In 1987, an underground drilling project releases an unidentified gas. The vapours drift up through the grates leading to the sewer system and start to circulate around the town of Negley. Over a period of two days, all of its residents disappear. For twenty-five years, this mystery remains, until nine year-old Mark Hathaway, one of the new residents of Negley,discovers the truth - the gas somehow affected the physical biology of the townsfolk. Proof of this is reperesented by the six-centimetre tall Clock family, comprising of Peter(“Pod”) and Homily, who were newlyweds at the time of the chemical accident, and their seventeen year-old daughter Arriety, who has always been less than fifty centimetres in height. Seeing a person of normal size pricks her curiosity and she befriends Mark, a move which puts the Clocks in danger of discovery and they flee. Whilst out looking for food, Arriety's parents are captured by a couple of soldiers under the command of one General Michael Stanbury, who is suspiciously unsurprised by the existence of tiny people. Arriety enlists the help of Mark to get her mum and dad back safely. He in turn is aided by a group of big folk(comprising of his older sister, Charlotte, her boyfriend, Tony George, and Tony's best mate, Steven “Spud” Spiller, who has no family, and who takes a shine to Arriety. Together, they discover that General Stanbury was responsible for what happened to the inhabitants of Negley back in the Eighties and resolve themselves to defeat him and rescue Arriety's family.
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