An English children’s classic is given a spin by the Japanese Walt Disney and the results are a delight. Gorgeous animation and the realization of the world of the Borrowers only highlight this wondrous take.
Shawn (David Henrie) is a boy with a heart problem that goes to the country to stay with his Aunt Jessica (Gracie Poletti) and her housekeeper Hara (Carol Burnett). He discovers that there are little people that live in the walls called Borrrowers.
Arrietty (Bridgit Mendler) is the name of the Borrower that Shawn spys. She is going out with her father Pod (Will Arnett) for her first borrowing, aka getting supplies from the beans or human beings. Her high strung mother Homily (Amy Poehler) is concerned for her daughter as the family cat has been stalking about.
During the adventure Shawn speaks to Arrietty causing her to drop her sugar cube, but he later returns it to her wanting to be friends. When her father finds out that Shawn is aware of the little people it spurs them to move as nothing but trouble can come from beans knowing their existence. That’s not before Homily is captured by Hara.
It’s very interesting how some of our everyday objects are given a fascinating grandeur when you’re four inches high. Studio Gibhli certainly knows what they’re doing in adapting Mary Norton’s 1952 novel. Hayao Miyazaki, aka the Japanese Walt Disney, does adaptation chores and Hiromasa Yonebayashi directs but the film has the Gibhli/Miyazaki vibe to it.
It’s gorgeous realized in hand drawn animation, rapidly becoming a lost art. My four year old was enraptured but did hop around the room with anticipation when Homily gets captured and our heroes go to rescue her.
Not to mention the immersion into Arrietty’s world of our everyday objects made gigantic for her. It’s full of colors, albeit transposing them to a Japanese setting instead of the English one of the novel. Certainly it’s a well-made adaptation that will entertain all ages no matter the setting.
The Secret World of Arrietty is presented in a 1080p transfer (1.85:1). Special features, presented in high definition, include the entire film’s Japanese storyboards in a pop-up option, the music videos for “Arrietty’s Song” and “Summertime” (totaling 7 minutes), the 2 minute making of “Summertime,” and 14 minutes of trailers and TV spots. Disc two is a DVD copy.
The Secret World of Arrietty is another classic film from Studio Gibhli. It should appeal to anime fans as well as the entire family. The gorgeous animation will enrapture both as well as the fully realized world in which she lives that looks remarkably like our own.
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