The Secret World of Arrietty This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

March 2, 2012
This is a review of Studio Ghibli’s trending film: The Secret World of Arrietty.

Arrietty, a tiny but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper. Like all little people, Arrietty remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to "borrow" scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shou, a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty's family from the home and straight into danger.

(Source: Disney)

The film’s genre is fantasy that stretches out to the Shonen and Seinen crowds (in other words kids.) The story itself holds common qualities from all Ghibli films: adventurous, graceful, enchanting and simply lovable. The plot is very simple and holds the basic concepts from the original British novel: The Borrowers. The conflict is a pretty broad concept of keeping the very existence of the Borrowers a mystery so that they can actually live safe lives. The plot progresses pretty well and shows effortless mastery.
Here our characters are all equal and just as expressive—whether they are normal sized or the size of your fingers.

Arrietty: the adventurous, kind, courageous and optimistic protagonist of the film. She is a pretty strong character in terms of standing out and helps the plot run pretty smoothly. Shawn is the sickly boy that holds the curiosity of Arrietty. He is very kind-hearted, generous, understanding and gives the kids a good feel for what a true friend should be like. Homily is the paranoid mother who’s always worried and can be seen to be slightly pessimistic at times, but that’s just her worrying most likely. Then we have Jessica (Sadako in the Japanese version) who plays as Aunt Sophy from the original novel. We also have Arrietty’s father Pod who is, by the description kindly provided by Homily, “the most talented Borrower”—he is the provider of the family and proves to be pretty cool. Finally we have Hara, the house maid (serves as the parallel to Rosa Pitchhacket from the novel.) Poor Hara has the role of the antagonist who is seen as cruel to the Borrowers and treats them like insects/pests (she does keep Homily inside a jar such as one would put a lady bug inside a jar as well with a plastic cover.)
The art is up to par with the rest of the Ghibli titles. This statement is in no way a criticism, it is a praise of their work—their films always portray simple designs that somehow are always achieving an easy flow. The movements of the scenery and characters give off a majestic enchantment to the viewers eyes that could set for a relaxing view. Ghibli art is always spectacular and should always be praised.

The main theme was “Arrietty’s Song” by Cecile Corbel. Cecile is a young and aspiring French musician who so happened to produce the film’s score. She is a very, very talented musician and from the sheer quality of the score, any listener should become a fan of hers and encourage her to continue her career with Ghibli and Disney. Even the score itself still shows some Asian-like elements that give the anime feel that also nicely compliments the art while keeping the spirit of adventure in every track with united dynamics to make one ominous harmony of grace. I later discovered the U.S. theme for the film that was titled “Summertime” by Disney start Bridgit Medler, who also did the voice of Arrietty. As expected from a Disney star’s music, there is an over-used style of pop that was utilized—which in my opinion lowers the standard of Cecile’s single and serves as a great disappointment. It is mediocre; however it is designed to attract younger kids. Besides “Summertime”, I loved the score and overall sounds of the film.

I personally enjoyed the film myself enough to watch all of the translations, re-watch the Japanese on my own time and the U.K. version with my sibling a few dozen times. I saw my parents enjoy it and found it to be watchable. I give this film a good eight out of ten over all; however I would rate the U.S. version a seven out of ten. I feel it is safe to assume that most families would find this film as not only enjoyable and watchable, but to think of this film as a piece of excellence—such as the other Ghibli works are and always will be.

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JessicaRae7 said...
Mar. 6, 2012 at 9:57 pm
Really good! It makes me want to go see the movie! :)
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