If the story of The Secret World of Arrietty sounds familiar, it’s no wonder; this animated film from Japan is based on the children’s book series The Borrowers by Mary Norton, which was also the basis for a 1997 American live-action comedy film starring John Goodman. But, as produced by Studio Ghibli, makers of Spirited Away and Ponyo, this adaptation is a different beast entirely.
In this version, 12-year-old Shawn (voiced by David Henrie) moves into a home also occupied by little people who live under the floorboards, among them spunky 14-year-old Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler). Shawn is ill, so he doesn’t go outside much, but as he becomes aware of Arrietty and forms a bond with her, his world changes. Arrietty and her family are “borrowers”—that is, tiny folk who “borrow” small quantities of what they need from big folk to survive.
Additional voice talent in this dubbed-to-English version comes from the likes of Carol Burnett (as the housekeeper hunting the borrowers), along with Will Arnett and Amy Poehler (as Arrietty’s parents).
But it’s the visuals, and the witty, moving retelling of this familiar story, that make The Secret World of Arrietty such a winner of a film. While the package includes a DVD and digital copy disc, you’ll want to watch the Blu-ray version, where the beautiful colors and drawings from Studio Ghibi are at their most captivating.Buy The Secret World of Arrietty (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) on Amazon