|The mere fact that I see posters for this movie fills me with joy|
First, just a quick note about dubs. I know this film isn't exactly new, having been released in 2010 in it's original Japanese. I also know that some theatres had a choice between the Americanized dub or Japanese with subtitles. Now, normally with anime I'm a "subs b4 dubs" kind of guy, but with a limited release like this I only had the option for the dubbed version where I'm living, so that's the version I'm reviewing. That being said, Ghibli is known to put extra time and effort into quality dubbing, and the voices here (for the most part) weren't distracting and actually fit the characters quite well. Apparently there's also a dub featuring UK voice actors, and I'd be interested to see that version as well as the original Japanese in the future. Now, let's get on with the film!
|This picture practically oozes whimsy!|
In just the couple of minutes we're introduced to our titular character, Arrietty, and she is chock full of the type of zest and charm that Ghibli is known for when portraying their heroines. Soon we meet her family: the worry-sick mother and stoic father. And again, I'm reminded of why Ghibli is just a master when is comes to characters, because I instantly love this miniature family. Ghibli knows how to combine a solid script with top notch character animation, making these characters really seem unique, quirky and special. And even though the cast is small (no pun intented) it goes on to give every character a moment to shine, like meddlesome caretaker Hara, her chubby cat, or the wild borrower, Spiller. Shawn, the human boy character was the only character who took me a bit of time to warm up to, but I think that's mainly due to the dubbing, making some of his earlier lines walk a line between charming and creepy. But hey! Without spoiling anything, it's hard not to feel for the guy by the time the end credits roll.
|And everybody's jealous of Arrietty's whimsical room|
If it's being shown where you are, I highly suggest checking this one out in theatres, not only to promote foreign animation, but to show Disney that there is still in fact a market for quality 2D works. This is a true gem for family films. The story is wonderfully heartwarming, and it's a welcome change of pace from the onslaught of American done animated features both in terms of tone and hand drawn beauty. Every element is a joy, and it all works together to make this a charming and magical little story. (That time the pun was intended.)