The Borrowers are small, fifteen-centimeter-high humans, who live in the English hinterland. They live out their lives in mouse-hole sized nooks in human houses, and survive by "borrowing" ... See full summary »
On his ninth birthday a boy receives many presents. Two of them first seem to be less important: an old cupboard from his brother and a little Indian figure made of plastic from his best ... See full summary »
The Borrowers are four-inch high "little people" who live under the floorboards. When the owner of the house they live in dies and her evil lawyer Ocious P. Potter wants to destroy the house to build luxury apartments in its place, they start to fight him with the help of the son of house owner, Pete. Written by
I consider myself a fan of THE BORROWERS after watching the BBC children's TV series in the early 1990s. Recently I read the original novel for the first time and enjoyed it; I also saw the fine Japanese animated adaptation of the story, ARRIETTY. So I was interested, if not a little wary, to see how this American version of the story would held up. It's worth noting that I'd never seen it before.
Simply put, this is a travesty of a film and a huge disappointment for a true BORROWERS fan. Other than the central characters, the entire storyline has been jettisoned in favour of a bombastic, action-packed chase narrative in which the little people must team up to battle evil property tycoon John Goodman. This is about as far from the small-scale (pun intended) origins of the original Mary Norton story as it gets.
There are a few lights twinkling away amid the garbage; I'll be the first to admit that Jim Broadbent makes for an effective Pod, and Tom Felton shines in an early role. Celia Imrie isn't bad as Homily, but she's no match for Penelope Wilton. The special effects aren't too bad for the year, and few of them scream 'obvious CGI' like so many Hollywood films today.
So where did it go wrong? Well, the attempts to update the story for a modern American audience is a good start. The setting is some ridiculous 'netherworld' which mixes modern-day technology with 1950s-era Britain and America. It's ludicrous. Goodman's villain is poorly shoe-horned into the storyline and the subject of numerous fat jokes. Really? Is it right for a film to be teaching kids to constantly insult people due to their weight? The characters are badly written, the dumb humour consists of farting dogs and the like, and the whole thing has been dumbed down massively and lost the magic of the original. In the end it's just another soulless Hollywood effects piece.
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