I can happily report that the feature-length Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants held an audience of adults and children spellbound although one little boy, initially disconcerted by the 3-D experience, called out that he thought things were “going into [his] eyes”.
Written and directed by Helene Giraud and Thomas Szabo, the film tells the tale of how a little ladybug separated from his family by a gang of fly bullies is befriended by a platoon of black ants. In an abandoned picnic site is a tin of sugar cubes in which the ladybug has taken refuge, and this becomes a trophy coveted by an enemy platoon of red ants. After a nail-biting pursuit sequence in which the red ants commandeer a soft drink can to chase the black ants and the ladybug in their sugar tin, the prized sugar is safely delivered to the Black Queen. Alas! The Red Queen is so furious that full-scale war is declared and the red army marches upon the black ant-hill.
With their customary ingenious utilisation of various pieces of trash ‘n’ treasure the tiny soldiers wage war to the bitter end. Never have toothpicks and cotton buds proven so lethal. While making an heroic return to the abandoned picnic site for “ammunition”, the ladybug not only settles a score with the fly bully boys, but makes several new friends, including a black spider who lives in a miniature version of the Psycho house. Indeed, all the regular Minuscule characters make an appearance at some stage in this delightful little epic. Crowd scenes, such as the ransacking of the abandoned picnic site, are absolute gems of creativity.
Herve Lavandier’s score provides the perfect accompaniment, varying from “gentle bucolic” to “portentous epic”. The young French mother seated beside me, quietly responding to her two-and-a-half-year-old son’s comments and questions, added to the aural ambience of the whole experience.