Mia and the Migoo is a French animated film with the appearance of a fairytale popped out of a painting. Mia (Amanda Misquez) is a brave little girl with a giant heart who imparts on an adventure in search of her father and comes upon the Migoo (Wallace Shawn), a race of ancient forest spirits. She soon finds herself on a mission to help save the Migoo and the Tree of Life, which keeps the balance of all nature. Evil developers wish to wipe out the natural habitat and build over it and Mia and the Migoo are left to defend it.

This film is a heartwarming tale filled with adventure and suspense. The stunning hand drawn animation will visually enthrall audiences. Also, the motley mix of characters that make up this film are just as colorful as the beautifully painted scenes. Among the star-studded cast lending their voices for the English version of the film are John DiMaggio, Whoopi Goldberg, Matthew Modine, Wallace Shawn and James Woods.

James Woods lends his notable voice as Jojo-la-Frite, a buck-toothed, poker-playing construction worker with questionable values.

Whoopi Goldberg’s familiar, raspy voice perfectly brings life and dramatic energy to the small role she voices as a sort of shaman, fortune-telling witch. The character’s wild hair and exaggerated features are a blend of the comical and ominous which is fascinating to watch. The witch foretells Mia’s future and gives her a piece of fruit, much like the wicked witch in Snow White. Though this witch has nothing but good intentions and helps send Mia further along in her quest.

Besides the stunning Impressionistic landscapes this film has a beautiful message all ages will appreciate. Young Mia tells her friend Aldrin (Vincent Agnello), “The Migoo told me that the tree is like the center of the world. If the tree is sick, then it’s really bad for everyone.” The tree presumably represents nature and its mistreatment creates a ripple effect on all living things. There are also powerful lessons to be learned from the themes of healing and forgiveness.

The war between the greed of big business and the spiritual ecological balance of life is a very real occurrence. Mia and the Migoo, winner of the best animated feature at the European Film Awards, offers a non-threatening avenue in which to explore these important subjects.

Producer and director Jacques-Rémy Girerd melds together the harmony of nature with the disruptive anarchy of destruction which is quite reminiscent of the messages set forth in James Cameron’s Avatar. The devastation of uprooting the natural world is made evident in an aesthetically pleasing animated display.

MIA AND THE MIGOO opens Friday, May 6th in Los Angeles. For more information on dates and theaters in other cities, please visit the film’s web site.