movie review · opini

[Movie Review] Minuscule: How BIG is to be small

Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants is a French-Belgian animated film which was directed and written by Hélène Giraud and Thomas Szabo, with running time 89 minutes.

What if we humans become much smaller?

Beware, in this writing I will ask you much “what if”.

What if Doraemon and his Small Light/Shrink Ray are exist?

Character_using_Small_Light
Source: Doraemon Wiki

And what if you somehow are exposed to the light of Small Light and become much smaller, as small as a ladybug? But, what if you ARE the ladybug? You come into the world as a baby ladybug breaking out from a little egg? You’ve got two siblings and soon you should’ve flew by yourself. And then, your parents get you for a walk through the savannah, woods…, except a dark, mysterious tunnel that you all avoid. The day is bright, the atmosphere is so cheerful that it seems no trouble will ever catch you.

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Source: Subsaga

But as you’re flying, your curiosity plus a group of annoying flies are a very good team to put you into an incident.

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Source: Programme

You fall into a pit and got lost. One of your little wings is injured. Under the rain, the night feels so gloomy, plus the emergence of creatures who knows makes it more chilling. The night is gone and the morning is coming, and you find a shelter: a container full of sugar blocks left by a couple of married when they had a picnic there not long ago. Among many creatures that collect the food leftovers, there are black ant troops who later discover the container sugar blocks and try to bring it (and you, intentionally) home. Unfortunately, on the way, they stumble across red ants who want to arrogate the container.

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Source: Francois Pommiez

There’s still a long way to the ant hill (above all, to your home), and together with the black ants, whom you suddenly befriend with, you must find a way out to beat them before they beat you.

How BIG is to be SMALL

Yeah, I mean, it’d never occured to me before as deeply as when I watched Minuscule that what it feels to be small—as small as the ladybug or the ant? The world around us would be seemed so huge; the things that were looked so small to us before now become big—if not so big. The things that don’t matter much for us before, maybe now become significant for our life. For example, you’re a tiny ladybug and your wing is injured and you can’t fly, and crossing the street becomes something nightmarish. And how firecracker become so important in saving your life!

How Can A Ladybug is Received in An Ant Gang?

image
Source: Timeout

In their journey from the spot where they found the sugar block to the ant hill, the ladybug once saved the black ants’ lives from a curious lizard. That was their first meeting (before that, the ladybug has been hiding in the container). Since the ants’ commander is a gentleman (actually I don’t really know whether he is a he or a she. Okay, maybe he’s a he and that doesn’t mean that I am against feminism.), he then regards the ladybug as a friend. I love seeing the gesture of intimacy between those two: the ants’ commander touched his antennas to the ladybug’s back, also whenever they spend the night together having a look at the moon. So, even though the ladybug is alone among the ants family, he is not lonely (now, I also assume that our ladybug is a he because I’m kinda love to see a bromance in this movie). Even though he is different from them, they don’t see it as a reason to not embrace him to that fraternal community. That’s one of things we humans aren’t good at. Geez.

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Source: Comedy for Animators

Black Ants vs Red Ants

We don’t know the history of the relationship between the black ants and red ants. We know only that right when the Reds found that the Blacks have a container full of sugar block and when the both sides bump into each other, the Blacks give offer only single sugar blocks and this made them angry, so angry that they chased after the Blacks, that they come to attack the Blacks’ palace to arrogate the rest of sugar blocks. The Blacks and the Reds have close genetic relationship, much closer than the Black has with the ladybug, but that doesn’t assure that they’ll have hearty relationship.

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Source: Solid Angle

Now Let’s Fly Through The Dark Tunnel

Remember the dark, mysterious tunnel that we’ve found on the early scenes, when the ladybug’s parent lead their children to avoid it? I see a kind of similarity between them and the parents of Eep, the main character in The Croods. The father forbid his daughter hanging around beyond the cave, their house, because he was afraid that something danger would happen to her. But, is it really the worry of his daughter’s safety or just the worry his own insecurity toward the world? We didn’t know much about the ladybug’s parents, so we can’t say much.

The dark tunnel might represent our dark side, our weakness, that we ourselves don’t have enough courage to dip into it. But, once the ladybug decide to gather his strength and courage to fly again and dives into the dark tunnel (for the sake of going back to the picnic spot to take a box of safety matches—the Reds kept attack the Blacks’ palace and the Blacks, found out that they have many firecracker in their storage to return the attack but they run out of safety matches), he became pal up with his dark side and he could reach the other side of the tunnel and yeah, he did it! This is a kind of self.

Teamwork Mastering: A Learning from the Ants

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Source: dca

This movie shows us ants’ teamwork well, though at some points I question, “Isn’t that too much?”. Look, the journey from the picnic spot to the ant hill isn’t short and easy. They have a giant container in their backs, full of sugar blocks; they have to stand in the breach: tottering at the rocky area, plunging into the river and then into the waterfall, being almost eaten by a lizard and a certain fish…. But they can conquer that all, thanks to their great teamwork.

How Do Ladybug and Ant Communicate?

It is engaging to observe how these two species communicate to each other. The ladybug’s voice sounds like a trumpet. Yeah, in this movie, instead of watching animals speak like human, we watch them speaking in their own language. Although they don’t speak human’s language, I understand what they’re saying. Such a great sound design.

It is So Green, It is So Beautiful

One of things that I love the much of this movie is its eye-indulging visual, which combines the live action backdrop taken in national parks in High Provence and animated creatures smoothly. This movie captures the nature close, so macro, so real, so green, great! For the further detail about the visual effect and 3D animation making of Minuscule, you can surf here.

Note:

The source of the featured image is Entonation

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