It’s possible that you haven’t even heard of this French film, but sometimes it’s a case of the unknown gems that you uncover being among the best films you see.
The story to this film is simple as can be: a ladybug gets separated from its family and settles in with a troop of black ants who are out scavenging for food for their colony. While helping them to get home with a discarded tin of sugar cubes, they encounter some dastardly red ants who are determined to steal their haul.
There haven’t been a whole range of films that follow a similar template to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but Miniscule has live-action, with some stunning vistas and nature photography to pore over, mixed with animation as all the insects are added on top. There is absolutely no dialogue at all, with the creatures all talking via beeps or buzzes.
Now, you might say it sounds like the most kid-friendly load of bubble gum celluloid tosh you’ve ever heard of, and it might just be, but it is truly stunning. Creativity has been given free reign here and it’s all the better for it. Instead of focusing on characters that can sell a toy line and kick-start a franchise, Miniscule is all about the splendour of nature whilst zooming in on the battle that ensues between the black and red ants.
There is a scene that involves an empty soda can containing the red ants and the tin of sugar containing the black ants and the ladybug that can literally challenge any action chase scene that Hollywood can come up with. The siege of the black ant colony by the red ants can match any siege you’ve seen on the big screen too, with some wonderfully imaginative uses of conkers, toothpicks, bug spray and fireworks that will have you grinning like a loon as the action unfolds.
And there’s even a flying chase scene that recalls dog fights and even the speederbike chase in Return of the Jedi.
It’s silly but it’s astoundingly entertaining. The kids will love it, of course, but so will you.
A brilliant family film.
MINISCULE: VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS / CERT: U / DIRECTOR & SCREENPPLPAY: HELENE GIRAUD, THOMAS SZABO / STARRING: N/A / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW