First things first: There's no borrowing going on here by these little people who live under porches and floor boards. Rather, they should be called "The Stealers," since everything "borrowed" from big people is used and never returned.
First things first: There’s no borrowing going on here by these little people who live under porches and floor boards. Rather, they should be called “The Stealers,” since everything “borrowed” from big people is used and never returned. But that aside, this English production — akin to the old “Land of the Giants”– is more than children’s entertainment, it’s strong family fare that fortunately TNT has brought overseas.There are three major stars here: actor Ian Holm, production designer Sophie Becher — and the f/x-enabling blue-screen technology. Holm is the patriarch of the little family on which “The Borrowers” focuses, and his stellar stoicism as the aging father who fears the future is the foundation on which production is built, as are the miniature sets of Becher, which always have given the viewer something fun to look at: a cracker box as a bed, needles as weapons, etc. And of course, blue-screen allows for the interaction of the tiny folks and the big people, or “human beans” as they’re called by the diminutives. Director John Henderson uses this mix of acting and technology just right, giving a realistic feel to this science-fiction world. First installment opens with Holm as Pod, a father concerned about his age and his abilities to steal, er, borrow, from the family under whose porch the little people live. His solution is to do the untraditional by training his 14 -year-old daughter, Arrietty (Rebecca Callard), who’s only too anxious to get into the big world. But Pod’s worst fears are realized when his daughter leads to their being discovered by the big people. The family must soon flee its once-comfortable home for the wilds, where a whole new set of dangers loom. It’s here that action and adventure pick up, as the family of three, including mother,Homily (Penelope Wilton), meet up with their guide and savior of sorts, young spiller, played nicely by Danny Newman. Only bumps in the road here come with inevitable lulls of a two-part, four-hour miniseries, but director Henderson keeps the slow parts — pardon the pun — short. Kids may not flock to “The Borrowers” off the bat; the English accents alone may send some to the remote. But if youngsters — and parents — give it a chance, “The Borrowers” offers the rare opportunity for families to enjoy a telepic together.