Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous film!, 15 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Arrietty [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Firstly, lets just get this out there, this is a beautiful film - Studio Ghibli's insistence on its artists drawing everything instead of relying on computers to do the work, really shines through. It gives the film a (typical for the studio) old school look, whilst compromising nothing in the quality of the animation. Colours are bright, textured and stunning from the foreground to backgrounds - just amazing!

Secondly, the film itself. Having been a long term fan of 'The Borrowers' (Mary Norton's book on which the film is based) and, more recently, a big fan of Studio Ghibli - I got to approach my viewing from two different angles.
'Arietty' is based upon only the first Borrowers book (although there are nods to subsequrnt novels 'The Borrowers afield' and 'The Borrowers afloat.) And whilst there are some subtle changes, the core of the story remains intact.
Arietty is the only daughter of Pod and Homliy Clock - who are Borrowers, tiny people living beneath the floor of a country house. They 'borrow' things from above the floorboards that the humans won't need or miss (aside from the odd sugar cube anyway). The story takes us through Arietty's first trips 'borrowing' with her father, Pod. During the borrowing, Arietty is seen by one of the big people, a small boy named Sho who has been sent to the country to recover from an illness (similar to the book). This prompts the Clock family to consider moving away as, once seen, the Borrowers feel they are in danger. However, Arietty doesn't quite see things in such a black and white way and secretly befriends the boy.

The story from here, which I won't spoil, follows very closely to the book though some things have been streamlined and the film does introduce another character who doesn't really feature until the second book - but all of this is done with care for the original stories and assists in creating a little more watchable drama for the Clock family.
I saw the dubbed Blu-Ray version and thought the voice acting was excellent, though a little jarring at first with pretty much all British voice talent (Olivia Colman is fantastic as Homily) - though there is also a US dubbed version that I was expecting - I was quite glad of the british accents once I got used to it. The voices also helped create an unusual blend of something that looked so Japanese whilst simultaneously being quintessentially English!

I also felt this film sits comfortably alongside other classics from the Studio (Spirited Away, Howl's moving castle, etc.) and was handled with a lot of due care and attention to fans of both the studio and the stories. A lot of the small changes have been made to keep the focus of the tale on Arietty, it is very much her adventure we experience (such as when she is seen early on by the boy, in Mary Norton's version it is actually Pod who gets seen). For this viewer - I thought it really made the narrative flow well and thus my enjoyment of the film increased! I'm sure some Mary Norton purists would disagree (although the few I know are lovely people and point out this is the tale of 'Arietty' not 'The Borrowers').
Highly recommended for Boys and Girls of all ages!
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Initial post: 21 May 2012 17:43:27 BDT
Thanks for the review. If you have the UK blu-ray, could you please check the language/subtitle options in the disc menus? I'm particularly interested in whether there are any options for Portuguese. Thanks!
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R. Keech
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Location: Berwick upon Tweed, UK

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