The Secret World of Arrietty - An Enchanted Magical Odyssey

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THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY, a Studio Ghibli and Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures Film, brings to the screen an enchanting animated story of summer friendship, youthful innocence, and family bonds.

Produced by Toshio Suzuki and Executive Produced, for the English version, by Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY is adapted from Mary Norton’s children’s novels, THE BORROWERS, that tells the tale an unknown world inhabited by tiny beings that dwell under the floorboards.

THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY, previewed recently to select members of the media on Walt Disney’s Burbank Lot, is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and, for the English language version, Gary Rydstrom. They have created an enchanting magical world where a family, The Clock family, lives, quietly going about their daily lives, living, loving, growing, becoming, until the two worlds, different only in size, meet.

THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY has so many exquisite elements, the animation is sparkling, the direction flawless, the dialogue is well written and captures, in tandem with voice talent and animators, the struggles of adolescence, the emotional turbulence of youthful defiance, the interactions and expectation of married couples and societal rules.

Arrietty, (Air-ee-ett-ee) voiced by Bridget Mendler, meets Shawn, voiced by David Henrie, a human, on the verge of manhood in a very patriarchal society, who due to his health is limited in his activities and is, in reality, considered a disappointment. No usual summers of little league or any exertion and so he is shipped away to his grandmother’s country home to rest and is cared for by her crotchety housekeeper Haru, voiced by the incomparable, Carol Burnett.

It is here the two worlds collide, the boy-man and the girl-woman, both headstrong and determined to see outside their small world boundaries. It could be an enchanting, summer odyssey, a love story, pinky pledges of forever friends, living a lifetime on a single summer of memories, and in a way, it does become that except, of course, like so many spoken vows after those long lingering never ending days of youth, of golden summer innocence, long talks, shared victories, mysteries: The season passes, families move and friendships fade like the summer sun.

Will Arnett and Amy Poehlor voice Arrietty’s parents, who understand the gravity of their situation even as Arrietty present her assessment with her new found friend, Shawn, in the equation. Shawn receives a chance, with Arrietty, to become a patriarchal leader, even if only for a moment.

As much as THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY is truly enjoyable, the storyline as it is presented, without understanding the back-story, the richness of the literature, or taking the time to care, defends or softens a life of home invasion and theft. As the script paralleled the novel it, as well as the film, depicts a family who steals to survive and in the end lives a life on the lam as their biggest fear of being caught becomes the reality.  

Understanding the deeper analogy, presented by Yonebayashi, of interdependence by every living thing upon each other, the circle of life or the Ying and Yang, the director uses people, these sympathetic characters, as the vehicle to allow for a clearer depiction of his message that we all coexist in the world with each other, the environment, plants and animals, and we mutually support life and become a full circle.

Walt Disney Pictures hosted THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY press junket recently at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.  Bridget Mendler, the voice of Arrietty, participated in roundtable interviews. She is talented, forthcoming, and gracious.

 In addition to her work on the DISNEY Channel’s GOOD LUCK CHARLIE, she is working on the screen adaptation and putting together an album on Hollywood Records. Her musical talent and songwriting skills can be heard in THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY as she was asked to create a song for the film’s score.  The song, Summertime, runs during the credits sequence and was produced by Theron “Nuff-U” Feemster.

THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY opens in theaters everywhere February 17, 2012.

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