‘Arrietty’ Film: Beautiful Yet Slow | Print |  E-mail
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Friday, 24 February 2012 14:48


By Trevin Smith

“The Secret World of Arrietty” is aimed more towards teenage Japanese animation nerds instead of younger audiences.

If your kid likes to draw give it a shot, however with a long story, little to no action and a sleepy dialogue, the movie unfolds more like an artsy festival animation instead of a Disney flick standard.


Based on Mary Norton’s 1952 novel “The Borrowers” and originally titled “Kari-gurashi no Arietti,” this U.S version follows Arrietty, a young teenage “borrower” the size of a pack of gum living in the floorboards of a house with her parents. They steal small objects from a human family yet try to stay hidden. When Arrietty is discovered by the teenaged house resident Shaun, their way of life is threatened.


This is a Disney production, but this time they left Pixar in Emeryville and headed a little further east, to Japan, where artists drew a manga influenced atmosphere to the film without the crutch of Westernized computer graphics that is truly brilliant.


However, out of all the sensual experiences a movie provides, not often is sound one that sticks out in such a profound way as it does here. As the audience follows the borrowers in environments ten times their scale, the director kept this in mind and adjusted the sound accordingly. Rain drops piddle paddle on leaves as birds chirp and bugs rustled around the floor, all sounding impressively larger than life.


But “The Secret World of Arrietty” falls short in the thrills department. It is a bit of a slow hour and a half; the actual plot is quite simple and short as many scenes show how the travelers move in a world larger than themselves.


Kids who are used to watching nonstop action and slapstick comedy in Disney films will be bored long after all of their popcorn is eaten up, but the Japanese animation fans will adore it.



Trevin Smith, who lives in CV, is currently studying journalism at Las Positas College where he has been the Arts and Entertainment Editor of the school newspaper, The Express, for the past year. You may read more of his work at www.LPCExpress.org and contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



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