Friday, August 2, 2013

Film Review: The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

The Secret World of Arrietty (Review)
Japan/2010
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

A young boy named Sho spends a week during the summer in his mother's childhood home. Days before a critical surgery, Sho discovers the "little people" when he sees his cat attacking something in a bush - this little something is Arrietty, a borrower who, along with her father, borrow the things humans won't notice if they go missing.

The Secret World of Arrietty is a very calm and tamed adventure, yet it manages to be deep and meaningful. The adventure follows Arrietty as she travels through the home, the indoors and outdoors; what seems like regular objects to humans makes for a huge and exciting adventures for the borrowers, like scaling the curtains of a window or dodging animals like cats and crows. I like the perspective of the borrowers because it is very detailed and creative. Along with the adventure, Sho and Arrietty develop a deep yet subtle relationship; building a trusting relationship, despite their limited interactions. Although mostly a positive film, The Secret World of Arrietty features a great antagonist; I couldn't help but feel frustrated at her actions, the story really creates an effective antagonist without fully demonizing her - which is a great accomplishment. My only complaint on the story is, despite its 1hr 35 min runtime, it feels slightly inflated - only slightly, though, so I don't fault it significantly.

The animation is fantastic. The level of detail is amazing, especially with the different scales to be considered like the human and borrowers perspective. I thoroughly enjoy the detail in size, it definitely helped create a believable story. The animation of the characters also helped create genuine emotion - I can sense the excitement and amazement in Arrietty's movements and facial expressions. On that note, the same can be said about the superb voice acting - every conversations, no, every word is filled with pure emotion that helped me stay immersed into this wonderful, unique world. I haven't watched the film in English, I watched the original Japanese voiceovers.

So, as I said, the lush animation and emotional voiceovers are grade A - it doesn't get much better than this for contemporary animation; the Disney Blu-ray has fantastic picture and audio quality, and features the Japanese voiceovers and English subtitles. The music is also superb, the original soundtrack works well with the story and film overall; I wouldn't mind listening to this superb OST on its own. The direction and writing are fantastic. Arrietty is another fantastic production from Studio Ghibli.

Overall, The Secret World of Arrietty is a fantastic, heartwarming animation; a beautifully animated, emotionally voiced, and genuinely exciting adventure. I strongly recommend this film for fans of the genre, and fans of film in general.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Some violence.

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