I do love Studio Ghibli. Though I haven't seen a lot of their movies, I haven't yet seen a bad one, so that's always a good indication. I guess they're my second favourite animation company after Disney (now they've enveloped Pixar anyway).
Arrietty is an adaptation of The Borrowers, so I guess Ghibli are falling into the same vein as Disney with the whole adaptation thing, seeing as Ponyo was based on The Little Mermaid. Arrietty is the daughter of a small family of borrowers who live underneath a house belonging to big people. They get by "borrowing" things that won't be missed, such as scraps of fabric or single lumps of sugar. Crafting their own furniture and subsiding on meals cooked from the large scraps they find, all is well in the household, until Arrietty is discovered by the human boy living in the house, with whom she forms an unlikely friendship.
Arrietty is beautifully animated, but I wouldn't expect anything less from Ghibli. Drops of water fall from leaves, grass blows in the wind, every aspect of the two houses is beautifully detailed. While I usually prefer listening to the original Japanese audio when watching anime, I watched Arrietty with the English dub since the kids were watching too. While most dubs are awful, Ghibli movies are normally excellently handled, and this movie is no exception. The voices are all great, and the sound effects and music that accompany are absolutely flawless. The mellow, sweeping music creates a calming atmosphere, and indeed, while Arrietty is quite uneventful compared to your average animation, even the average Ghibli movie, the whole atmosphere drew me in, and I sat back just marvelling at how great it all looked. It's a peaceful, friendly family movie, and it certainly kept my four-year-old captivated throughout.
My rating: 5/5