After a year at boarding school 10-year-old Arthur (voiced by Freddie Highmore) is spending the summer with his grandmother (Mia Farrow) while his parents are busy working in the city. Disappointed that his parents haven’t taken a greater interest in him, Arthur finds solace in hearing stories about his grandfather’s adventures in Africa. His grandfather (Ron Crawford) mysteriously disappeared four years earlier and Arthur enjoys poring over his journals and attempting to recreate his inventions.
Arthur is particularly fascinated by the story of the Minimoys, a civilisation of people so tiny that they are considered invisible. The Minimoys had given Arthur’s grandfather an extremely valuable ruby which he was rumoured to have buried somewhere in the backyard.
With his grandmother’s home threatened by a money-hungry property developer, Arthur sets off to find the ruby. In the process he is shrunk down to microscopic size when he himself is transformed into a Minimoy. At the entrance to their Kingdom, Arthur meets Betameche (Jimmy Fallon) and his older sister, Princess Selenia (Madonna), both of whom will accompany him on his quest to find the ruby and save his grandfather, whom Arthur learns is being held prisoner by the evil wizard Maltazard (David Bowie).
Missing relatives; separation from a parent
There is some violence in this movie. For example:
- A friend of the Minimoys is found badly beaten just outside the gate to their city.
- Arthur uses a sword to fight a band of mosquito-riding warriors.
- During the fight, Arthur is repeatedly blasted off his mosquito mount and hangs precariously while he tries not to get blasted to the ground.
- Arthur tries to avoid getting beaten by a spiked club.
- Selenia fights a group of warriors: punching, kicking and flipping.
- While ‘unmasking’ a couple of warriors, it appears that their faces are slashed off.
- Selenia roughly shoves Arthur and Betameche out of a flower and they both plummet to the ground.
- There is a bar fight pitting Arthur, Selenia and Betameche against Maltazard’s henchmen.
- Selenia tries to fight off Maltazard.
- Maltazard tries to annihilate the Minimoy’s Kingdom by flooding the city and drowning all the inhabitants. He proclaims that the Minimoy’s will ‘die in agony’ with his name on their lips.
- Arthur bounces a ball into Maltazard’s cavern, which destroys the pipe system and crushes many of the wizard’s followers.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes noted above, children in this age group might be disturbed by the following scenes:
- Arthur gets shrunk to Minimoy size and transformed into a troll-like figure. Arthur himself is terrified during the process and later says, ‘I thought I was going to die’.
- The appearance of some of Maltazard’s henchmen could also frighten very young children.
- Some of Maltazard’s henchmen set a trap to enter the Minimoy Kingdom and kidnap Princess Selenia.
- Arthur, his grandfather, Selenia and Betameche must run for their lives to escape the raging flood that Maltazard unleases on the Minimoys. At one point his grandfather is unable to go on and begs to be left behind. Certain death is only moments away when they find a toy car and jump inside only to race down tunnel after tunnel with the water right behind. The car stops before they reach the entrance to the kingdom and they must, once again, run for their lives. The scene is full of suspense and dramatic music and some young children could be disturbed by its intensity.
- Arthur’s grandmother believes that he has run away. She knows nothing of his plan and is completely distraught at his absence.
Some children aged 8-13 could be concerned by some of the scenes listed above.
It is unlikely that anything in this film would frighten children over the age of 13.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
- Arthur’s grandmother takes ‘sleeping drops’ to help her sleep. One night Arthur accidentally knocks over her bottle and extra drops spill into her cup. She instantly passes out on the bed.
- At the bar of an underground club Arthur, Selenia and Betameche drink a smoking green concoction.
Nudity and sexual activity
Although there is no sexual activity in this film, Princess Selenia wears tight-fitting pants and a tight-cropped shirt that shows some cleavage and exposes her midriff.
This movie contains some mild coarse name-calling.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Arthur and the Invisibles is an animated adventure featuring excellent graphics and special effects. Although many younger children may want to see the film, it is definitely best suited to older children and adults.
With older children, you can talk about the main messages in the movie of hope for the future, faith in your dreams and believing in the unbelievable. You could also talk about the values presented in this movie – creativity, courage and determination.
This movie also gives you the opportunity to discuss with your child the importance of being open and honest, and telling you about their plans, such as where they are going, so that you don't worry.