View Poll Results: Rate and Comment - The Secret World of Arrietty

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  1. #51
    Leaping Larry Jojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheVileOne View Post

    I'm sorry you feel bad for Hara, but I think it's just her getting her comeuppance for committing bad deeds. It's karma. The Borrowers always try to go out of there way to stay out of trouble and take things people wouldn't notice or miss and not take anything of extreme value.
    Normally I don't think about villains all that much in movies, but thinking of people "getting what they deserve" is an unbecoming attitude when watching a Ghibli film. Ghibli has never been about "good and bad," and I think their past rep of humanism merits the audience to give each of their major characters the benefit of the doubt. I'm sorry, but I just don't agree with that kind of vindictive attitude, ESPECIALLY when reading a Ghibli film. If you think that is what they've been about, then I don't think you've gotten Studio Ghibli's philosophy for the past 25 or so years.

  2. #52
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    I'm not really sure any other way it could've gone. I think it's a bit much to argue that this movie some how sort of violates some sort of written rules of Ghibli philosophy. Not everything has to be the same and end the same way.
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  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheVileOne View Post
    I'm not really sure any other way it could've gone. I think it's a bit much to argue that this movie some how sort of violates some sort of written rules of Ghibli philosophy. Not everything has to be the same and end the same way.

    I think you misunderstand what I'm trying to say. I'm just saying that Ghibli is not a studio to split people down the middle into good and bad. There are characters you may not like or disagree with, but if you're compelled to react vindictively towards their villains, that's not what they intended. They've said this countless times in interviews that they don't believe in that kind of stuff, and if a character does elicit that reaction, then they feel they've made an error.

    At any rate, I think we've been getting sidetracked. Whether you give a toss about Hara or not doesn't really affect my original statement of the ending leaving every character in the film pretty much defeated in some way or another. It goes without saying that the "villain" would lose, but my argument was that all the other characters do too.

    It's tempting to try to read the film as optimistic, but extrapolating 6 months after the ending, I really don't think anyone is going to be happier going forward. Does anyone really think a perpetually morose character like Shawn would be hopeful for long? He needed Arrietty, and realistically, he's going to miss her badly given enough time. The Borrowers' existence is also constantly in flux. The odds are stacked against them.

  4. #54
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    What your question about Shawn really asks, it seems to me, is "did Shawn get any character development?" Did he benefit from his friendship? I'd suggest that this can amount to a "good" ending even absent happiness. To me the scene where he and Arrietty exchange goodbyes was intended to communicate that Shawn has in fact grown into a stronger person. He accepted Arrietty's worldview. While your interpretation is reasonable, I think it actually renders Arrietty uncharacteristically empty as Ghibli movies go and sells the tale short.

    While the parting is sad and it's obvious he's going to miss her, this is something a lot of people experience and get through. This is the angle for viewers to relate to and probably the essential reason Arrietty is described as a coming-of-age story. Given the emphasis the movie does seem to put on getting past the sad / bittersweet things in life, I think that makes the film distinct from a truly melancholy tone. That's something I associate with a movie like Shinkai's 5 Centimeters Per Second.

    In other words my view is that "bittersweet" is the perfect word to describe how the movie turns out. It's neither happy nor fixated on the pain of loss. It definitely is less happy than most of Miyazaki's films though (I've got to see Whisper of the Heart and From Up On Poppy Hill!).
    I would suggest that it's not the medium, but the quality of perception and expression, that determines the significance of art. But what would a cartoonist know? -Bill Watterson


  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by GWOtaku View Post
    What your question about Shawn really asks, it seems to me, is "did Shawn get any character development?" Did he benefit from his friendship? I'd suggest that this can amount to a "good" ending even absent happiness. To me the scene where he and Arrietty exchange goodbyes was intended to communicate that Shawn has in fact grown into a stronger person. He accepted Arrietty's worldview. While your interpretation is reasonable, I think it actually renders Arrietty uncharacteristically empty as Ghibli movies go and sells the tale short.

    While the parting is sad and it's obvious he's going to miss her, this is something a lot of people experience and get through. This is the angle for viewers to relate to and probably the essential reason Arrietty is described as a coming-of-age story. Given the emphasis the movie does seem to put on getting past the sad / bittersweet things in life, I think that makes the film distinct from a truly melancholy tone. That's something I associate with a movie like Shinkai's 5 Centimeters Per Second.

    In other words my view is that "bittersweet" is the perfect word to describe how the movie turns out. It's neither happy nor fixated on the pain of loss. It definitely is less happy than most of Miyazaki's films though (I've got to see Whisper of the Heart and From Up On Poppy Hill!).
    For sure, whether you read the ending as "bittersweet" or just plain "downbeat" mostly reflects one's personal point of view. I'm a pessimist, and having seen all-too-many morose types like Shawn in my life, I tend to think he's the type who will say one thing one day, and then go back to his old ways the next. He's not a very strong-willed character and gives me little reason to believe in him going forward. I don't think he can be compared to any normal person who will "get over it". Kid clearly has issues!

    However, I disagree with the idea that just because a character doesn't grow positively or that a film ends in a downbeat manner equates to emptiness. Sometimes positive character growth can be seen as cliched, in that sort of pat "Look, I learned something and grew up." kind of way. Not that I'm saying this is the case in this film, but I wanted to make the argument that a film can still be meaningful and pessimistic at the same time.

    For me, the film is less about how things end up than it is a story about enjoying the little things in life (no pun intended). The main theme of the film is that nothing is permanent--the relationship between Arrietty and Shawn was dynamic but brief, Shawn's preoccupation with his own mortality, and the home that Arrietty and her family lived in is gone and now they have to move. But they enjoyed their time there, and the connection between Arrietty and Shawn was special, even if they only knew it each other for a short time. It's almost like the film is saying that even if things end badly and you ultimately end up worse than ever, you have to appreciate those brief moments of pleasure. These moments may not make you stronger or more mature, but it's better to have them than not.

    So even if--as I believe--3 years from now Shawn is on suicide watch, at least he still has these memories!

    Yeah, I'm a sadistic bastard.

  6. #56
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    Good movie. It was less light-hearted and fantastical than Ponyo but I enjoyed the tale, cared about the characters, and especially liked the soundtrack, which had a sort of Irish/Scottish feel to it for me.

    As for the ending, I'd say it was bittersweet.
    Spoiler:
    Sure, Arrietty and Shawn reluctantly part ways, but at least Shawn survived the heart operation (he wasn't optimistic about it before he met Arrietty) and you get a hint that the borrowers are still out there.


    As for the dub, I loved it. Everyone fit their characters perfectly and the delivery worked. I suspect those who hate it haven't seen/heard it and are just having knee-jerk reactions to the fact that the cast members are celebrities. Seriously, that card is so played.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Daedalus View Post
    Spoiler:
    but at least Shawn survived the heart operation (he wasn't optimistic about it before he met Arrietty) and you get a hint that the borrowers are still out there.
    And apparently both of those things were only confirmed in the dub and the original Japanese ending was a lot more ambiguous. Ghibli approved the dub changes and I guess I can see why, but there does seem to be something particularly evocative about the idea of the ambiguous ending.
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  8. #58
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    I caught this with Pepperidge a few weeks ago, and I have to say I quite enjoyed it. It felt brisk and sweet, and have other have said, the animation was really quite lovely. It did lack some of the Ghibli cliches, but that's a healthy turn. It nice to see that company's new talent isn't just aiming to ape Miyazaki or any of the other Ghibli veterans. I hope we see more out of Hiromasa Yonebayashi in the future. He seems like a fine balance between respect for the Ghibli style while having a subtle and fresh voice.

  9. #59
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    This just hit the second-run theaters this weekend. If you're a knucklehead like me who missed it first-run now's your chance to correct your mistake.

    I believe it's actually illegal to miss a Ghibli movie in theaters.

    Really enjoyed it. Disney's done a very good job on their dubs and this one is no different. The theater was full of families, too. Good to see these films getting to their intended audience. It's the best performing Ghibli film so far (maybe because of it's western source material?), and it's good to see a big corporation like Disney putting all this effort into a labor of love that's thankfully now makings some money back for them.

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