Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Secret World of Arrietty

Walt Disney Pictures will release Studio Ghibli's 2010 film The Borrower Arrietty (also known as Arrietty in the UK) in North American theaters as The Secret World of Arrietty on February 17, 2012.  The film is based on the novel The Borrowers by Mary Norton.

The North American English dub features the voices of Bridgit Mendler (Disney's Good Luck Charlie) as title character Arrietty and David Henrie (Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place) as Shō, the boy who discovers and befriends Arrietty.  Also included in the voice cast are Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Matt Levin, Will Arnett, and frequent Ghibli dub star Tress MacNeille (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Kiki's Delivery Service, Pom Poko).

Bridgit Mendler as Arrietty. (source)

The Secret World of Arrietty marks the directorial debut of Hiromasa Yonebayashi , an animator at Studio Ghibli whose credits include work on Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and Ponyo.  Miyazaki co-wrote the screenplay and served as production planner for the film, which was produced by Toshio Suzuki. 

With the recent resurgence of interest in hand-drawn animation, thanks in part to the highly successfully re-release of Disney's The Lion King in 3D, I'm hoping that Arrietty does well with US audiences.  By the time February rolls around, it will have been about 2-1/2 years since the last Ghibli release stateside, Ponyo.  I'm also hoping Disney releases a few more Blu-ray titles from the Ghibli canon in an effort to drum up interest in this theatrical release.  After the US Blu-ray debut Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind last March, there hasn't been a peep from Disney as to when we'll see Castle in the Sky and/or My Neighbors the Yamadas on Blu-ray here.  With additional Blu-ray titles being announced in Japan on a fairly regular basis, Disney is falling behind!

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