By TOMMY BOND
The latest Japanese adventure from the creative genius of Studio Ghibli takes us into the world of Borrowers, teeny tiny people who make their living by “borrowing” from us full-size folks. I guess you could call it stealing, but when one cube of sugar is enough to last the whole family for months, who’s really counting, right? Although the film was co-written by master Hayao Miyazaki (based on the novel “The Borrowers”, by Mary Norton), his absence is felt in the director’s seat. There is a certain lack of artistic detail here, it’s small to be sure, but it’s noticeable. Watching Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke is spoiling to any film thereafter, it’s unfair really. What those films also have that Arrietty doesn’t is a strong opposing force, a truly compelling plot. This film begins to drag a bit when the novelty of the story wears off. But only a bit. For most of the film I sat in awe of the film’s astounding ability to put me in the shoes of these little people, to experience their world and culture in a visceral way. There is a scene that takes place in a kitchen, a room that to Arrietty and her father is a vast canyon of sights and sounds. The dripping sink threatens to consume our senses, the ticking clock booms across the room. For all of us who ever sat in the front yard, eyes to the ground, and watched ants traverse the grassy inches of the lawn wondering what it would be like to be that small-this film is for us. It’s magical.
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi.
Running Time: 94 Minutes.
Released in theatres: February 17th, 2012.