Miyazaki knocks it out of the park again...but in a different way
I've always been a huge Hayao Miyazaki fan, so when I saw his name on this film, I instantly expected good things. I wasn't disappointed. This film displays what I can only describe as "quiet genius." As an earlier review notes, you won't get a lot of epic action scenes like in Miyazaki's other work, but I think that's okay for this film. The simple scene designs and the focus on interactions between characters left room for the imagination to fill in the blanks, which is a quality I've always liked in a film. I also liked the demonstrations of the different uses that the Borrowers found for everyday items that we take for granted. (I found the idea of earrings used as climbing gear especially clever.) On top of all that, I also got a few great laughs out of this film. I cracked up at the scene with the crow in the window and the scene where Arriety tried to figure out how a bow-and-arrow worked. Haru's obsession with "the little people" was a little creepy, but still made me laugh, especially when she was frantically going through the house, trying to figure out where her captive Borrower was. Overall, a heartwarming and entertaining film with something to offer both kids and adults. My rating: 5/5
Breathtaking Animation and Heartwarming Characters, but Not Much of a Story
As the title suggests the visuals are simply amazing, as is the sound, both effects and music. The brilliant combination of beautiful animation and carefully executed sound effects along with an excellent score bring the world of the Borrowers to life; it is almost like actually seeing through Arrietty's eyes. The movie is worth seeing just for its unparalleled art. From the fluid plant and animal life to the surprisingly accurate depiction of rain it is simply put one of the most beautiful films ever. It is like a painting come to life. That's the high point. The low point is the story. While not bad, it is simple and predictable. This is okay, because really the film is character driven. The interaction between the characters is heartwarming and they undergo enough character development to make them both interesting and likeable and the voice acting is very good. Again however it is all fairly simple. Simple isn't necessarily bad, but this film is not an epic adventure like Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke. A good description of the movie is small. It is heartwarming and entertaining and the art is amazing, but don't expect high adventure. 5/5 Stars. Despite the simple characters and storyline it is very enjoyable, especially if you are an animation fan or are looking for a good family movie that can be enjoyed equally by adults and children.
Worth it, I guess
First of all, it's Scenery Porn, capitals justified. This film makes even outdones Ponyo, blending some nice CGI in the mix. There are also some nice laugh moments, as might be expected from Amy Pohler & Carol Burnett. And...that's pretty much it. Simple story, bittersweet ending, certainly entertaining for the kids. No real surprises if you've seen the trailer or already know the studio's other films.