I have been whining about the dearth of good animated films lately for a while now. I want to take my kids to a movie, and I want to like what we see. Lately, I’ve been skipping the cinema trip because I just couldn’t see anything being worth it.
Now Arthur and the Invisibles is opening and I have that familiar sinking feeling. (Go watch the trailer if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen a million commercials for it on TV, already.)
At last glance, the Tomatometer for Arthur was limping along in the 25% range, which means that overall, critics are not impressed. The few who did grant it a thumbs-up seem pretty clear that their opinions go against the tide:
It’s a pretty good picture, albeit a strange one.
—Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
Admirably blends animation and live-action and has a lot on offer for kids, though adults will probably yawn more than once at the predictable twists and turns of the plot.
—Boyd van Hoeij, europeanfilms.net
Ultimately, Besson has made an interesting, if shaky in places, homage to childhood.
—Monica A. Reyhani, Premiere Magazine
The criticisms of the movie are varied, but I’ve read more than one reviewer complaining that the switches between live-action and animation are disruptive and clunky. This leads us to another bit of new about Arthur that you may find interesting: Cartoon Brew reports that the movie has been disqualified from Oscar consideration. Why? Well, a movie has to be at least 75% animation to qualify in the running for Best Animated Feature, and Arthur fell short on that score.
I wasn’t sure why (or, honestly, if) I should care about this, but Arthur was previewing before the end of the year specifically so that it could be considered amongst the 2006 nominees. Cartoon Brew explains why the news is problematic on a larger scale:
The film’s disqualification will now alter the amount of films that can be nominated. We had 16 eligible features. Now it’s 15. Which means we just lost two nominees. (The rules state that if there are 16 or more eligible movies, there are 5 nominee slots. Less than 16, it’s three).
From the reviews, it didn’t sound as though Arthur had a real shot at an Oscar or even a nomination. But given the rules outlined above and the nominee slots being cut by two-thirds, there’s now also less chance for a fabulous but slightly less-popular feature to garner a nomination, which is a shame.
In the meantime: Do I take the kids to Arthur and the Invisibles even though I know it’s not going to be great? Decisions, decisions….