Epic adventure in miniature

Epic adventure in miniature

May 26, 2011
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Based on English author Mary Norton's The Borrowers, Karigurashi no Arrietty is the brainchild of Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki, who decided 40 years ago he would one day bring the tale to the big screen.

The setting has been changed from 1950s England to modern Japan, but the story is still about a family of tiny people living underneath a house. The family does everything it can to stay hidden from human view, and survives by "borrowing" things.

The trouble begins when Arrietty (voiced by Mirai Shida) accompanies her father on a "borrowing" mission and is glimpsed by a human boy called Sho (Ryunosuke Kamiki). This marks the beginning of a delicate relationship. But Sho's behaviour arouses the suspicions of the housekeeper, who hopes to get rid of the Borrowers at any cost.

Like all Ghibli movies, what is most captivating is the attention to visual details and realism. The effective use of sound adds colour: the crackling of the wooden floor, dripping water and human trampling all help to convince the audience they are in a miniaturized world.

Sadly, despite an interesting opening, the film somehow lacks the sense of adventure you'd expect from a Ghibli production, given Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. The climax is effortless and almost predictable.

But if you love Ghibli movies for mainly for the well-crafted visuals, this is definitely a joy.

YP rating: 4/5

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