The Borrowers (Arrietty) Review

Published on by Benzaie

 

Hey guys Benzaie here for something I pretty much NEVER do, giving you my thoughts on a movie I just saw... But this is special, I'm talking about Kari-Gurashi No Arietti from Studio Ghibli, which SHOULD eventually come out in the US under the title "the Borrowers"... and before you ask, YES it's better than the movie starring John Goodman !

Although the movie isn't directed by Miazaki, the guy did the screenplay and his style obviously transpires through the character design in this one. The movie is directed by Yonebayashi who actually worked on Spirited Away. Before moving on to the movie itself, I have to mention that the soundtrack is strangely not composed by Joe Hisaishi as one would expect ! It's actually composed by a French woman named Cecile Corbel... So be warned that the soundtrack of the movie sounds nothing like what you'd expect from a ghibli movie, and eventhough I was a bit scared at first, the score eventually got the best of me when I realized it really fits the quiet and relaxing tone of the movie...

The Borrowers as a story is nothing new really: A young boy is resting at his aunt's in the country side where a family of borrowers, these tiny humans that steal what they need to survive... Arietty is the young female borrower that lives with her parents who think they might be the last of their species... I won't unveil anymore of the plot but the story kicks off like a initiation journey and eventually moves on to be your usual love letter to nature ghibli has been known for since...forever ?

Don't get me wrong, the movie was GREAT ! It perfectly fits in the ghibli catalog (unlike fucking EARTHSEA) and it also features the level of excellence you'd be expecting from a Ghibli movie. The animation is gorgeous, tons of very good ideas  are stuffed into this feature film... You might not see something as impressive as the famous Tsunami scene from Ponyo, but still the animation of water particles, clothing & insects just hypnotized me, when I wasn't already triping just from watching the backgrounds... The team did a freacking good job when the viewer gets to experience the Borrower's point of view: everything looks massive and threatening, emphasizing the luxury we take for granted in our every day lives as humans... Special mention to the sound design as well, again, making a single crack in the wooden foundation sounding like a clap of thunder...

but enough with the technical stuff, you get the idea: it's gorgeous and it moves brilliantly. I aslo found that I enjoyed the movie's pace a lot more than some other ghibli movies, even Spirited Away, it's not a roller-coaster either, but the script is really efficient and you wouldn't get bored even watching it a second time, which I think is rare enough to mention. I just had a blast and walked out of the theater with a smile on my face...

As I said, the themes covered are the standards with Ghibli. Living up to your parent's expectations, growing up, keeping a sense of wonder in front of any manifestation of Nature, protecting the forest and all that stuff... At first I was really into it, as the way this little family struggles to survive was a subtle way  of making you aware of all the wasting and pointless shit we're doing and the destruction we cause... What I mean by that is that it wasn't too much IN YOUR FACE so it was appreciated... that until a really cheesy dialog occured in the second act that sincerely drew me out a little, where a character actually say such things as " Plenty of species are dying these days, because of the ravage humans are doing bla bla bla"... THAT WAS in your face, AND pretty stupid... but it picked up with gripping scenes about holding fragile lives in your hands, litterally, and sacrificing the comfort of the big to arrange the situation of the tiny... sure it does sound naive and it might be frankly but don't think the audience is treated like a baby either... Don't expect something as spectacular and mature as Mononoke though, but the sort Grandiose Intimacy shown in the Borrowers is definitely something to see for any Ghibli fan but also for anybody not allergic to animation... It JUST CAME OUT in France this week, otherwise I would have gladly put it in my top movies of 2010...

Thanks for tuning in, and hopefully see you at Angouleme International Comic Book Festival this late January !

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Comment on this post

Kleiner Kokiri 01/16/2011 16:32


Yes, benzaie my man... that dialogue sounds stupid.

The only constant thing in nature is change.
And mankind actually DOES try to conserve things like they are, as long as it is an advantage to us.
Species die all the time ~ for example, if they fail to adapt to their changing environment. And if an enemy gains some evolutional advantage over them.
Man doesn't want that.

On the other hand, we killed all wolves and Bears in Germany because they were a danger to our people.
We changed things probably to the better for us, but it can be argued if it's was a good thing to do.

Nature is all about violence and domination. The only difference between animals and humans, is that animals act on instinct, while humans can plan it's future more out.


Ghibli always does quality animation and im sure this film looks georgous as well.
Because one of the ghibli founders once badmouthed lolicon, i doubt i'll watch this though.