The wildly uneven French writer-director- producer Luc Besson has a fondness for life outside the margins: the neon-lit labyrinths of the Paris métro ( Subway), the pristine depths of the ocean ( The Big Blue). His latest finds him subterranean once again, this time in a fantastic universe where elves and fairies live in harmony with nature. Adapted from his own series of children’s books, this live-action/ computer-animated hybrid follows 10-year-old Arthur (Freddie Highmore), who, in order to save his home, must enter the mythical Seven Kingdoms, where, now a 3-D animated figure sporting cool shades and spiked hair, he joins forces with a sexy CGI princess (voiced by Madonna) as they battle the evil Lord Malthazard (David Bowie). Predictable and overly busy, this sci-fi adventure should nonetheless appeal to game-savvy tots, especially those familiar with the source material.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 2, 2007