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Every Miyazaki's film is a feast of craftsmanship. Arrietty is another tasty masterpiece. The amount of attention and details about the lifestyle of the borrowers, the simple yet precise character building, the reminder of the connection between nature and civilization, woven into a silky wonderland.
I really enjoyed this movie. It was super cute and well done. I would recommend this to anyone!
the movie is good ... if there can be a continuation.
Buckets of tears. That's a compliment.
A film about miniature people, that shows stealing in a positive light - it shouldn't work, but it does, and it's beautiful
The characters are the reason that The Secret World of Arrietty is so appealing. The animation and the voice acting come together in a way that make you care about Arrietty and her family, as well as the "human beans" they live with. This is a simple, yet beautiful movie that the whole family can enjoy together.
While the other characters are down to earth, the main villain is so crazy/evil that it's not believable. I had a hard time buying into the barrowers' world, one that's based entirely on human technology and everything is cuter up close. Overall, it's a short, sappy story about trust and the need to care for others; that's hard not to like.
I'll start with a disclaimer: the Borrowers books by Mary Norton were a childhood favourite of mine so this review might be a bit biased. I've also seen all the screen adaptations including the excellent 90's BBC version, the Jim Broadbent version and the Stephen Fry version. With that in mind, I found this Ghibli version very disappointing, and still feel the same way after a recent second viewing. This is a gorgeous looking but bland, unnecessarily serious movie which simultaneously feels too short yet draggy. Unfortunately the weakest link is the screenplay, co-written by the usually great Hayao Miyazaki.
The most glaring problem is Pod's character. All the characters feel quite flat and phoney but Pod's been given the personality of a doorknob, (and for some strange reason has a distracting resemblance to Harrison Ford). I'm guessing this comes from a misinterpretation of British stoicism on the Japanese writer's part. The human boy Sho has a heart condition which serves absolutely no purpose in the plot (he runs around and climbs on the roof like a perfectly healthy kid) and feels like it was tacked on as an easy way to create sympathy. Then there is the maid Haru who is horrible for no good reason. In the books humans who kidnap Borrowers do so either out of a misguided attempt to help or to make money; but no motive is ever explained for Haru. This is plain shoddy writing - even in simple preschooler oriented stories like Totoro and Ponyo characters have motives.
Yonebayashi is a fine director and so there's quite a few beautiful scenes; the most delightful of these being tiny Arrietty's interaction with the big world. This movie is excellent at giving you a sense of scale. We see Arrietty fend off a cockroach larger than herself, bounce a pill bug around like a beach ball and use a pin as a sword. And of course the attention to detail put into the background art is incredible and beautiful. However this can't make up for the weak screenplay, lack of character development, forgettable music and general lack of Ghibli magic.
I do think someone who is unfamiliar with the books and who hasn't seen any of the live action productions would possibly enjoy this much more than me but for me this is one of the weakest Ghibli movies. Nothing new to add to the Borrowers tale that the live action versions didn't already do and do better. I get the feeling if a less revered animation studio had made this rather than the mightly Ghibli the rating would be far less favourable.
Decided this seemed the perfect introduction for my children to the world of Studio Ghibli. Must admit beforehand I was a little concerned as to whether they would be completely interested as the animation style is so different from what western audiences are accustomed to. Well I needn't have been, both my boys (including the 1 year old) were entranced throughout, as was I. My eldest is still bringing up Arrietty and making up play scenarios based on the film over a week later. This really is a treat, fantastic film.
I wouldn’t call this a “feel good movie”. I actually found it a little sad. Mainly because the teenage boy is sick (which is why he’s always stuck at home). All in all still a good Ghibli movie.