Wednesday, May 23, 2012

3 Short Paragraphs: The Borrowers

2011, Tom Harper (Misfits) -- TV movie / download

Actually, I am not sure of the exposure my memory has to  the classic Borrowers or even why I think classic.  Was it the 1997 Jim Broadbent movie?  I know I have seen at least bits of it but I have no clear memories of seeing the whole movie.  Was it the original 1952 book?  One of the earlier TV adaptations?  I don't recall but I know I was attracted to this world building idea of little people living beneath our floor boards "borrowing" things they need to survive.  I have always had a decidedly un-boy-like fascination with doll houses, miniature environments so delicately detailed.  The idea that there might be little people making use of them makes me grin.  Unfortunately lil guy, that tiny toaster I have is of no use to you.

So, we knew the Studio Ghibli movie was coming out / was released in Japan so it was no surprise BBC would do their own re-do.  They attached Christopher Eccleston to it and Robert Sheehan shows up as the rebellious Spiller but beyond that, it was standard BBC fare.  Stephen Fry as the Bad Guy is the light in this as he is just maliciously amoral and completely unaware that what he wants to do to these little people might be considered cruel.  They are not real humans after all.  I have no clue why they had to add a punky hacker type, ala Lisbeth Salander, as his sidekick.

Just like all my memories, the best part of the movie, which felt like the first episode of a typical british mini-series, was the beginning focused on the house and their initial forays into the world of human beans.  The climbing and crawling, over sized props and amusing uses for cast off junk tickled my grin.  There is a hint of the danger of being 4" high imparted but I felt the dark past that Eccleston carried was a little too much.  Once we were into the adventure story involving too many humans, I was not as enthralled.  And I have pretty much blocked out the plot element of the child human sidekick to Arriety, the curious and isolated heroine.  I know it's the original plot but, really, I think I ignored it then as well. All in all, this felt like exactly what it was, christmas fare built by the BBC to entertain idle kids.  And it made me all the more eager to see the animated one.