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mike js

Arrietty, the Borrower

I am excited to hear that July 29th is the release date in the UK for another animated film from Studio Ghibli. I have greatly enjoyed quite a few titles from this studio; beautiful animation, engaging and moving stories, and with a sense of otherness.

I hope that Arrietty will be another winner, being based on Mary Norton's Borrowers. Is anyone else a fan of Ghibli. or The Borrowers, or both?

Definitely a fan of Studio Ghibli. Their films can be watched again and again and not lose anything of their freshness. I always watch them in Japanese with subtitles. The language just adds to the magic.


Mention of 'The Borrowers' makes me chuckle, because I think of my granddaughter, when she was 4. We were watching TV together one day, and she said of the programme 'This is a bit like 'The Stealers''. I didn't recognise this, so I asked her for more details. 'Well, there are little people and big people, and the little people steal things from the big people'. 'Do you mean 'The Borrowers?' I asked. 'Yes! That's it!' she said.

No moral confusion for her: theft is theft, even if you label it 'borrowing'! Very Happy
mike js

I agree about rewatching them, Marita, and about the extra magic from the original voices. I gather that there is a dedicated dub of Arrietty for the UK, with separate cast from the US version that will be relased later.

I hope there is a DVD before too long, and these usually seem to offer a choice of subtitles or english dub.

He he, your granddaughter is very clear-minded, chris. I suppose Mary Norton would have had her books banned from schools if they were called The Stealers.
Green Jay

I loved the Borrowers as a child, and read the books about them over and over. I've never been totally happy about any dramatised versions, although Penelope Wilton and Ian Holm were well-cast as Pod and his wife (her name escapes me). I loved that idea of a small world within our big ordinary world. And I don't think their borrowing was anything like stealing... Crying or Very sad

At least it's studio Ghibli and not Disney. I've not seen their other films but they have a good reputation.
mike js

Oh yes, Green Jay, I remember seeing the adaptation with Ian Holm and Penelope Wilton. I do think The Borrowers is a wonderful idea for a story or stories, and they are well loved. In the upcoming film, Arrietty's mother is listed as Homily.

I loved The Borrowers when I was young - and also loved that TV series.  But am not a fan of Studio Ghibli, I'm afraid - though I love the idea of a Ghibli version of something so English.
mike js

I saw Arrietty yesterday. It is a lovely film.

I felt rather awkward, having no-one to go with and probably being the only adult without children in the place. Sadly, the cinema was almost empty. I tried to look like a researcher into animation!

I saw the english dubbed version (I think some cinemas are also showing the original Japanese, with subtitles). This is a 'British' version; there will be a separate US dub for the US market. Generally, I think this dub retains a lot of charm - but would very much like to see the original.

I can't remember the details of the Borrowers book, but I guess the adaptation is liberal, and of course with a cultural twist. The animation is terrific and with beautiful backgrounds. Interesting that the two key characters, Arrietty and the human bean boy, Sho,  are drawn in a more real style (with anime eyes, though!) while the others are slightly more caricature. Arrietty herself is feisty and adorable. The music is beautfiul, and the sounds of the the world heard on the scale of the borrowers are so atmospheric.

One careful detail was the way water at the scale of the borrowers was slightly gloopy with surface tension. Very effective.

The film has plenty of time and space to just be, so the plot moves sedately. The occasional bursts of dangerous action are all the more powerful for that. I don't know if some children might find it slow; it seemed to keep those in the cinema fairly quiet. There are some nice light moments of fun too.

A little environmental message that was put into a scene between Arrietty and Sho, seemed slightly forced to me but this was only a moment.

Overall, a work of art that is easy to admire and recommend. I quite fancy reading the first book again.
mike js

I have now seen Arrietty in the Japanese version, with subtitles. It was a chance to compare with the dubbed version, but mostly a chance to see the film again!

I would say that the english dubbed version very much respects the feel of the film. I must admit that in some other Ghibli films I have found that the dubs in U.S english seem to have a slightly jarring or roughened feel. Maybe this is just a clash of cultures. In any case, the british dub of Arrietty is very well done I think. (I hope I am not being prejudiced against U.S accents!)

Once again, a lovely film. Now I can also say don't be afraid to try the dubbed version.
mike js

Marita, I wonder if you have seen Arrietty at the cinema yet? From what I've read, it has received a lot of critical acclaim in the UK, but modest box office. Certainly, the two performances I attended in Cambridge were about 1/4 full if that.

I would say don't be afraid to see the UK dubbed version, it is very well done. though I know you prefer the originals.

I now have a copy of The Borrowers to read, when time and other books permit.  Meanwhile I am looking forward to a DVD release of the film. Hope that comes soon!

Mike, I live in Belgium and I’m not sure it is in the cinema’s here. It’s certainly not on in our local cinema which tends to have the latest releases.

mike js

Ah right, sorry for assuming UK, Marita. Anyway, I hope that the film will come to your local cinemas soon.
mike js

This is out on DVD or Blu Ray now. It has the original Japanese with subtitles or the English voice cast. (This is not a US cast; I think the US release is somewhat later). There is a  posh dual disc version (Blu Ray plus DVD) with really nice packaging and pictures.

A lovely film, and so I am reading the original novel to celebrate the disc release.

I saw Arietty on TV (film rented from digital TV provider) and have since seen the DVD in the shop where we’ve bought all our Ghibli films. I really enjoyed it when I saw it. It is all done with such care for detail and as you said the gloopy nature of the water is just brilliant.
mike js

I'm glad that you enjoyed it, Marita!

I recently watched one of the much earlier Ghibli films on DVD - Laputa: Castle in the Sky. I loved it. It is more of an action adventure, but with a grand fantasy and a hint of science fiction to keep me happy! The mining village in the film is apparently inspired by Welsh mining heritage, the director having visited Wales.

We have ‘Castle in the Sky’ on DVD, bought purely because it was a Studio Ghibli film. Another one we have is ‘Grave of the Fireflies’. This is the story of two children in Japan during WWII. Quite different for a Ghibli film as it is based on reality. Very moving without being soppy.

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