is the daughter of the King of the Minimoys. Despite appearing haughty and arrogant, she is an honourable and caring individual who is determined to protect her people from the evil of Malthazar. She has a somewhat antagonistic relationship with Arthur at first, believing him to be her inferior. However, after he draws the Sword of the Minimoys from the Stone, she comes to respect him. During their journey they fall in love. Selenia is a formidable fighter and possesses great, if unused intelligence.

* Prince Betameche: Betameche is Selenia's younger brother. Betameche is 300 years old, which is considered young for a Minimoy. He is a mischievous youth who enjoys teasing his egotistical elder sister.

* Emperor Malthazar: Malthazar, also known as Malthazar the Evil or Malthazar the Cursed is the corrupt emperor of the Forbidden City of Necropolis. With his army of minions, the Sades, he is determined to conquer the land of the Minimoys and claim the Princess Selenia as his queen. He possesses the treasure of the Minimoys and keeps it in his stronghold in Necropolis, where it forms his throne. Malthazar was once a noble warrior, but because of his pride and lust for power, he turned to the path of evil and betrayed his own people. Although the film refers to him as Maltazar, his name in the book was Malthazar and some film versions refer to him as Maltazard. He was corrupted to the path of evil by a seductive weevil; by her Maltazar fathers a boyish bully named Darkos.

Other characters

* Grandma: Arthur's long-suffering grandmother is a major character in the film and book. She possesses a dry sense of wit and is very protective of Arthur given the fact that his parents are not there most of the time on account of trying desperately to get new jobs in the wake of the Wall Street Crash. Her husband, Archibald, mysteriously disappeared a few years ago in search of the treasure of the Minimoys.

* Archibald: Arthur's grandfather, who mysteriously disappeared years ago during his quest for the Treasure of the Minimoys. The legal courts have declared him legally dead, but he is actually alive in the dungeons of Necropolis. He is a brilliant explorer and adventurer; traits evidently imitated or inherited by his grandson, Arthur. He teaches the Seides novelties in return for food during his incarceration in Malthazar's dungeons. He is known to the Minimoys as Archibald the Benevolent.

* The Maasai chief:

* Ernest Davido: A greedy landowner who presides over the multi-national Davido Corporation, which specializes in property development. Davido is determined to evict Arthur and his grandmother from their land so that he can demolish their home and build flats in their vacated land. He also hopes to obtain the rubies called the Treasure of the Minimoys, of which Archibald had told him during a moment of inebriation. Davido appears emotionally immature.

* Prince Darkos: Malthazar's vicious but dim-witted son. Darkos is the only survivor of seven children whom Malthazar sired through a union with a weevil. Malthazar takes advantage of his son's loyalty by bidding him remain behind when the flood enters Necropolis. In the film he has cat-like eyes, a mouth full of fangs, and speaks with a lisp.

* The King: The King of the Minimoys is the father of Betameche and Selenia, as well as a benevolent and kind ruler. He is balky when faced by violence and also possessive of his children. He rides atop a large, furry animal called a Gamoul, so as to compensate for his diminutive size.

Changes between French and U.S. versions

After a screening test in the United States,Fact|date=September 2007 the Weinstein company decided to edit the film. Approximately nine minutes were cut. Most of the edits pertained to the love story taking place between Arthur and Selenia. The Scenes were:

*Arthur's arrival at the Minimoy world in the middle of a Ceremony centering on Selenia's coming of age;
*Arthur falling in love with Selenia at first sight;
*Before confronting Maltazard, Selenia's kiss to Arthur, followed by Betameche's congratulation of Arthur for their wedding;
*Arthur removing a string from Selenia's corset to use as a rope during the river scene;
*Selenia kissing Arthur before he in transported back to his own world;
*Arthur learning of the custom that a princess must wait ten moons (lunar months) before kissing her chosen husband for the second time;
*Davido attempting to steal the treaure from Archibald, before being captured by the Bogomatassalai;
*Arthur's Grandmother in the antique dealership prior to them arriving at her home;
*Max telling Selenia about his 7 wives while they are dancing;
*Malthazar confronting Selenia about her engagement to Arthur.

The UK version of the film had these scenes removed, as it was also distributed by the Weinstein Company.


The US edition DVD was released on May 15, 2007 with just the English-language version and cut down about 10 minutes from the original version. The international DVD versions include the uncut English-language version and the local-language version.



* Since this movie takes place in 1960, one anachronism is the The Bee-Gees song "Stayin' Alive" (1977) coming from the phonograph.

* Another anachronism is the David Bowie song "Let's Dance" (1983) which plays for a few seconds.

* When Darkos first appears in the Stunning Rapids Bar, the visible letters behind his head spell out "Stupid".

* Arthur and the Minimoys was showed in Taiwan,Taiwanese actress and singer Ella Chen dubbed the voice of Arthur at the age of 26.

*The movie was mentioned in an online episode of Family Guy, incorrectly stating that Rob Corddry was in the movie.

*Rob Corddry was, in fact, in the movie. []

*The lead singer of the band Tokio Hotel, Bill Kaulitz, did Arthur's voice for the German dub. German pop singer Nena was the voice of Selenia.


Besson announced in 2007 that he is directing two sequels, "Arthur et la vengeance de Maltazard" ("Arthur and the Vengeance of Maltazard"), planned for 2009, and "Arthur et la guerre des deux mondes" ("Arthur and the War of Two Worlds"), planned for 2010. [ [ (Jan. 6, 2007): "Arthur et Les Minimoys" de Retour"] , citing "Film Francais" article (in French)] [ [ Luc Besson official site] (in French)] .

ee also

*List of animated feature films
*List of computer-animated films
*List of most expensive non-English language films



* [ Official website] (French plus 17 languages);Other
* ["Arthur and the Minimoys"] at Keyframe - the Animation Resource
* [ "Arthur and the Minimoys" at CanMag]

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