Thursday, 20 October 2016

Arthur & the Invisibles 2: Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard (2009)

A challenge faced by the middle entry in any movie trilogy is that it needs to not only be a satisfying film in and of itself but it also has to do a lot of work in setting up the themes and conflicts of final chapter of the trio, as well.

It's not easy to achieve both these goals, and the people behind the Arthur and the Invisibles series appear to have tackled the issue by simply not bothering to try.  This second chapter of the franchise is entirely about setting up the third.  As a self-contained work ... well, it isn't one.  It exists entirely to get Arthur back to the flea-sized realm of the Mnimoys, and enable the escape of archvillain Maltazard into the human world.  Those goals accomplished, it promptly ends.

What's particularly galling about the film's failure as a standalone movie is that there's no reason these two goals couldn't have been achieved while still delivering an entertaining experience.  Have Arthur go back to Minimoyland because of some new crisis, then he and his love interest Princess Selenia battle this menace for the bulk of the film before the believed-defeated Maltazard is revealed to have engineered the whole situation in order to facilitate his escape.

Instead of this, the script devotes the bulk of its time to Arthur's efforts to actually reach the Minimoys' realm in the first place.  This mostly involves lots of supposedly humorous shenanigans involving his family (it's a recurring problem with the film that the bits that are meant to be funny aren't, while those that are meant to serious come across as goofy).

Once Arthur finally makes it to Minimoyland, we get a long info dump followed by a chase scene sequence, then not one but two additional long info dumps.  Princess Selenia finally makes her appearance in these latter info dumps: first as the subject of a flashback, and then because she's been captured (off screen) by Maltazard and is Big M's hostage to ensure no-one stops his escape.  Sigh.


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