2013 / Directors. Hélène Giraud & Thomas Szabo.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS is a feature film based on a popular TV-shorts program called MINUSCULE. The show's concept features animated insect creatures in a live-action environment. The episodes are short and are usually programmed in between other shows. This new feature length adaptation carries on the concept and follows a lost ladybug as it attempts to find its way back to its family. Along the way it joins the journey of some black ants as they carry a lunch pail of sugar back to their nest. This is a stunning film to look at. The landscapes are gorgeous and so much attention to detail has been given to the environment surrounding these little characters. There isn't a single word spoken throughout the movie and contrary to the trailer there is no narration either. And so the story is told through action and personality. Each of the creatures is given their own nuances and traits and carry the story with charm. Expanding a short concept into a feature length film was a bold thing to tempt and there are moments when the filmmakers struggle to keep up their momentum. The entire film is more or less walking, marching and flying. With no voices to convey interaction the cute little characters do become laborious. There are definitely too many repetitive jokes and the camera holds for far too long on some of the supposed punchlines. Nevertheless this is a kids film and it delivers. Since watching it it has been playing on my mind and the more I think about it the more I like it. I am keen to watch it again soon to see whether or not there's more charm to be found. I suspect there is. Blu-ray (3D if possible) is the ultimate way to experience this delightful little film and anyone with a childlike sense of adventure should relish it. Kids with short attention-spans, however, would be better off watching the TV series instead.