DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read David Graham's film review of Arrietty

If you're sick of DVD extras that play out as little more than a verbal group hug, then the double-play disc of Arrietty is for you. It features a smart and insightful 25 minute interview with Hayao Miyazaki that not only offers a good level of detail regarding the genesis of the project and its creation but also an analysis of the state of Japanese animation today. Although he clearly likes his chosen (first-time) director Hiromasa Yonebayashi - nicknamed Maro - he doesn't pull any punches. "He lacks urgency," he says, breaking into a grin afterwards, while of his work, he adds, "He played around with it so many times that eventually it was worthwhile". No chance of acquiring a big head while Miyazaki's your mentor, it seems.

Miyazaki is particularly at pains to point out that the young generation "lack curiosity". Using the latter half of the interview as a sort of call to arms to young animators, he says his director "needs to suffer" in order to get good.

Copy picture

As for director Maro himself, he's a rather sweet sort, who takes politeness to an art form. While he was surprised to get the chance to direct Arrietty, he has revelled in the opportunity and his enthusiasm for short scenes he drew in other Ghibli projects is infectious and endearing. His 40-minute interview touches on the difficulties of creating characters of such different heights while maintaining equality in terms of their personality and, while he says he can't recall "many good memories" of working with Miyazaki, he obviously has both an affection and a deep respect for the master animation craftsman.

The package is rounded out by somewhat less interesting interviews with the British cast members and a pop video by Cécile Corbel of the theme song. There are also storyboards and TV spots and trailers although they weren't included on the disc I had for review. You can watch the film with subtitles in the original Japanese or the excellent dub featuring a British cast. The extras are well-worth paying the £5 premium for the double-play version.

Reviewed on: 13 Jan 2012
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Arrietty packshot
Studio Ghibli's reworking of an English classic about very small people trying to make their way in the world.
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Product Code: OPTBDR 2427

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.85:1

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Director interviews, interview with Hayao Miyazaki, British cast interviews, TV spots, trailers, promotional video

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