Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Borrowers

The Borrowers (otherwise known as The Borrower Arietty, The Secret World of Arietty, or simply Arietty) is an adaptation of the 1952 novel The Borrowers by Mary Norton. It follows Arietty and her family as they are forced to move from their home, and how they receive help from a human boy named Sho (Shawn in the US release). The film was directed by Yonebayashi Hiromasa, who received supervision from Miyazaki, who took on the movie as a Producer.

I think they have an understanding.

Arietty and her family (father Pod and mother Homily) are Borrowers, a race of tiny people about the size of a human's thumb. They have lived in the home of Maki Sadako for many, many years, and are quite cozy there when the house is visited by Sadako's great-nephew, Sho. Sho is there to rest before receiving a heart operation, and happens upon Arietty by accident. Knowing full well that in order to survive, she needs to remain hidden, but Sho's persistence combined with her curiosity lead the two to strike up a friendship. Unluckily for them, they are seen by Sadako's maid, Haru, who decides to capture the borrowers for her own financial gain.

It was never very clear what she had intended to do with them, but i'm thinking something like selling them to science or a tabloid magazine.

Like many Ghibli films before it, The Borrowers is filled with delight, suspense, action, and heartwarming coming-of-age moments. One could even say it's a bit like a carbon copy of past movies such as Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away and The Cat Returns, but that's likely just a reflection of Ghibli's choice of story material versus a flaw in their design. Regardless of this observation The Borrowers was a joy to watch and I was more than happy to indulge myself with it.

I got you a berry. Bitches love berries.

Ghibli seems to have a penchant for countryside locales in their movies, and in this regard they do not disappoint with this movie. Each leaf and dewdrop is done with careful attention to detail, even in scenes where things are shown from Sho's perspective, not Arietty's. Of particular interest are The Borrowers' surroundings; given their tiny size it's quite interesting to see how they get around and make use of things such as nails and Christmas lights to navigate.

They're a very resourceful bunch.

The Borrowers was pretty standard Ghibli fare; I don't remember it being awful, but I don't remember it being a stand-out hit in the way that movies such as NausicaƤ or Howl's Moving Castle wowed me. It was, however, a cute, sweet little movie, without being too geared towards small children (in the way of Ponyo and Totoro). It has less violence and potentially upsetting moments, so you can still show this to kids, but it's not sickly-sweet the way that some of the younger-orientated Ghibli films are.

Ghibli rather outdid themselves on the backgrounds in this one.

The Borrowers is available from Toho in Japan, Madman Entertainment in Australia, Disney in the US and Studio Canal in the UK. torrents are easy to find through your search provider.

This one doesn't look as friendly as the ones in Pom Poko.



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