Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants (Minuscule: Mori no Chisana Nakamatachi)
Director Helene Giraud, Thomas Szabo
Language None
Opens Oct. 18

Most children’s animation these days is motor-mouthed to the extreme and larded with snarky pop-culture gags, but French film “Minuscule” takes a refreshingly different approach. Filmmakers Helene Giraud and Thomas Szabo honed their skills on animated shorts over the past decade and now drop a full-length adventure set in an insect world where none of the bugs sound like Woody Allen. In fact, “Minuscule” is dialogue-free, which not only makes it suitable for the very youngest viewers, but also leads to a greater emphasis on character expressivity and laugh-out-loud sight gags. Also contributing to its fresh feel is how the film seamlessly blends real-life cinematography with the CGI bugs.

The story involves an abandoned ladybug who is befriended by a group of black ants trying to make it home with a prized box full of sugar cubes. Along the way they are harried by a rival group of red ants, with other dangers such as lizards and fish thrown into the mix. “Minuscule” is aimed clearly at kids, with gentle humour and thrills, but the set pieces are creative enough to charm any fan of animation.

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