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The Secret World of Arrietty

The Secret World Of Arrietty

In Theatres: 
Feb 17, 2012
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 35 Minutes

When it comes to animation, there are two studios that excel above all others. Pixar always stuns audiences with their beautifully crafted CGI animations that continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible. On the other end of the spectrum is Studio Ghibli who equally stuns audiences with a more classic hand-drawn look to their animations. The Secret World of Arrietty is their latest venture and is based on the popular novel, The Borrowers.

Arrietty and her family are tiny people who live under the floorboards and explore the house at night looking for materials and equipment they need. One of the major rules of being a Borrower is to never be seen by a human. Shawn, a sick young boy who moved into his great aunt’s house for a bit of rest, manages to catch a glimpse of Arrietty one night. Fearing the worst, Arrietty soon finds out that not all humans are dangerous and that it may be possible for her and Shawn to be friends.

Studio Ghibli has always had a knack for creating wonderful masterpieces that seamlessly blend superb animations, music, and voice acting to create a movie experience like no other. The Secret World of Arrietty is no different. In it, we see one world from two vastly different perspectives. The world Arrietty lives in is filled with nails, sugar cubes, and other miniscule items that are useful tools for Borrowers. Just one look at her house and you can see the attention to detail Studio Ghibli has put into the film.

Shawn sees the same world, only on a much grander scale. Seeing the same teapot squeezed between the fingers of Shawn as compared to being carried in Arrietty’s arms provides a stark contrasting of size for audiences. The film manages to intertwine these two perspectives into a single believable narrative. The wonderful visuals are accompanied by an equally fantastic score composed by Cécile Corbel, which brings to life the world around Arrietty.

The English version of the film features the vocal talents of Bridgit Mendler (Arrietty), David Henrie (Shawn), Amy Poehler (Homily), and Will Arnett (Pod). Normally I would always recommend watching the original Japanese language track for foreign films such as this, but the actors fit so well with the characters they play that it’s not necessary.

The Secret World of Arrietty is another wonderful work of art from the animators at Studio Ghibli. Hiromasa Yonebayashi may be the youngest director ever for a Studio Ghibli film but don’t let his inexperience fool you. The tradition of great films from the studio remains as strong as ever. 

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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