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The Secret World of Arrietty

4.6 out of 5 stars 427 customer reviews

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(May 22, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 Secret World of Arrietty is a remake of the magical fairy tale The Borrowers, as seen through the keen, imaginative eye of Japanese writer Hayao Miyazaki. The American version of this delicately, richly animated film is that rarest of children's movies--one that is a deeply engaging experience for adults as well. The visuals and graphics are gasp-inducing, yet never over the top or too showy. And the actors dubbing Arrietty in English, including standouts Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, and Carol Burnett, are expressive and emotive. The Secret World of Arrietty tells the tale of a small family of "borrowers," tiny people who live underneath the homes of the "beans" (human beings). The borrowers must stealthily gather small bits of items they need--a sugar cube, a sheet of tissue, biscuits--from the upstairs without being discovered by the beans. Arrietty is a plucky teenager (voice by Bridgit Mendler) whose parents (Poehler and Arnett) think she's ready for her first "borrowing" excursion. But meanwhile, a young "bean" named Shawn has moved into the house above them, to rest and prepare for a heart operation, and to be cared for by the flighty Hara (Burnett). Shawn thinks he might have seen… something… moving in the meadow where he rests and reads. It's not giving away too much to say that Arrietty and Shawn brush against each other's lives--and neither's is the same afterward. For any fans of Miyazaki's other films, and anyone of any age seeking immersive family-friendly entertainment that's life-affirming, The Secret World of Arrietty is a winning experience. --A.T. Hurley

Special Features

"Summertime" Bridgit Mendler Music Video|The Making Of "Summertime"

Product Details

  • Actors: Bridgit Mendler, David Henrie, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Moises Arias
  • Directors: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Buena Vista
  • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (427 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005LAIGX2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,375 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Secret World of Arrietty" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
This film is a must see for anyone who loves hand drawn animation. This is an experience filmgoers just don't get at the theater anymore and I praise studio Ghibli (and in tandem Disney as far as North America is concerned) for continuing this tradition. I also implore anyone who feels interested in seeing this film at any level go do so and support the studio, I would like to see them around for years to come and I don't think many will be disappointed with the experience.

First of all, no, Miyazaki didn't actually direct this time around. He only penned and planned the story along with other production guidance. So I'm okay with saying this arguably isn't Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, or Howl's Moving Castle, but this is that studio Ghibli magic you love. I feel it closely kindred to Kiki's Delivery Service or My Neighbor Totoro. I personally fail to see how any Studio Ghibli fan could walk away from this film unhappy. For that matter I fail to see how any child at heart could walk away from this film without a smile on their face. Films like this evoke a feeling of childhood and a sense of wonder.

The animation is gorgeous and possibly even more stimulating since we see virtually no hand drawn animation on the silver screen in North America (though so far this year I've been blessed with the Beauty and the Beast re-release and a Fullmetal Alchemist film at my small town theater). As far as Arrietty is concerned the background designers paid great attention to detail while the characters have that streamlined Miyazaki look but move with fluidity and such realism. It's very captivating to see the familiar concept of creatures living between floorboards in such a new inventive way. Seeing what they borrow from the humans and how they use it is part of the charm of the film.
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Format: DVD
I was lucky to have won tickets to this movie's preview and took my family to see it in NYC this past weekend - what a treat! To be specific, we are a family of three with a teenager in high school, and everybody just loved this beautiful new animated movie that's perfect for all groups. As with all the movies Ghibli Studio produces, this is a rich visual masterpiece that you will really get lost in, with very life-like vegetation and insect life serving as a background for a seemingly simple, but very heartfelt story.

Mr. Miyazaki does not disappoint, retelling the original children's story "Borrowers" by Mary Norton and placing it in the present, with the main characters being Shawn, a sickly boy who is sent to live with his great aunt and her maid Hara, where he discovers a secret family of tiny people that includes husband and wife Pod and Homily and Arrietty, their 13-year-old daughter who is just learning to "borrow," something her kind does to survive. As the story unravels, Arrietty's adventures are highlighted by wonderful scenes of the world from a point of view of a 4-inch tall person.

The ending of this movie does not disappoint, and I am definitely planning to see this movie several more times with my nephews, and to buy the DVD when it comes out to add to my Miyazaki collection. I would definitely recommend this movie, especially to a family with young children!
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Format: DVD
The Secret World of Arrietty is one of those rare films that only gets better with each additional viewing. Beyond the visual beauty and simple emotional honesty that engage you from the start, there's a world of seemingly endless detail that gradually emerges, giving the sense that you've entered into a deeply layered reality. The transitions from one shot to the next and from scene to scene are utterly masterful. Students of film making might study Arrietty to learn how all the elements of a film maker's vocabulary should be fit together for optimal effect.

I could go on and on like this, but the main thing I want to get across is that this is an unusually good movie--a rare pleasure for both eye and ear. (That last part has to do not only with the exceptional voice acting and sound effects, but also with the voice and harp of Cécile Corbel.) You really don't want to miss this one, whether you're an adult or a child. For children, a movie like this is pure magic--something that will stay and be fondly remembered. Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki can be counted on for things like that. Long may they shine!
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Format: Blu-ray
Studio Ghibli needs no introduction. They took us to the heavens in "Castle in the Sky", sent us into a realm of demons with "Spirited Away", and plunged us into a desperate struggle for protecting the forest in "Princess Mononoke." Arguably, no other anime studio knows how to nail complete immersion into a world, except for places such as Kyoto Animation and Madhouse. When it comes to making us believe every second of a story, Ghibli knows how to hit the sweet spot. With it's only misfire, the absolutely dreadful "Tales of Earthsea", etched into North American audience's memories more recently than 2009's excellent "Ponyo", there was some speculation at whether or not this would be the venerable studio's chance at redemption. Simply put: it is.

"The Secret of Arriety" is a wonderful film, up there with classics such as "Kiki's Delivery Service" and "Spirited Away." Based on the timeless children's story, "The Borrowers", it follows Arriety and her family, who are all Borrowers living inside the house of a disgruntled old woman. A Borrower is a sort of pocket human, a tiny person who goes around and takes things from humans that they wouldn't miss. Examples include a cube of sugar, or a single snack cracker. To the Borrowers, these things are massive hauls that will last them weeks. But their existence is threatened once the old woman who lives the house, Haru, discovers their presence and begins the first of many attempts to entrap them. It's only with the aid of kindly Sho, the woman's sick nephew who lives in the house, do they stand a chance at surviving.

It's instantly clear that, compared to much larger struggles seen in other Ghibli films, this conflict is relatively small-scale.
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Topic From this Discussion
Japanese Language Track?
Sorry I don't know.
I think the Blu-Ray came out in Japan already, so its possible they said its OK to include the Japanese track to it.

Do the other Studio Ghibli Blu-Rays come with the Japanese track?
Such as Nausicaa?

I do know that apparently this will include both the UK & US dub of the... Read More
Mar 24, 2012 by Eric R. Dent |  See all 7 posts
A cool book that I think Secret of Arrietty fans would like... Be the first to reply
release date? Be the first to reply
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