Have you ever watched a movie that seemed to have no end? No matter how quickly the plot could be explained, it just keeps going? For what it's worth, you're not alone. Last weekend, I watched the 1993 BBC television miniseries on VHS, The Borrowers. I don't think I've ever watched a film that dragged to this extent. That, in a sentence, is my overview of the BAFTA Award-winning series.
For those of you who've never read the books the series was based on (which includes myself), the story is about "The Borrowers," small people who live in the homes and walls of normal people such as you and I. Their way of survival is by borrowing all they need from inside homes. The main character is a young Borrower girl named Arriety, who lives with her parents Pod and Homily. They are forced to leave their home because they have been found out by humans. The family befriends a human boy name George, and a fellow Borrower boy named Spiller. They must run for freedom and a new place to live.
In many parts of the film, the scenes never seem to end. Arriety was, on various occurrences, shown slowly mounting steps to collect things for their home. As we watched, my friend joked, "They're showing this scene in real-time!" Perhaps not to that proportion, but scenes were moved along very slowly. Other times, the camera would look into the ski for several seconds, or show us long walks in the cornfield. At one point another friend suggested, "Let's just fast-forward this." Although we could have missed something vital in the plot by fast-forwarding, it shows how much we were into the length of it (not too much, in fact).
On the positive side, the Borrower family was acted well. Ian Holm, who also played Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings, did an excellent job of playing the father. I have memory of only one quick scene with poor acting. Otherwise, the acting was excellent and the storyline was entertaining. I've always been intrigued by the idea of small people, and, for a film made 16 years ago, this presented with fairly good graphics.
Near the end, after almost three strenuously long hours, the unbelievable happened. It had been such a dramatic scene. Everyone was running from the enemy and it was completely breathtaking (sort of). When they finally evaded the villain, they begin climbing steps. Upon reaching the top of the steps, they walked through a curtain, revealing a majestic room. For the sake of spoilers, I'll not say what the room was, but I just froze in disbelief that this was actually part of the movie. It didn't even seem real, but I suppose it was a fitting end to a very long adventure.
I don’t dislike long movies. The Lord of the Rings' films (approx. 208, 223 and 251 minutes in length, respectively) were all fantastic, and The Dark Knight (at 152 minutes) was historically phenomenal. Many shorter movies I've watched (under 90 minutes) would've been, in my opinion, very much improved if extended. But this nearly-three hour movie, on the other hand, was way too long, and should've had its running time cut in half.
I heard the series was continued with The Return of the Borrowers. I haven't ruled out the possibility of watching this as well, as it may be worth-watching. However, it is said to have a running time of 164 minutes. Another three-hour, dragged-out, yet award-winning film? I sure hope not.