'Arrietty' captivating and just plain fun

Monday , February 27, 2012 - 9:46 AM

Madison Ostberg

I bounced up and down on the balls of my feet anxiously waiting for the indecisive man in front of me to finally choose and purchase his tickets. The second I reached the window, I shoved my money into the small hole in the glass.

"One ticket to 'The Secret World of Arri ... Arruuoottee ... Arrreeee ... oh, however you say it!" I said exasperatedly.

Upon receiving my ticket, I sprinted down the hall hurtling over spilt popcorn and silently praying that the movie theater wouldn't be full. Skidding into Theater 15, I turned the corner and came to an immediate stop. Not only was the theater not full, but the majority of its audience were children under the age of 10. That's when I realized, even though I'm in high school (and can legally drive), I am still a child.

Most people have a favorite childhood movie, whether it's "The Wizard of Oz," or Disney classics like "Aladdin" or "The Artistocats." One of my personal favorites was Hayao Miyazaki's animated film "Kiki's Delivery Service." I found Miyazaki's films to be charming and magical, and as I grew older I made it a point to watch most, if not all, of them. So when I learned that Miyazaki had a hand in making the new animated movie "The Secret World of Arrietty," I practically flew to the theater to get my ticket.

The movie is based on Mary Norton's children's novel, "The Borrowers." It is the story of a young, sickly boy, Shawn, who goes to his grandmother's house to rest before a major operation. While there, he discovers Arrietty, a 4-inch-tall girl who lives in the floorboards of the house with her mother and father, all of whom are borrowers (they sneak into the house at night to take or "borrow" supplies that are usually not missed by the humans, such as a cube of sugar or a tissue).

Arrietty's parents, believing that all humans are trouble, do not trust Shawn, and try to convince Arrietty to leave. Against their warnings, Arrietty befriends Shawn, who in return tries to help the small family. In the end, Shawn's efforts to help and protect the small family only draw the attention of the housekeeper Haru, leading to more trouble.

I found this film to be a fun lighthearted story full of cool details, like a potato bug being used as a ball or earrings being used to climb curtains, and full of lessons, such as one can do great things no matter their size. The animation was brilliant to say the least and the characters were a fun mix, although what else can one expect from a Miyazaki film?

Hayao Miyazaki went in to animation at the age of 22 where he caught the public's eye with his attention to detail and captivating stories. Today, Miyazaki is one of the greatest Japanese animation directors and has even been nicknamed the Walt Disney of Japan. He has been involved in the making of over 26 films and shorts, and has won more than 48 awards including an Oscar. Some of his better-known films include "My Neighbor Totoro" (1988), "Princess Mononoke" (1997), "Spirited Away" (2001), "Howl's Moving Castle" (2004)and "Ponyo"(2008).



According to Miyazaki, "The Secret World of Arrietty" will be his last film; however, it's not the first time he has made such a statement. Eight years ago, after finishing "Howl's Moving Castle," he announced it would be his final film. Maybe there is still hope for more of his spectacular films.

Some readers may be wondering what's so great about Miyazaki's anime films. It's simple:

They are magic. Miyazaki makes films that transport the viewer into other worlds where anything is possible, whether it be witches with talking cats or little people living in the walls. Beyond the sheer fantasy, they teach basic principles similar to old fables, such as friendship, love, forgiveness and faith in one's self -- without all the Hollywood glitz.

As the credits rolled on "Arietty" and people began to stand up and walk out, I realized it's OK to still be a child. At least I still get to enjoy the wonderful world of Miyazaki.

Madison Ostberg is a junior at Bonneville High School. Email her at jdojdobob@msn.com.

See a clip from the movie:

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