For over two decades, the enchanting traditionally animated features of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata’s Studio Ghibli have been awing audiences at home in Japan, and increasingly around the world. The directorial debut of Ghibli animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Arrietty was penned by Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa from Mary Norton’s 1952 classic The Borrowers, which has been adapted into live action movies many times in the past few decades.
The film centers on Arrietty (voice by Bridgit Mendler), a small but spunky 14-year-old “Borrower” who lives with her parents (Will Arnett, Amy Poehler) under the floorboards of a suburban home, unbeknownst to the home’s owner and housekeeper (Carol Burnett). Rather than a straight adaptation, the Studio Ghibli team opted to update Mary Norton’s novel to take place in modern-day Japan, and imbue it with the studio’s trademark finesse for conveying emotional relationships, human quirks and the inherent magic of the natural world.
As director Yonebayashi divulged in an interview with film journalist Rob Carnevale last year, Miyazaki was the mastermind behind the project, and had actually wanted to adapt the book some 40 years ago.
In fact, Yonebayashi is the youngest ever director of a Ghibli feature, and the first animator to be moved up into the role. For North American version director Rydstrom, the task of properly translating a foreign language film is still a surprisingly intricate task, despite his previous experience on Earthsea. The director is very appreciative of the entire adaptation team, which included writer Karey Kirkpatrick, whose job it was to take the flat, literal translation and breathe and characterization into it.
The Ghibli films can be particularly tricky because of the vast differences in the language.
In their turn, the unimpeachable voice cast were similarly challenged by the need to match mouth movements with mathematical precision while still sounding natural. The careful editing allowed some flexibility with the voice performances, Rydstrom notes, insisting that when it becomes a choice between getting the right feeling or hitting the synch, the performance wins out every time. One of the “cheats” Kirkpatrick used, as Rydstrom reveals, were to add in or extend shots where the speaking character is off camera or has their back turned. Contributing much to the efficacy of the translation is the incredible voice cast that Disney has assembled. Fans of Japanese animated films and series are always curious (and at times annoyed) about what changes will be made to “Americanize” the characters and stories they have been so eagerly waiting to see.
After going back to read the books in preparation for the project, Rydstrom says he was struck by how well the original film captured the feeling of the stories.
The global scale of Arrietty’s influences extend even into the music, with a score from French composer Cecile Corbel (who also wrote and recorded the lovely theme, “Arrietty’s Song,” in Japanese, English, Italian, French and German). This project could truly be considered a metaphor for the growing interconnectivity of the animation industry, and the world in general. Touching moments like these are just a small part of what is sure to make this animated take on Mary Norton’s tiny heroine into a very big star.
Beaming fifteen-inch figures stand at rubbery attention in front of a roaring fake fire in a cleared-out hotel bar. Perseus, a demigod in denial, undertakes a perilous journey to get something he needs to kill something else and save the world. This lovely fare for the read-to-me set teaches a life lesson: illiteracy can lead you to needless fear, yet crafty arranging of the letters of the alphabet can build a ladder to freedom for your pals in peril. Arrietty (Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (Carol Burnett). My family recently had the opportunity to preview The Secret World of Arrietty at the Ward 16 Theater Complex. This post was written for Walt Disney Studios who provided the complimentary tickets in exchange for my honest preview.

A Hawaii Mommy Blogger since 2006 sharing product reviews, giveaways, local family friendly events, parenting resources, and her daily life as she raises 3 young girls in paradise.
Reviewers at An Island Life are sent a complimentary item in exchange for their honest opinions and receiving a free product does not influence their review posts. Occasionally, the company provides a product to give away as well as monetary compensation. Arrietty isn't your ordinary fourteen-year-old girl - she's small enough to make her home under the floorboards of a typical house, 'borrowing' what she and her family need from the giants in whose shadows they live.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agreed to the Privacy Policy and the Terms of Use. Thanks to its partnership with Disney, the works of this acclaimed studio are being brought to American viewers with faithful English-language theatrical releases with reliability and skill. Disney’s English-language version is directed by Disney’s Gary Rydstrom (Lifted, Hawaiian Vacation, Tales from Earthsea U.S. When a new human boy named Shawn (David Henrie) comes to live in the house, he spies Arrietty during her first “borrowing” foray, and their secret friendship risks putting her family in grave danger. The traditionally animated film has been widely praised for capturing the sense of scale of the world seen from the point of view of its tiny protagonist, and for the startling moments of humor and wonder derived from it. Miyazaki had said, ‘Let’s make a heart-rending story.’ Then, considering that younger members were assembled for this project, I wanted to capture a beautiful world that is full of vigor, just like the fresh sprouts springing to life,” the director explained. Miyazaki tapped the 38-year-old artist after admiring his work on the studio’s 2008 hit, Ponyo. The key was in finding ways to keep the new dialog natural and expressive within the confines of the original animation, and remaining true to the characters and the film—with the added challenge of balancing fealty to the Japanese adaptation as well as the English novels. This was somewhat alleviated by the efforts of supervising sound editor Jonathan Null, who delicately manipulated cuts between syllables and takes to enhance the character performances as well as match movements. As Rydstrom notes, the characters’ distinct personalities are so evident in the animation that the actors were easily inspired by watching the film. Because Ghibli put such a priority on being true to the heart of the books, little of such tampering was required.
He also marveled at how “incredibly British” the books were, and how that quality survived through both iterations of the film in details like a beautiful Victorian doll house meant to lure the little people.
Based on the novel, The Borrowers, the movie shares a story of friendship, trust, and courage. They were in Shaun’s room trying to get a piece of tissue when Shaun turns and spots them. Shaun even goes as far as removing the Borrower’s kitchen and replacing it with the one from the dollhouse.
The scenery was beautifully colored and I felt like characters were living in a watercolor world. She was always freaking out with worry whenever her husband left on a borrow and was convinced he would get squashed or eaten by a roach. A young boy named Sho befriends Arrietty, but when adults discover the Borrowers, Arrietty and Sho must work together to save her family.
Disney’s latest import is The Secret World of Arrietty, which premiered in Japan in 2010 and has already grossed $126,368,084 worldwide. Yonebayashi strove to provide a fresh perspective and a richly detailed world for Arrietty to inhabit.

OK.’” The team also took advantage of wide shots during long speeches, especially during scenes where Shawn (the human boy) is out in the large, open garden. Amy Poehler’s frantic, excitable worry-wart mother plays hilariously against the almost supernaturally calm dad, Pod, voiced by Will Arnett.
Although even Rydstrom admits he is not quite sure where the decisive line lay—for example, Shawn’s name was changed from Sho, and his great aunt Jessica’s from Sadako, while the housekeeper Haru retains her Japanese name. It is a shared appreciation for story telling and the magic of animation that brings such well-loved characters to life in new and exciting ways each year. Titans, the mythological offspring of Uranus and Gaia only appeared in the first film as a mention in opening narration. This time the narrator (John Cleese) tilts the page to slide slumbering Winnie along the edges of paragraphs. But when 12-year-old Shawn (David Henrie), a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. It begins when Shaun is sent to his aunt’s home to stay while he undergoes heart surgery. He tells her not to be afraid but she accidentally drops a cube a sugar she had borrowed and the pair quickly retreats.
Arriety’s father finally decides that life under the floorboard is just too dangerous. We are not responsible for those who purchase these items and experience different results. Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, who helped with American takes on Ponyo and Persepolis, also executive produced the new version. Rydstrom believes that Bridgit Mendler—a relative novice in the voiceover arena—particularly shines as Arrietty.
It will make a mint—it will buy the mint, tear the mint down, and fill it up all over again—which will help pay down Disney’s $4 billion-plus acquisition of Marvel, but which will only encourage them to make more meshuggah mayhem with an ever-attenuated attention span. One of the toy animals belonging to the boy Christopher Robin, whose misspelled and misread note triggers the plot, will ask what happens next. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty’s family from the home and straight into danger. He says that once the Beans (beings) know about the Borrowers their curiosity can’t help want to know more. They decide that the best thing to do to ensure their survival is to leave and find a new home. I also enjoyed the instrumental soundtrack which I could totally see myself listening to on a quiet Sunday afternoon – very soothing and serene. When you’re working with Decepticons, a sentient race of mechanical beings that preceded film executives, you can hope to be the biggest and the best, but at best, you could only ever be ne plus Ultraman. With tunes by Zooey Deschanel and the voices of Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, Tom Kenny, Travis Oates, Bud Luckey.

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