Watched May 17, 2012
Matt Day’s review:
I've long been a fan of Ghibli's style and the feel of their films is so wonderful, that has often carried them through for me when the story has been too slight (I sometimes find that when the fantastical element is lacking, Whispers of the Heart springs to mind) but The Borrowers lends itself so wonderfully to their sensibilities that this comes out as a beautiful little film full of magic.
The tiny people living under the floorboards in an otherwise normal world is perfect Ghibli territory and gives them a great opportunity to fill the world with intricate details and a rich tapestry of ideas and this will completely capture the imagination.
I could find fault with some of the characterisation, Hara's sudden turn to mad little-people hunter seems odd as she has always been convinced they are there, so she goes from 0-60 in a heartbeat, but there was so much to love it would have taken a lot to sour the experience.
I was surprised to see that it has different English language dubs for both the UK and the US, and having watched the UK version I really liked the way Mark Strong played Pod, and Saoirse Ronan's Arrietty was lovely, and I'm already struggling to think of them played by different people or the world existing at all with an American accent! In general though I have to applaud the continued high quality of the Ghibli dubs, so many other companies struggle with it (even a high profile release like Redline made some very odd dubbing choices) and having a good one enhances the experience so much allowing you to focus on picking out detail in the art instead of scanning the subtitles. I did enjoy this enough that I'll be going back and trying it in the original language as well though, I feel like it will just get better and better on repeat viewing.