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Monday, February 20, 2012

Arrietty the Borrower

The Studio Ghibli movie Arrietty finally opened in the US this weekend. But since I rarely get out to the cinema, I decided to finally crack open my UK edition DVD. And yes, it's actually dubbed with British accents instead of American accents!

Not surprisingly, being the rabid Ghibli/Miyazaki fanatic that I am, the movie inspired me to spend my entire day off rendering the main character in Lego...

I can heartily recommend this movie to any Ghibli/Miyazaki/Japanime fan! It's not a Miyazaki movie in the normal sense; Miyazaki's involvement was a little more perfunctory on this occasion. Nevertheless, in the grand Miyazaki tradition, Arrietty is 80 minutes of meticulously detailed, pollen-drenched, hazy sceneporn - with a delightfully simple story and touching characters, totally bereft of any of the formulaic elements of a Hollywood movie. So I expect American audiences will hate it! The only thing I did not like about the movie was the lack of a Joe Hisaishi soundtrack (like eating fries without salt!).

About the model: Too often I end up just building a character and photographing it on a plain background. But I felt this Lego character deserved a proper Lego setting. The hand is a fully three-dimensional 2X Lego recreation of my own hand, the palm rising several inches above table level and the wrist arching back at 45 degrees. The ivy leaf is based on one I plucked from the wall outside my Lego room. The background was shopped in, since we had very poor weather and light in Seattle today. It all looks much more impressive "in the flesh"!

And to understand the signifiance of what Arrietty is holding, go see the movie!


  1. Superb! I'm a big SG fan myself. I haven't seen this movie but your post has prompted me to order it on blu-ray...

  2. Very nice! I saw the movie this weekend with my kids. I loved the slow, simple storyline. It sort of sticks long after the movie has ended. The animation has an old fashioned look to me, which took a little getting used to but did help to give the movie its own personality.

  3. ...if you're family is like mine you'll probably find yourselves working your way through the entire Miyazaki back catalog before too long! Its very easy to get sucked in - his movies stay with you for a very long time. Oh, and they're not all as laid back as this one - some good action movies in there too!