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Pleasant 3-D animated fantasy in which a 17-year-old girl (voice of Amanda Seyfried) finds herself magically transported to a miniature world within nature where the champions of growth and life (their leader voiced by Colin Farrell) battle the dark forces of decay (their commander voiced by Christoph Waltz). While becoming caught up in the conflict, she falls for a youthful warrior (voice of Josh Hutcherson) whose freewheeling ways make him an initially unreliable ally for his fellow good guys. With some of its characters drawn from William Joyce's book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, director Chris Wedge's cheerful journey into the undergrowth sends innocuous messages about environmental stewardship, teamwork and responsibility. There's also some familial bonding via the protagonist's ultimately appreciative interaction with her stereotypically absent-minded professor of a dad (voiced by Jason Sudeikis). Though the impact falls well short of Wedge's overly ambitious title, some lovely imagery compensates for various hit-or-miss attempts at humor.

Watch out for: Potentially frightening clashes, themes involving death.

Rated: A-I, general patronage; MPAA: PG, parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2013