movies: arrietty

discover a secret world within our ownI think Arrietty is the first time that I've reviewed a movie that I've seen in the cinema after already seeing it beforehand. Okay, maybe the second time, but the first one doesn't really count.

It was slightly different because I originally saw the Japanese version, and this was the (UK) English dubbed version. And it didn't really make a lot of difference to my enjoyment... I think there were a couple of dialogue changes here and there, but nothing major. And the odd occasion where any English translation is a little bit... clunky. Or else the original writing was clunky, but I prefer to think it's the translation.

It's based (in an even looser way than say, Howl's Moving Castle, which ravaged the original story... whereas I think just took the concept and the names of the characters and left pretty much everything else) on the Borrower books by Mary Norton, which I will admit that I'm not familiar with. I know they exist and I know a movie version has been done before with a very young Tom Felton, but that's about it. So I can't comment on what has been included and what has been left out of the source material (although looking at the previous movie, it looks like Arrietty had a little brother that didn't survive the translation).

Like almost all (if not all) of the Studio Ghibli movies, while it's a very beautiful and very Japanese looking movie (you know what I mean... it's instantly recognisable as a Ghibli movie), it is a little slow around the middle... but not horrendously so.

The voice cast is solid... nobody that really stands out as great or below par though, but I will give some kudos to young Tom Holland as the voice of the young boy Sho... it's not a straightforward role since Sho has to display a certain fragility that I think Holland gets just right in his performance.

I'm not sure if the fact that we saw the UK version made any difference, but the only thing that wasn't translated in the whole movie (other than a couple of unimportant signs) was the note that is left under the sugar cube. It would have been easy enough to do, either with dialogue... and it appears that the US version may have an onscreen translation. For the record, the note reads... *very mild spoiler*... "You forgot something".

Even with it's slight flaws, it's a very endearing movie, although not the best Ghibli has ever made.

yani's rating: 3 sugar cubes out of 5

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