Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Secret World of Arriety: Film Platypus

Last night, my wife and I were able to sit down and watch Studio Ghibli's The Secret World of Arrietty, a film based on the Borrowers series by English writer Mary Norton.  I've never read the books (miseducated, I know), so I can't say how faithful an adaptation it is, but the film more than stands on its own merits.  Like all Studio Ghibli films, The Secret World of Arrietty combines strong, simple storytelling with incredibly lush and imaginative animation (there are moments when the color and detail in the film are almost painful).  The animation is worth the price of a rental (or a netflix slot) alone, but the story also is well worth the time being enchanting, heart-felt, and delightfully free of the irony and self-consciousness that permeates American film.  Speaking of culture, The Secret World of Arrietty does a wonderful job of synthesizing the British world of the book with the Japanese world of Studio Ghibli.  The story, the visuals, and the soundtrack are all a delightful and elegant fusion of East and West.  If you aren't used to Japanese cinema, there may be a few cultural quirks to navigate, like the penchant for speaking in monotone, but it's worth putting in the effort to reap the rewards of a truly beautiful film.  Just the way they paint the light on the leaves, or the way wood peals on an old screen door... 

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