Monday, February 20, 2012

Movie Review Monday - The Secret of Arrietty

The Secret World of Arrietty
Let me start off by saying that I’m a huge Studio Ghibli fan, specifically Hayao Miyazaki, with my favorite films probably being Porco Rosso, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle.

The Secret World of Arrietty has much of the trademark beauty that you would expect from Studio Ghibli: stunning imagery, beautiful colors, and a deep sense that you’ve visited somewhere else. The attention to detail is phenomenal: there’s a box of cherries from Yamagata in the family kitchen – Yamagata is where I lived in Japan. Going to see a Miyazaki movie is like walking through the Louvre with a soundtrack and a storyline.

That having been said, I wasn’t as wowed as expected by this movie.

One of the things that I have come to expect from a Studio Ghibli movie is the fantastical. Characters that may be influenced by folktales, or even deeply borrow from them, but all viewed through the Miyazaki filter. Seemingly at every turn, one is treated to a bizarre character or new magical being.

But I didn’t get that from this movie. A few little people are magical, but, in my opinion, not up to snuff for Studio Ghibli.

Though, I feel, that’s not the biggest disappointment in this movie. The movie is really about the two main characters, Arrietty and Sho (Shawn in the English version), and the relationship they form in the face of distrust between the wee people and the human beings. The problem is that I don’t feel they spend enough time on the screen together to form the bond they’re supposed to have. There are also a number of missed opportunities to make the film not quite so slow to evolve, but those opportunities are passed by.

So definitely go see this movie, on the big screen even, for maximum beauty. You can also expect a slow sumptuous feast for the eyes, and a heartwarming, but semi-sluggish storyline.

««« ½
3.5 / 5.0

Official Movie Trailer:

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