The latest Studio Ghibli animated feature to make it to America, The Secret World of Arrietty boasts the same beautiful and elegant craftsmanship expected of all the Japanese animation company’s films.
Written and supervised — but not actually directed — by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, The Secret World of Arrietty has all the polish of a classic Miyazaki film, but is closer in plot and characterization to classic American animated films, which might boost its accessibility for U.S. audiences. Based somewhat loosely on Mary Norton’s classic The Borrowers children’s novels, the film may in fact seem somewhat familiar to American kids. See the trailer above.
I very much hope The Secret World of Arrietty will succeed, as it has the potential to become a classic of the genre. The dubbed voices of Amy Poehler, Will Arnett and Carol Burnett (among others) fade seamlessly into the film as though it had been made with them in mind.
The only thing I don’t love about the film is its title, which I’m afraid might not resonate with U.S. audiences because of the unfamiliar “Arrietty” (which is taken from the Borrowers, but still isn’t exactly a commonly heard name). Still, the movie has the weight of Disney’s marketing behind it, so let’s hope it finds the audience it deserves.