Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty (2012)

           The artistry never disappoints from Studio Ghibli and this animated movie provides its own aspect of why it’s still so pleasant to see hand drawn stories.  I will state that I’m not bashing CGI in a subtle way for it is wonderful in itself, but it’s a splendid surprise to see the now becoming old fashioned style of drawing make it back to the main stream of cinema.  It’s based on the novel by Mary Norton about the borrowers, which is a different direction for studio Ghibli than their usual following.  The studio doesn’t generally base their animated tales off of books but did well in this attempt.  They did a wonderful job creating a world within a world with a minimal cast to help capture the attention of what was going on.

The past of the borrowers isn’t revealed other than the number of families that at one time lived in the house.  You wonder how they came to be into existence and you’re left pondering after the movie ends that same question.  The movie isn’t about origin or a history lesson, which I’m partial to but that’s my personal opinion, but instead of what the borrowers try to do to conceal themselves from the human beings.  It’s neat to see how they go about the home in search of only what they need not whatever they want.  It teaches a worthy point to not be as so greedy to take all you can whenever the chance allows you to, also the human beings would suspect something if you stored away too much of their actual belongings.

The boy, Shawn (David Henrie), sights Arrietty (Bridget Mendler) and unravels the secret of the borrowers.  It’s a process where Shawn’s grandfather saw them and even went so far as to build a dollhouse for them that sadly they were too afraid to ever live in.  The borrowers fear human beings would destroy the very existence they want to continue to have in secrecy.  There are some human beings who are nice and kind that would treat them with care and love such as Shawn.  It’s a better story though to have them deny any trust and pursue that life of a secret world to create some tension.  The housekeeper, Hara (Carol Burnett), would be that human being who would try to interfere more recklessly in the lives of the burrowers.  It’s interesting throughout as Arrietty begins to give Shawn a chance at kindness, wherein he saves her mother (Amy Poehler) from the somewhat creepy Hara, as his intentions were to solely protect them.  He is a sick boy with heart troubles and parents who are in a divorce.  The separation of them and from them, as he is living with his aunt, probably made him even more ill.  As the movie progresses you begin to fear the worst for him as the signs of sickness increase in small subtle ways.

The emotion in the movie is often felt and sympathizing with the characters really helps you appreciate the value of what’s important in your life.  In the end Arrietty’s family does move away as human beings saw them and the code of the borrowers is to leave once seen.  Shawn appears to live through his heart trouble as he mentions he returned the next summer to learn of things disappearing from a neighbor’s home down the road.  It closes with warmth that the boy did survive a heart surgery he was to have.  He learned from Arrietty to be brave in a world where being strong means something valuable to oneself.  If you enjoy fantasy then this movie will please your spirit.   It’s a delightful watch for a story with many important lessons to learn in life.
Rating: 10 of 10

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