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The Borrowers follows the adventures of the dauntless tiny Clock family, parents Pod (Jim Broadbent), Homily (Celia Imrie) and their kids Peogreen and Arrietty - a family of tiny four inch tall people who live under the floorboards of a big house, surviving by borrowing" from the "Human Bean" family upstairs. The Borrowers turn dental floss into tightropes, toaster handles into catapults, socks into beds, stamps into wall posters, and when their world is facing extinction - in the form of Ocious P. Potter (John Goodman) their resourcefulness knows no bounds. [Official Synopsis]

 Borrowers. The
The Borrowers is a story that's been adapted time and time again and will continue to be played with because its premise will always be fun to play with on film. Small people in a big world never really loses it's charm and whether it's a version of The Borrowers or Honey I Shrunk the Kids or Gulliver's Travels, there's some element of fun to squeeze out of the idea of a tiny person running around an everyday object with every new step in special effects technology.

This version takes the rather twee Borrowers beginnings and it goes big with it in terms of stunts and wild locations (a Milk factory, whoa!) but it  still manages to come off as a British TV show as opposed to a fully explored movie adaptation most of the time. The stunt/effects work do have their moments but even back in 1997 this wasn't exactly the cutting ege of digital effects work.

 Borrowers. The
The cast are enjoyable, the use of the Borrowers' world fun and full of imaginative uses of everyday items but it treads between a few too many time periods in terms of the style (metal wind up toys with Lego, Action Man with black and white TVs and a small slice of mobile phones too) and it somehow, to me at least, makes it feel more like a pantomime production rather than a lived in story.

Don't get me wrong I enjoy the wacky slapstick of all the John Goodman stuff but honestly it feels as if that's all the film really has. Everything else is a bit of the usual Borrowers set up at the start, Jim Broadbent then sits in a can for 60 minutes and the "plot" is basically smash up a lot of things to try and catch those pesky Borrowers kids. The child who discovers the Borrowers, doesn't really play like a big deal at all and the family these little folk effect could not be driven out of the way quick enough.

 Borrowers. The

Video


The video presentation here runs deeply orange throughout, giving everything a warm feeling. Sometimes it looks too warm and it's hard to tell if it's the failing of the disc or the style of the film but given the film also holds a fairly grubby appearance with its level of grain, I'm assuming it's the source's limitations. Edges just aren't all that sharp unless lighting conditions are perfect.

Natural light has to fill an area to really sell this presentation and it sometimes does, bringing a face or prop to HD life wonderfully but generally speaking this is a very flat image that seems to holding a potentially great looking film underneath it. I mean, the film literally glows with all that orange, the faux giant sets full of crisp detail but this Blu-ray is just not doing enough to enhance it and it gives off a boosted or upscaled DVD look as opposed to genuine HD experience.

 Borrowers. The

Audio


The audio track is only stereo but is a rich layered experience. Dialogue is crystal clear and strong and backing it up are sounds of chirping birds and nature and a well placed score. Going down into the little people's world, sound becomes all that more important, selling every tiny interaction they make from clinking cups, to giant ice smashing ice cubes to footsteps across a table, everything comes with the extra bit of oomph to sell the giant world these tiny people play in.

The score really is the power behind this one. It's bold and strong and lifts the stereo track to somewhere much wider than would be expected. It makes the action sequences feel grander and subtly underpins everything. This is a stereo track far outreaching it's expectations at times.

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Extras


Seems like all the extras here have been stolen by The Borrowers and used as furniture. Sorry nothing left to see here.

 Borrowers. The

Overall


The Borrowers is basically half a film. It does a simple set up in the first act so that we are aware of the odds at stake and then just goes for spectacle. that's fine for the kid audience, my 4 year old got a real kick out of the many set pieces the Borrower kids struggle to get through but there's no real grown up goals in all this beyond enjoying John Goodman getting progressively more pissed off. I'd love to see a mash up of this and 10 Cloverfield Lane actually, that'd be great.

Anyway, the disc is underwhelming on the visual front with glimmers of HD greatness from time to time but generally it looks more like an upscaled DVD, the audio however is very good for its Stereo limits. However no extras sell this release short so there's no real draw to upgrade for anyone with the DVD already really.

* Note: The images on this page are taken from the Blu-ray and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the true quality of the source.


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