Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty

Get out your giant silverware and tiny adventuring gear, we're reviewing The Secret World of Arrietty!
I loved it. EVERY. SINGLE. GORGEOUS. FRAME. AAAAAAAAHHHHHH SO PRETTY. That was me during every second of watching this beautiful wonderful film.

Arrietty(Bridgit Mendler) is a borrower, living with her paranoid mother(Amy Poehler) and adventurous father(Will Arnett).  They live in a house within a house with beans(their word for human beings).  When Arrietty is accidentally seen by the new arrival, Shawn(David Henrie), their family has to act quick to escape the meddling housekeeper!

If you're not already aware, Studio Ghibli films are freakin' gorgeous and The Secret World of Arrietty is no exception. It's just the kind of movie that makes me froth at the mouth in exhilaration, something that is frowned upon in most theaters.  I am so elated that there are still animated films being made like this, in which every frame looks like a living painting.  There's so much intricate detail in every shot!

I'm also in love with how much effort they put into building the world. I can't say it feels realsitc(they have bugs with googly eyes after all) but it's a world that makes sense. When it rains on the borrowers, great big drops form on them that they brush off. Water to them is handled in droplets, as in they don't just take a regular teapot and scale it down, they actually think about how a teapot of that size would opperate.  And then there's all the little contrapions they use! Spring loaded pulley systems, double sided tape as climbing tools, woven clothes they use to fly throguh the air, it's magical. You can tell how much work they put in to building an enjoyable world.
Will Arnett can act straight! 
I thought all the voice actors did a wonderful job in their respective roles. Mendler had a wide range of emotions for Arrietty and Hernie is very light and reserved as Shawn. Amy Poehler is delightfully over the top as the paranoid mother, and I was surprised that Will Arnett could play it so straight as the responsible father.  He can have a very calming soothing voice when he wants to. It also has a beautiful soundtrack.

This also gets put on my list of movies of WHY THE HELL IS THIS NOT A VIDEOGAME YET?! It feels like the perfect environment to play through, especially the world they built and some of the included levels scenes. it would be so much fun to traverse a giant kitchen in which the environment is a giant puzzle, or to have a co-op mission traveling with a bean, sitting on his shoudler as he stomps around and completling puzzles together with each of their strengths. Is anyone listening? Please?

It was a nice little story, and it hit all the high points of sadness, fun, and joy, a wide range of emotions that made for an entertaining movie expierience. The only aspect I didn't like was the housekeeper. I can't understand why she is so evil, and what her motivation for being the villain is. It isn't really established well in the beginning, so it feels as though she just decides to be evil for no reason. And there were other people who said they beleived in "the little people", so I don't even understand why she was hung up with that either.  But this is only a minor annoyance.
It's still a wonderful, silly, GORGEOUS film, and one of the better Ghibli incarnations. Maybe it's not my favorite(that would be Porco Rosso), but it's still a joy to watch.

THE GOOD: AAAAAAHHHHH SO BEAUTIFUL, cute characters, nice story, great world they built, nice soundtrack.

THE BAD: Couldn't understand the housekeeper's motivations

THE VERDICT: Go see it! Even if you don't have a small child to take, it's still the best animated film out there right now(you heard me LORAX).

MOVIES LIKE IT: The Borrowers, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicca

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: Arrietty climbing up the side of the house. Beautifully animated, interesting how she gets up there, and funny interacting with a fluffy cat and an angry crow.

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