Disney's The Secret World of Arrietty Movie Poster

I grew up on “The Borrowers” by Mary Norton and loved each and every book as it came out (yes, I’m that old).  The stories of little people living under the floorboards and “borrowing” all the things we thought were lost in the house was a magical part of my childhood.

Over the years I’ve recommended the books series to many people and my own boys read them as children.  So imagine my surprise when on a recent Disney Press Trip we were treated to a surprise movie.  Within minutes of the film starting I teared up and softly said, “It’s The Borrowers.”  There in that private screening room where fat cats and studio heads determine what makes it to screen and what gets scrapped, I got a piece of my childhood back.

Was it as good as I remembered it?  Movies rarely are as good as the books and in this case, the books are still better.  I still love the essence of the story and they did capture that, but they added a few modern touches in the script that just felt wrong to me.  The Secret World of Arrietty is set in a time when kids were sent way to the country for their health, and cell phones were decidedly not of that era.  Still, I loved Arrietty and her friendship with the boy.

It’s a slower movie – no car chases, no explosions, and that’s why I liked it.  But some children used to constant lights, flashing and more of a video game-type movie might find it hard to sit through it, which is kind of sad.  It’s definitely a magical story.

Disney’s The Secret World of Arrietty Official Trailer

The Secret World of Arrietty

Disney

Website

Genre:   Animation/Adventure

Rating:   TBD

Release Date: February 17, 2012

Voice Cast:   Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, David Henrie, Moises Arias

Director:   Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Producer:   Toshio Suzuki

Screenplay by :   Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa

Based on “The Borrowers” by:    Mary Norton

Version:   Gary Rydstrom

English Language Version:   Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall

English Language Screenplay by:    Karey Kirkpatrick

Residing quietly beneath the floorboards are little people who live undetected in a secret world to be discovered, where the smallest may stand tallest of all.  From the legendary Studio Ghibli (“Spirited Away,” “Ponyo”) comes “The Secret World of Arrietty,” an animated adventure based on Mary Norton’s acclaimed children’s book series “The Borrowers.”

Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (voices of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty (AIR-ee-ett-ee) remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to “borrow” scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn (voice of David Henrie), a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty’s family from the home and straight into danger. The English language version of “The Secret World of Arrietty” was executive produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, and directed by Gary Rydstrom. The film hits theaters Feb. 17, 2012.

Notes:

  • Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most influential and admired filmmakers working in animation today and is a major figure in the Japanese cinematic landscape. His films have inspired moviegoers and colleagues around the world, from Pixar’s John Lasseter to fantasist Guillermo del Toro to Chinese director Tsui Hark, and consistently top the box office in his native Japan.
  • Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, a top animator at Studio Ghibli, was responsible for the animation in a signature scene in “Ponyo,” in which Ponyo runs atop ocean waves.
  • English language voice talent director Gary Rydstrom is a seven-time Academy Awardwinning sound designer/mixer (“Terminator 2: Judgment Day”). He joined Pixar Animation Studios as an animation film director in 2003.  His directorial debut for the studio was the Academy Award®-nominated short film “Lifted,” and he directed the short film “Hawaiian Vacation,” which was released with “Cars 2” in June 2011.
  • Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall are highly successful producing partners whose films, separately and together, include “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “E.T.,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” the Indiana Jones films and the Jurassic Park films. In total, Kennedy and Marshall have earned 11 Oscar® nominations.
  • English language screenplay writer Karey Kilpatrick’s credits include “Spiderwick Chronicles” and “Over the Hedge,” which he also directed (with Tim Johnson).
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