Minuscule - Valley Of The Lost Ants


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

"Opens your eyes to fresh fields of possibility"

Successful animation depends upon a witty script and state-of-your-heart CGI. Add 3D if you like; it works well with this kind of thing. The trick is to appeal to children and grown ups at the same time. Not easy.

Minuscule is French. Not being Disney, nor DreamWorks, nor Pixar, it can step outside the box, which it does with originality and courage. Kids of any age may find the mental leap from the expected to the unexpected too scary. No one speaks in this movie. They whistle and make horn sounds. Why not? It is enough. The visuals captivate.

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With the use of real locations, midsummer mountains and valleys, with wild grass as tall as ships and rugged rocks the colour of ash, through which a family of ladybirds fly, the concept of an artificial world is somewhat compromised.

It starts with a pregnant human and her sunburnt husband enjoying a picnic under a tree and it ends with civil war between black and red ants. The couple leave in a hurry, her waters have broken or something, forgetting to clear up their stuff, all of which is used in the forthcoming battle - cotton buds, tooth picks, baby rockets, sugar cubes, Alka Seltzer and a pine cone as battering ram.

One of the ladybird chicks becomes lost and is befriended by a black ant. Together they return to home base, the anthill on a lonely plateau, which soon will be besieged by an army of reds.

The ensuing conflict resembles Syria's war of attrition, with catapults replicating Russian bombers. The ingenuity on both sides can only be admired and the little ladybird's flight to bring a box of matches from the picnic site to his beleaguered friends at the anthill in order to light the rocket fuses is nothing short of heroic.

Loosen your mind. Forget Woody and Buzz's chat show. This is a film that opens your eyes to fresh fields of possibility.

Reviewed on: 27 May 2016
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In a peaceful little clearing, the remains of a picnic hastily abandoned spark warfare between two tribes of ants.
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Director: Helene Giraud, Thomas Szabo

Writer: Thomas Szabo, Helene Giraud

Year: 2013

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: France

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