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The Secret World of Arrietty Blu-ray + DVD Review

Reviewed by on May 21, 2012
Rating: 4 Star Rating

We reviews the Blu-ray of the animated film The Secret World of Arrietty, based on classic kids’ novel The Borrowers.

By: Lynn Barker

Let’s say you are a teen guy on vacation in the country and you meet a really cool girl. You guys go together like chocolate and peanut butter. This could be a great match. Problem is, she is four inches tall!

Story Details: Based on classic children’s book “The Borrowers”, “Secret World” is a beautifully-animated film about a family of tiny people who co-exist with us, living under country cottage floorboards, in sheds, etc. quietly and secretly borrowing household items they need to survive. 14-year-old Arrietty (voiced by Disney star Bridgit Mendler) is ready for her first borrowing expedition. It’s exciting and scary. She and her parents fear they may be the only Borrowers left alive in the world.

When frail and sweet human teen Shawn (David Henrie of “Waverly Place”) comes to stay in the cottage while he waits for heart surgery, the two meet and decide to help each other while sharing adventures and developing a strong friendship despite the warnings of the various-sized adults around them. 

Arrietty takes a ride on Shawn's shoulderArrietty takes a ride on Shawn's shoulder

Special Features: There are two music videos in the extras and they are very different.

“Summertime” is by Bridgit Mender. She wrote the sweet ballad about summer friends and fun and is the size of Arrietty in the special effects-driven video.

Summertime – Music Video (Bonus)


“The Making of Summertime” – has Bridgit talking about working against green screens so she could appear tiny when computer-generated effects were added later. Interesting if very short.

“Arrietty’s Song” is by Celtic harpist Cecile Corbel. It’s just beautiful but I couldn’t tell if she was singing in Japanese (because this film was originally made by famous Japanese animators Studio Ghibli) or ancient Celtic.

“Original Japanese Storyboards” – tell a lot of the story in some beautiful, and pretty detailed drawings. Very cool to look at, especially if you are into art.

Japanese TV Spot (Bonus)


Wrapping Up: The Secret World of Arrietty is a wonderful story of friendship and courage brought to animated life by the great Japanese artists who created Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, etc. The first thing you notice is how rich, detailed and “painterly” the backgrounds are. Wow! This film is eye candy.

Both the Blu-Ray and the DVD look really great!  Wish there were more extras but the music videos are cool and the voice actors, including the great Carol Burnett, Will Arnett and wife Amy Poehler as well as Bridget and David, are really convincing.

Bridgit Mender records Arrietty's voiceBridgit Mender records Arrietty's voice

Biggest drawback for kids and younger teens will probably be just how slow the story moves and how lame some of the intended jokes are. They don’t translate well from the original Japanese to English evidently.  Even with these problems, you can get into the sweet and sort of sad story of a mismatched boy and girl and how their friendship brings out big courage in both of them. Plus, you can’t beat this gorgeous hand-drawn animation. 

The Secret World of Arrietty: 4

The Secret World of ArriettyThe Secret World of Arrietty Blu-ray

The Secret World of Arrietty Trailer