Coming Soon: The Secret World of Arrietty

“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.”

Do you remember the book The Borrowers? About a family of little people and their adventures living, hidden, in a house of regular sized people?  When something small, like a thimble or sugarcube, would go missing it was because of the Borrowers – friendly, yet fiercely private little people.

Get ready to be swept away, and discover a secret world within our own. Walt Disney Pictures is releasing Hiyao Miyazaki’s latest Studio Ghibli film “The Secret World of Arrietty” on February 17th.  Arrietty is based on Mary Norton’s award winning childrens’ book series “The Borrowers”; Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki considered doing a film based on the novel for 40 years.  Written by master storyteller Hiyao Miyazaki, and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the animated fantasy film was initially released in Japan as “The Borrower Arrietty” or Karigurashi no Arrietty.

“Arrietty” is the story of a 14 year old girl – a Borrower – who lives hidden under the floorboards with her parents. She is discovered by a human boy, Shawn (Sho) who has moved into his great Aunt’s house while awaiting heart surgery. They become secret friends. When the Housekeeper discovers the Borrower’s home, Arrietty’s mother is captured. Arrietty and Sho must rescue her, and the Borrowers must set out to find a new home.

Details of the North American release:

  • Voices:  Bridgit Mendler (Arrietty), David Henrie (Sho/Shawn), Amy Poehler (Homily), Carol Burnett (Keiko/Hara), Moises Arias (Spiller), and Will Arnett (Pod).
  • Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi (making his directorial debut as the youngest director of a Ghibli film)
  • Producer: Hayao Myazaki and Keiko Niwa (Miyazaki supervised the production as a developing planner)
  • Executive Producers, English Language Version: Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall (who also executive produced for “Ponyo”)
  • Music:  French musician Cécile Corbel wrote the film’s score and theme song, “Arrietty’s Song”.  (According to Wikipedia, “Corbel became known to Ghibli filmmakers when she sent them a fan letter showing her appreciation of their films, together with a copy of her own album. After hearing the album of her music she had sent them, they thought they should collaborate with her for the music of this film.”)  For the film’s North American release Bridgit Mendler, the English voice of Arrietty, recorded “Summertime“.

The Ghibli Blog quotes The Wall Street Journal:

Disney will open “Arrietty” on at least 1200 screens, in what will be its largest Ghibli release in the U.S.  “I just want to do everything I can to help make sure people can go see them because they’re just magnificent films that are very different than any other animated films these days,” [John] Lasseter said in an interview.

Looking for a review of “Arrietty”? When the film is released in NY, we are going to see it, and I’ll post a review. So, be sure to check back!

Hiyao Miyazaki:  The kids and I have been doing a study of Miyazaki-san’s works, and have watched most of his films – from his earliest, up to his latest. We’ve watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky (Laputa), My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo.  We have become huge fans of the legendary animator – and Studio Ghibli – and have discovered and come to love the amazing Joe Hisaishi. I will be posting reviews of all these movies over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, if you and your family like “Arrietty”, you’ll be sure to like other Miyazaki films.

As Miyazaki himself says:  “I want to create movies that inspire children.”

He [Miyazaki] says that he wants to make films that say “I wish that there were such people/things/a world,” rather than “this is the way things are.” He makes films for children and young people, and he thinks that it is important for them to see the world positively and have hope.”

Summertime…

Arrietty’s Song

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