Friday, February 17, 2012

Movie Review: "The Secret World of Arrietty"

If you're a fan of Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro), then you will love The Secret World of Arrietty.  Based on the classic children's book, The Borrowers, The Secret World of Arrietty is a Japanesized version of the tale, about little people, who are 6 centimeters tall, who live in the walls and floorboards of homes, until a teenaged Borrower is discovered by a teenaged human boy who was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.  Written by Ghibli co-founder, and animation maestro, Hayao Miyazaki, The Secret World of Arrietty has all of the hallmarks of a Studio Ghibli classic.  A strong female heroine named Arrietty, wondrous animation, a wide breadth of fantasy and imagination, and a consciousness of thematic ideas not typically found in American animation.  What is so brilliant about The Secret World of Arrietty is that it features such weighty concepts, such as young love and death, and yet it never becomes a bummer for the audience.  Younger viewers will probably love the visuals and the adventurous nature of the story, as Arrietty dodges cats and bugs, but adults will relish in the depths of the emotions and the characters that the film offers.  The American voice-over dub is well handled by Disney, with a marvelously subdued performance by Will Arnett as Arrietty's father, as well, the sound design is fantastic.  These everyday sounds that we humans hear are amplified in all of the scenes that are told from the point-of-view of the Borrowers, and it just takes you deeper into the experience, allowing one to get completely lost in the world of these Borrowers.

I give The Secret World of Arrietty an A+

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