Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard (PG) (live-action/CGI)
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streaming sites: none that I know of
This is the first of two sequels to Arthur and the Invisibles. I gather that in the UK, the two movies were edited into one movie, which was released theatrically, but here in the US, the movies were direct to DVD... but at least they were two movies. Most of the actors were the same as in the original, with a few exceptions. This time Selenia is voiced by Selena Gomez instead of Madonna. And Lou Reed voices Maltazard instead of David Bowie. And Betameche is apparently voiced by the guy who played Arthur's dad in the first movie, instead of Jimmy Fallon (though I didn't really notice the difference). It's kind of odd, then, that there was a different actor playing Arthur's dad in this movie.
Anyway... I guess it's a couple years later, because at one point they said Arthur was 12, whereas he was 10 in the first movie. (Actually, maybe that means it's three years later, considering he can only visit the Minimoy world once every ten months, and um... he turned 10 in the first movie, so... I dunno. Math is hard. Well, not really hard, so much as I'm lazy. But the point is, I have to assume he'd visited the Minimoys once or twice between the first movie and this one, though that's not really clear.) Wikipedia says Arthur was 13, but I swear to you in the movie they said 12. Wikipedia also says he and his parents were staying with his grandparents "for the holidays," but I have no idea what holidays they're referring to, because there were no holidays in the version I watched, and it was clearly summer, just like in the first movie. Anyway, Arthur gets initiated into the Bogo Matassalai tribe, or something, but that's not really important. What's important is that his father, Armand, gets upset by Arthur's grandfather, Archibald, for reasons I won't get into, and decides he and his wife and son should leave a day earlier than they were supposed to. Which upsets Arthur, because that was the night he was supposed to attend a banquet the Minimoys were planning in his honor. (You might think Armand is a bit of a jerk, but really he's just trying to protect Arthur. He's actually not a bad guy.)
And then, Arthur receives a message ("HELP") etched on a grain of rice, delivered by a spider. This is odd, because the Minimoys wouldn't normally send messages on rice; they'd use leaves. But Arthur becomes determined to go and help them, in spite of his father's forcing him to leave. Anyway, he manages to get to the Minimoy world, and receives some assistance from Max (a character I didn't mention in my review of the first movie, but he gets more screen time in this one). And then he finds out Betameche has been arrested by "unicorns" who work for some new ruler who's replaced Maltazard, who was defeated in the first movie. So, Arthur rescues Betameche, and they make their way back to the Minimoy village. Arthur is eager to see Princess Selenia, but she isn't there. (We do see a bit of her in flashback, though she seemed to be acting somewhat out of character.) And eventually Maltazard shows up to explain his plan, though this doesn't happen till fairly late in the movie. And... in the end, the story is "to be continued." So, basically the whole movie was really just setting up the third movie, Arthur 3: The War of Two Worlds.
In general I would say that the second movie was not as good as the first, but I liked it well enough. And there were a few bits I liked a lot. Just little things that might start out looking like plot devices that have been used before fairly often, but here get totally subverted. So that was fun. And... I dunno what else to say.