16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
My favourite film of 2011,
This review is from: Arrietty Deluxe Collector's Edition - Double Play (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)In a summer big explosions, aliens, space ships, mutants, boy wizards, pirates, super heroes, and battling apes, you gotta hand it every once in a while to the little guys. Studio Ghibli, the creative geniuses behind Oscar winning Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, have delivered another home-run. Scripted by animation god Hayao Miyazaki (In my opinion the most talented filmmaker working today) and directed by first-timer Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the film is based on the ever-popular children's book The Borrowers (though I have to admit I've never read the book or seen the 90's film).
The film follows Arrietty and her Borrower family as they try to live in secrecy under the floor boards of an old house, inhabited by a sickly boy named Sho, and it is their friendship that is at the heart of the film. Problem is Borrowers fear humans. As the film shows, the two come from totally different worlds and struggle to co-exist- in a pivotal scene Sho gives the family a new kitchen from a doll's house and what appears to be a kind gesture from Sho is a catastrophe for Arrietty akin to a natural disaster! However, over the course of the film, the two learn to live and understand each other and their worlds.
Perhaps the best scenes of the film, and the ones that show best Ghibli's animation skills, are from Arriety's point of view. Whether it's staring out into the vastness of the garden, to empty blackness of the crawl space, to riding on Sho's shoulder, Arrietty's world is that of danger and small beauty. The physics of it all work really well and you totally buy through the entire film that Arrietty is only 10cm tall. A big credit must be given to the sound design, where even a tiny rain drop sounds like a waterfall or swinging of a needle is that of a sword - it's probably the best sound design I've heard in a film in a long time. Perhaps the best scene that shows off all these elements is during Arrietty's first `borrowing' with her father, combining very imaginative ways for the little guys to get around the huge kitchen. Put simply the aesthetics of the film are beautifully detailed and thought out, all contributing to pulling you into this world. The music by Cecile Corbel, while not as anthemic as Joe Hisaishi score, adds a folky delicacy and ambiance to the film.
Overall, this film is completely refreshing in the summer canon. It is a quiet, beautifully drawn film that draws you into its world for a brisk 90 minutes. While it has slipped under the general movie goer's radar I do highly suggest this film - and Hollywood could take a few notes also. Ghibli really understands the language of cinema, and how to make us relate to the characters. Every frame is filled with wonder, excitement and care for the project, while advancing the story. I love the kind of films where if you could turn off the dialogue you could still understand and follow the story - let the visuals and the music tell the story - Arrietty is definitely one of those films. Pure visual and storytelling delight for all ages, and my personal favourite film of the 2011. 9/10