After numerous award winning, blockbuster, and generally spectacular titles it is hard to not watch a Studio Ghibli film without high expectations of excellence. The Secret World of Arrietty is no different. Released on DVD February 2012 in the US, it is a must own for any fan of anime, fantasy adventure, and heartwarming tales of bravery.
The movie tells the story of two teenagers. One is a young boy with a heart condition that threatens to kill him even with an emergency surgery. The other is a girl who is only the size of a grasshopper whose family is in danger of extinction. Both must learn to consider their mortality and while face life with hope.
Arrietty is the only daughter of Pod and Homily Clock. As a member of a dying race of 4 inch tall people, known as the Burrowers, she must fight back bugs, birds, cats, as well as normal humans. She wants to become a full time Burrower and begin going on adventures with her father into the home of the Beings.
When she is seen by Sho, the boy with heart problems, her family is discovered by his aunt. After years of persecution for her belief in the Burrowers, she plans to capture Arrietty’s family and put them on display for the world to see.
Masterfully drawn, this film is a work of art frame by frame. The story is as important today as it was at the time its origin in 1952. The ideas of natural selection, bigotry, and subsistence will leave you thinking for days and weeks to come.
The film has a few minor problems with voice acting in the American dub. The boys Sho and Spiller sound not only fake, mismatched, and fake that their characters drug down some of the plot. Different choices or direction may have greatly improved the watch-ability of some of the more touching moments.
Overall this film is great for children and adults and will surprise and amaze. For just plain awesome film making I give it 4 out of 5 dancing hamsters!