“The Secret World of Arrietty” is another Studio Ghibli film. It is a film based on the novel and old TV series, “The Borrowers”. Little people live in a house with big people and try to get discovered, though you know they will. The question is if the big people will be mean to them or not, but with Miyazaki writing you know that they will always be kind and gentle… and there is the problem.
Visually, the film looks like many of Studio Ghibli’s other works. This pretty much means design and animation is not the issue. They certainly have a style that works for them and they know how to use it. Direction is solid enough, considering the screenplay, and voice acting (I watched the Japanese version) is solid.
The issue comes with the writing. I liken the experience to staring at a bowl of sugar for an hour and a half. At times I dare say it’s just about that entertaining. You always know things will work out, which lessens the “tense” moments. Even the people who are intended to be the antagonists are usually not all that antagonizing and once again fail to create the drama or tension you need from a story. The protagonists are nice, so you don’t hate them, but it’s hard to connect to characters that you know will never really have anything bad happen to them. I’m not saying they need to kill off a Borrower, but the illusion of something severe possibly happening would go a long way.
If you are a fan of Miyazaki you probably didn’t get this far in the review and consider me a fool. That’s fine. If you like his work and are fine knowing exactly what will happen, as you do ever time, then by all means go see it. If you, like me, only really connected to “Princess Mononoke” and had a hard time with all his other films then skip it.Trailer: