First, I must say this: I am a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki. I believe he is a genius artist and filmmaker who manages to create incredibly original pieces, even if he bases them on novels.
Such is the case of "The Secret World of Arrietty", based on Mary Norton's novel "The Borrowers." The story follows Arrietty, a young girl who stands only a few inches off the ground. She is one of the "Borrowers," tiny beings that borrow small objects from humans. If one of the Borrowers is seen, they are forced to migrate to a new home and start a new life. Unfortunately for Arrietty, on her first borrowing job she is spotted by Shawn, a boy Arrietty's age with a medical issue with his heart who is immediately fascinated by her and her secret world below the floors of his home. Though Arrietty is at first very scared of the boy, she slowly begins to become close with him and believes he is not a threat. As Shawn and Arrietty bond, Arrietty and her parents face the bigger threat of Shawn's housekeeper, Hara, who wants to capture the Borrowers in order to prove that her accusations of having things stolen by little people are true.
Overall, I enjoyed the film. As it is a Japanese animated movie, "The Secret World of Arrietty" has fantastic visuals and designs. The painted backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous. Every working piece of art in the film seems real, as if a viewer could grab an object right out of the film. It seems the only unrealistic artwork are the characters themselves, as they maintain their cartoonish yet wonderfully crafted nature. The voice acting in the film is great as well, as it is a film dubbed by Disney. Disney Channel stars Bridgit Mendler and David Henrie do a fabulous job in the roles of Arrietty and Shawn, while Amy Poehler and Will Arnett add their talents to the roles of Arrietty's parents, Homily and Pod. Carol Burnett provides excellent comic relief in the role of Hara.
Is the film perfect? Close, but not quite. Though one of his many great works, this isn't the greatest Miyazaki film. That honor goes to his 2001 masterpiece, the Academy Award-winning "Spirited Away." Overall, though, if one loves Miyazaki, or animation in general, I would highly recommend "The Secret World of Arrietty."
Jesse Orrange is a freshman at Kenmore West High School.
"The Secret World of Arrietty"
3 1/2 stars (out of 4)