Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty (DVD+Blu-Ray Combo-Pack) Review

DVD+Blu-Ray Combo-Pack Review of animated film The Secret World of Arrietty adapted from the book The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Secret World of Arrietty Blu-Ray/DVD Image © 2010 GNDHDDTW, © 2012 GNDHDDTW. All Rights Reserved.

Dir: Hiromasa Yonebayashi - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, David Henrie, Carol Burnett, Moises Arias
Japan, 2012

Reason to see: It's a selection for the 2012 Movie Moxie Book to Film Club, based on the book The Borrowers by Mary Norton which was our January 2012 Reading Selection

I absolutely adored The Secret World of Arrietty. I know I'm not the first person to jump out of the gate for animated films, but this one truly spoke to my heart. It follows Arrietty, a young girl in a family of 'borrowers', who are tiny people who 'borrow' things from humans like sugar and such, but need to remain unseen by the human eye. Arrietty is an adventurous and brave young girl who is very much looking forward to her first borrowing.

The film is based on the children's fantasy novel The Borrowers by Mary Norton, and was our first book in the 2012 Movie Moxie Book to Film Club. I love started the year off with a kicks book, and this one was a wonderful way to start the year as it has a lovely sense of wonder and nesting. The film does a great job of maintaining that sense of wonder and inventiveness, but shakes up the narrative style. In the book it's more of a story-within-a-story, and in the film we get to see the world purely from tiny people's perspective of Arrietty (voiced by Bridget Mendler) and her mom Homily (voiced by Amy Poehler) and dad Pod (voiced by Will Arnett). From them we see the different perspectives of their day to day lives which include the excitement of possible adventure from Arrietty, the day-to-day gathering of Pod and keeping the home fires burning with Homily. But as time goes on, it's time for Arrietty to learn the skill of borrowing from her dad Pod, and see that not only adventure, but danger, lies ahead.

I loved how the film blended the sense of adventure with the everyday, the inventiveness of creative re-purposing the borrowers do with the human items but it also acknowledges the challenges and dangers they face. There is an amazing relatability of what they go through, and I love how Arrietty gets to opportunity to grow, learn and develop new skills in this big wide world that's above them. And I absolutely adored the animation, it gives a great sense of the scale and vastness of the world and brings to life all creatures be they big or small, happy or cranky or even a bit of both. Truly magical.

It was great to see such a wonderful adaptation that maintains the spirit of the film, but also is brave enough to take liberties as well. A bold move that pays off and enriches the viewer's experience. I was happy to see that the DVD/Blu-Ray release includes a Japanese audio with English subtitles, which was very interesting to watch as well the differences between the versions and how the sentiment can change ever so slightly with different words, but always maintains the same spirit in the film and the journeys of the characters. I truly loved The Secret World of Arrietty, it was joy to see this wonderful world come to life and to see an spirited young female character take centre stage braving adventures in the big, wide world. Easily one of my favourite films of the year by far.

DVD Extras:
  • Bridgit Mendler "Summertime" Music Video (3 minutes) film tie-in video including film clips
  • The Making Of "Summertime" (2 minutes) music video clips, behind the scenes on filming the music video and interview with Bridgit Mendler including the inspiration for the song, the process of making the music video and
  • Audio Options: English, French or Japanese Audio
  • Subtitle Options: English, English for the Hearing Impaired and French
Blu-Ray Extras:
  • All DVD Extras (noted above) plus: Storyboard presentation of the film; Trailers - Original Japanese and Television Commercials and “Arrietty’s Song” Music Video The films theme song, performed by singer, songwriter and harpist Cécile Corbel
The Secret World of Arrietty is available on DVD, DVD/Blu-Ray Combo as of May 22, 2012. Check it out over at &

Shannon's Overall View:
I loved it
I can't wait to watch it again
I widely recommend it

See also:
© Shannon Ridler, 2012

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All content on Movie Moxie is written by Shannon Ridler, © 2006 - 2012