Monday, February 6, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty - Disney Movie (based on The Borrowers by Mary Norton)

In college one of my friends belonged to an anime club. At the time I just couldn't understand the appeal of this animation style. The characters with huge eyes and dubbed voices seemed rather strange to me. Now, 15+ years later anime and manga/graphic novels are mainstream, and I've grown to appreciate the artwork and storytelling (mostly).

Anime adaptions of classic literature are not unheard of. I'm rather excited for Disney's movie The Secret World of Arrietty to open in U.S. theaters on February 17th. This Japanese animated fantasy film is based on Mary Norton's classic story The Borrowers. From the look of the previews, the classic story is updated, and "the Borrowers" live in a modern, suburban setting. The film was originally released in Japan in 2010 and did well in the box office. I'm interested to see how it fairs with U.S. audiences. Due to the animation style, I imagine it will appeal to a broader age range than the typical Disney animated movie.

Hopefully the release will also ignite a renewed interest in Mary Norton's original book! I'm reading The Borrowers aloud to my daughter this month. If you own a Kindle, you can download a copy of The Borrowers by Mary Norton for only $1.59 on

A number of well-known celebrities provide the voices of the characters in the U.S. movie release including Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Bridgit Mendler and Carol Burnett.

Here's the studio's summary of the movie:
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.

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Ticia said...

I'm really curious about the movie too because I LOVED the books as a kid, and am worried they're going to mess them up.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I'm not so sure I'd like to see this done in anime - but maybe it will ignite the childrens' interest in the books.

Jackie Higgins said...

I loved The Borrowers too. I hope the movie is good. I feel like it could go either way.

Little Wonders' Days said...

I love your description of anime! Thanks for the tip about the book on Kindle.

Playing by the book said...

We saw this last year and really loved it. Can definitely recommend it!

Perogyo said...

I am not a fan of anime except in special cases. This is one of them. We loved this (it came out here in 2010), and Miyazaki is a master schmaltz-less sweet. The eyes aren't too big either.

Hope there will be an English DVD soon!