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March 2nd, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty

Starring: Bridgette Mendler, Will Arnet, David Henry, Amy Poehler, Moises Arias, Carol Burnett, Gracie Polleti, and more. (US Version)

Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi From the Novel "The Borrowers" by: Mary Norton Screenplay by: Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa Original Music by: Cecile Corbel

Premise: Arrietty has come of age and gets to go on her first "borrowing" trip with her father. Unfortunately, she is seen by a sickly human named Shawn, one of the greatest taboos of her tiny race. Yet Arrietty finds herself strangely drawn to the boy and he to her. (Rated G)


1) Voice Acting - Thumbs Up - Bridgette Mendler is perfect as the brave and inquisitive Arrietty. David Henrie also does a great job, Shawn's despondency at his possible fate yet his need to connect coming through quite nicely. Carol Burnett is a hoot as the maid Hara. Amy Poehler was a lot of fun as Arrietty's overprotective mom. Nice job by all involved.

2)  Artwork/Animation - Thumbs Up - There's a reason why Disney likes to import Studio Ghibli's works. Not only are the stories great and appealing, but their unique art style with the gorgeous backdrops are a feast for the eyes. Major kudos to the creativity by Miyazaki's people in creating a believable world of little people. The physics of normal liquid drops for those of that size was well done and helped give their lives a unique flavor, which pulled you that much further into the secluded family's miniature world.

An amazing amount of well thought out details. And just enough diversity in the glimpses of the city and the location of Aunt Jessica's house that this could be just about anywhere if you don't look too deeply. Maybe even your own home.

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up - A simple seeming story with very deep subtext. A number of points are touched upon, yet the adult viewers are left to realize some of the harsh realities behind them by the hints given, yet not spelled out to slow the pace of the fun for the kids.

Loved the coverage of a lot of points of view; how the concept of little people affected not only the Borrowers but the humans who came to believe in them as well. And also seeing for ourselves the inherent dangers in discovery for all involved. 

If you ever cry at movies, like I do, make sure to take some tissues. You'll probably need them. I did!

Conclusion: A lovely film by Ghibli Studios! With the cat, the crow, and the bugs, should have enough action to keep the younger kids entertained as the older ones thrill at all of Arrietty's adventures. Definitely enough fodder and depth for the adults to enjoy the experience as well.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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