The Secret World of Arrietty

I never read The Borrowers, only the Scholastic rip-off books, The Littles. At least, I’m guessing that was the impetus behind The Littles, which has only rated a cheap SatAM series, versus the two series and two features devoted to The Borrowers.

This is a propos of nothing. My mind wanders.

The Secret World of Arrietty is the latest Studio Ghibli movie to make it to these shores, and through the deal with Disney to receive a limited distribution and minimal advertising.

Well, that’s not fair. Disney used to give the Ghibli movies short-shrift, but since John Lasseter (of Pixar) took over, they do a good job of dubbing in English and released this to over 1,500 theaters. Nobody really went to see it, because we’re stupid Americans who don’t go see stuff that comes from England (like The Pirates) much less stuff from Japan.

But I digress. Again.

The Borrowers is the story of a family of little people who belong to a race of parasites who live off of normal-sized people. I mean, they call themselves borrowers but do they ever return anything? No, they do not. They justify their theft by saying they only take stuff no one will miss.

They probably download a lot of MP3s illegally, too.

Can you tell I’m having trouble focusing? It’s not the movie. The movie is very good. It follows the story of Arrietty, who strikes up a friendship with a sick young boy who lives in the house, and in doing so forces the whole family to move, since they’re not safe if the large people know about them.

It’s a charming film. More serious than most kids’ films, with the little people’s survival genuinely at stake, and a kind of bizarre antagonist in the form of an old lady who’s obsessed with the little people, to the extent of destroying them. I mean, seriously, she seems motivated by trying to prove they exist so people won’t think she’s crazy, but everyone pretty much knows they do.

It’s less serious than the books, though, where the boy is sent away to India.

This appears to be Hayao Miayzaki’s transition down from being a director. He wrote the script based on the novel with animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi at the helm. The overall impression is very reminiscent of the classic My Neighbor Totoro, though less fantastical than that film.

The Flower, the Boy and the Barb all approved, warmly.

Leave a Reply