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Secret World of Arrietty, The (Blu-ray Review)

24 May, 2012 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Box Office $19.1 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘G.’
Voices of Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Bridgit Mendler, Moises Arias, David Henrie, Carol Burnett.

The dainty Arrietty is just like any teenage girl who likes decorating her room and primping in front of the mirror. The main difference, however, is that she’s literally a fraction of the size.

Arrietty (voiced by Bridgit Mendler) and her parents (voiced by real-life comedic couple Amy Poehler and Will Arnett) are Borrowers, a breed of tiny people who are small enough to sneak into humans’ (called Beings) homes unnoticed and “borrow” (steal, rather) essential items for their everyday use. The Borrowers, a subject of lore among the Beings, live in a world where straight pins are swords, leaves are umbrellas and the dim solace of the floorboard is home. Each day is a battle for survival; the smallest misstep could get them killed.

When Shawn (voiced by David Henrie), an observant human boy with a heart condition, discovers Arrietty around the house, her defenses rightfully are raised. The gentle giant just wants a friend, but Arrietty has grown accustomed to fearing all Beings (and their curious pets). While his desire for companionship ultimately puts the fun-sized girl and her folks in jeopardy, Shawn’s intentions are pure. Upon realizing that, he and Arrietty develop a beautiful, genuine friendship, which is what they each could use.

Sadly, Arrietty and her family have spent most of their time in seclusion, thinking they were the next-to-last clan of Borrowers left. Circumstances lead them to learn otherwise, making for a bittersweet end to The Secret World of Arrietty, which does an excellent job of blending drama, comedy and action, if you can imagine that.

The Studio Ghibli animation, to me, hearkened back to a time when animated films didn’t rely so heavily on special effects to tell a story, and gave me the feeling that I was watching a classic from years past.

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