Disney’s “Arrietty” is a Beautiful “Borrower’s” Rendition
It is very rare delight for a film to hit the silver screen in glorious 2D. This makes it a very special occasion for Japan’s Studio Ghibili’s “The Secret World of Arrietty” to be graced in American theatres.
“Borrowers” are a tiny human race that steal things like sugar cubes and sewing needles from normal people in order to survive. The plot follows the miniature title character, who becomes friends with a terminally ill human-boy Shawn. It plays out a bit like a classic tale of Disney friendship, but through the spectacular lens of marvelous screenwriter Hayao Miyazaki.
What sets this anime apart from others of its kind is its mass appeal to every walk of life. A testament to this is the fact that I only had to offer the film as a choice to my college friends, as opposed to dragging them along to see a “children’s movie”. And we enjoyed evert single minute of it.
The plots of most Miyazaki films transcend the marketed audience by a long shot, offering much to chew on for both film fanatics and parents alike. Shawn’s terminal illness isn’t glossed over as it may have been in other cartoon films, and even presents one of the main struggles of the films’ protagonists. It is through his perspective and belief in the tiny race that the audience often sees through, adding a relatable experience to the long list of things this film does right.
When most people hear the name “Miyazaki”, they either think “weird Japanese name” or “amazing artist.” As he is at times compared to the “Walt Disney of Japan”, perhaps it’s appropriate that he assumes both ideas as his identity. As with all of his previous works, namely ones like Oscar award winning “Spirited Away” and “Ponyo”, the visuals are nothing short of breathtaking. They alone are enough to make this film worth seeing.
Full of fantastic characters, a mature plot, and spectacular artwork, “The Secret World of Arrietty” is a no-brainer. Do yourself a favor, and enjoy a film that will change your expectations for all 2D films to follow.
*****/***** (five out of five stars)
Running time: 94 minutes (1 hour and 34 minutes) Released: February 19th, 2012 (USA) July 18th, 2010 (Japan) Rated: G