MINUSCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS | THE REVIEW

MINUSCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS is a feature film from French animators, Hélène Giraud and Thomas Szabo, who are famous for their TV series – all 78 episodes so far, called MINUSCULE. Their premise is simple, all based on a bird’s eye view of the day to day life of bugs. The television eps are all about 6mins long, but this superb work of genius is 88mins and was a treat beyond my expectations, a film I am so glad I made the 90min (each) journey to see. MINUSCULE: THE VALLEY OF LOST ANTS is on an extremely limited release at EVENT CINEMAS ONLY from BEYOND HOME ENTERTAINMENT and is releasing today, TUE 6th May. It is rated G and runs for 88mins.

 

MINUSCULE VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
MINUSCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING

Even the plot for this film is awesome. A pregnant lady and her partner are having a picnic in the forest when said lady goes into labor. In their rush to leave and head to the hospital they leave some of their picnic goods behind on the picnic blanket. At a similar time a newly born ladybug has a run in with some flies, loses his family and damages his wing, looking for a place to shelter he ends up hiding inside the container from the pregnant couple that contains a lot of sugar cubes. When he awakes the blanket is abuzz with bug activity, in the true nature of all things, everything starts breaking down and feeding the animal kingdom and all manner of animals are walking off with everything from the blanket. One “leader” ant climbs into the sugar tin and discovers that this sugar stuff is like crack cocaine and they must carry it all back to the nest. An arduous journey not unlike Lord of the Rings, for ants. It is a lengthy journey and eventually our lady bug emerges and becomes friends with the ants carrying this sugar tin across the forest. In their journey they run into demented red ants, their leader is positively mental, lets call him Darth Ant. Our friendly “leader” ant offers Darth Ant a sugar cube as a piece offering and the black ants continue on their journey to the nest. Darth Ant is pissed, he wants it all, and so begins his battle for the sugar cubes and the good ants battle for survival.

 

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MINUSCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | ANTS CARRYING SUGAR CUBES

 

My mind was blown watching this film. It is seriously a child’s version cross between Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, played out with bugs and no dialogue. It is also a pleasure to watch an animated film that is not all cute characters that talk and say (often very funny) jokes throughout the film. There is no dialogue in this film. There is communicating through grumbling, tooting, whistling and other made up animal noises but for 88mins no talking, and the good thing, I watched this at a family day screening (by my sad sad self) that was packed with children and they all seemed to love it. There was lots of laughing and general awe. The 3D is superb, the plot ambitious and perfectly executed, with abundant action, heartfelt emotions and themes and the best part, you enter the animal kingdom, mind you, this film is not educational in anyway, but a way to imagine the fantastic bug world.

Hélène Giraud and Thomas Szabo use real life scenes and backdrops and then just fill it with animated bugs. It is a wonderful way to do it and with today’s CGI it is so life like, no where near Who Framed Roger Rabbit (although still an amazing classic), if only they had filmed the moon landings with today’s technology 🙂 The cinematography of the nature this takes place in is worth the cost of the ticket alone.

 

MINUSCULE VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS IMAGE
MINUSCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | ANT AND LADY BUG ON THE SUGAR TIN

 

It is action action action. There are giant battles for the salvation of the black ant nest that reminded me of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and the battle for Minas Tirith. Then there is an epic chase scene between ladybug and flies that reminded me of the pod race in Star Wars Episode 1. Add the race down the river which is similar to the race down the river in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. On top of all the action there are lots of animals that just want to eat the lady bug and this also provides more action and heart pounding racing. And while this sounds like a blood bath R rated film with lots of death, this film is so gentle and G rated that it is there for all the kids in the family from 8months to 90yrs.

When you have a film that has no dialogue there is something you need done perfectly, and that is the sound. The sound effects are amazing and really give the film character but the one thing that gives this film a soul is the music, and it is epic, it is totally John Williamslike but is provided by superb composer Hervé Lavandier – I enjoyed the music so much I have bought the orchestral soundtrack (if you also love it you can buy it HERE).

 

MINUSCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS BLACK ANT IMAGE
MINUSCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | BLACK ANT WAITS FOR LADYBUG

 

Give the kids some cultural difference and something different from the standard we are constantly fed like sugar. The French do an amazing job, if you want a taste head HERE and watch some of their YouTube clips. The film lost half a point from one scene around the ant hill when I saw an error in the animation that looked like a hole that did not fit in the 3D reality – without that this would have been a perfect film. For its use of nature, imagination and superb animation this film WINS.

Get thee to Event Cinemas and view something different, and amazing.

 

4 and a Half Pops