The Secret World of Arrietty, the latest film from famed Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli, opened nationwide today. Co-written by Studio Ghibli’s legendary co-founder Hayao Miyazaki and directed by his protégé Hiromasa Yonebayashi, The Secret World of Arrietty is based on The Borrowers, a classic children’s book by Mary Norton.
Fourteen-year-old Arrietty is from a family of four-inch-tall “little people” secretly living in a family’s home, borrowing dropped and discarded items to survive. Arrietty is discovered by Shawn, a frail teenage boy who moves into the spare bedroom to prepare for heart surgery. Despite the growing bond between Arrietty and Shawn, Arrietty’s family fears they may need to find a new home.
The film is dubbed in English and features the voices of Will Arnett, Carol Burnett, and Amy Poehler.
About the animation, Manohla Dargis of The New York Times writes,
“The world outside, unsurprisingly for Ghibli, is lush and inviting, by turns a dense jungle and an impressionistic landscape washed in gradations of green and flecked with red, yellow, and purple. Ghibli still uses hand drawings, along with computer-generated imagery, though it shuns 3-D animation, the near-ubiquitous process in which models of characters are scanned three-dimensionally or created directly in a computer. What the studio does, brilliantly, is preserve a hand-drawn look and feel in its work, as in the exteriors in ‘The Secret World,’ where the characters pop against a painterly meadow. Computers create extraordinarily photorealistic visuals, but here the human touch deepens the story’s themes of loneliness, friendship, the need for home and for being, literally, held.”