Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby droosan » May 19th, 2011, 7:16 pm

EricJ wrote:Remember how we were basically meh on "Princess & the Frog", but pretended it was an instant classic just to shout down all the nay-sayers? Yeah. Kinda like that,


I don't seem to ever remember stuff quite the way you do. :|

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Postby Randall » May 19th, 2011, 10:36 pm

You are not alone. :)

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Postby Ben » May 21st, 2011, 3:06 pm

At least in Europe, Mononoke had that kind of reception. It seemed to be "the film to see" just because it was Japanese, and there was a lot of talk about Miyazaki. I knew his name from the Sherlock Hound series in the mid-80s, and think I knew of (and might have seen) Kiki (and maybe one or two more) and his reputation, but Mononoke was the break-out that got him globally recognized by a more general moviegoing public as opposed to the "insiders" who already knew.

At that point I hadn't seen Cagliostro or any of the other films, but there was this feeling that Mononoke was something new and important in animation. I didn't go and see it, but I got it on video...and was less than impressed. As I've said countless times before, I just can't get past the six-frame animation and simplistic character designs in Japanimation. I've seen some great Japanese animated films, but Mononoke wasn't one of them (for me) and it did put me off seeing any more until Spirited Away came along.

That film again sported a bonkers storyline and events, but there was more to it, and it wasn't as long and "worthy" as Mononoke was. I still don't like the animation style, because I can't seem to engage with the characters, but the newer quality dubs has helped overcome some of those issues. I still need to see a few, but have done now and actually really like a good handful of them that I would be interested to have on Blu-ray.

But Mononoke? No, I can't say I'm a fan, but maybe I need to see it again. I have the Japanese and dubbed versions on off-air recordings, so maybe I will someday. But I certainly don't remember it being "over-played" by Ghibli fans: there were either no Ghibli fans at that point, or the ones that were actually went around saying it wasn't as good as the past stuff and that we should check those out instead. It didn't help that Mononoke was put out through Miramax's arthouse arm either, leaving it to Spirited Away as the real breakthrough, and even when that came out there was a lot of explaining who Miyazaki was to new audiences.

Just the same as when Princess And The Frog came out: I don't think people were hiding the fact that it was a good stab, but only as good as a 1990s rehash as opposed to something really worthwhile or better than expected. At least with Tangled, as fantastically entertaining as I thought it was and pleased to see it become a hit, we weren't "pretending" when we recommended it to other people. I didn't recommend Princess And The Frog to anyone other than long-time Disney fans, but Tangled I tried to drag along anyone that would listen!

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Postby GeorgeC » May 21st, 2011, 3:39 pm

As far as anime features are concerned, only Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon have been consistent directors. The other guys whose films I've watched = they're all over the place in terms of story and overall quality of production.

I liked the Macross: DYRL and Macross Plus features Shoji Kawamori directed but didn't like most of his other stuff.

The Gundam films, with few exceptions, are retellings of the original TV series storyline or are are edited compilation of successor TV series episodes (which are usually in basic outline retellings of the original series storyline, too. Japan has gotten more mileage out of Gundam than the US has out of Star Trek or the UK out of Doctor Who!)

The other big-name director at Ghibli --- not Miyazaki's son --- directed Grave of the Fireflies which was a nice tear-jerker but his other films are hit-and-miss for many people. (I have yet to watch his Ghibli films myself... (I've seen Grave of the Fireflies)... going by what others have said.)
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Postby Dacey » June 20th, 2011, 3:20 pm

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift--that is why it's called the present."

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Postby GeorgeC » June 20th, 2011, 3:24 pm

LEGO's...

They never get old for me and I never cease to be amazed by the art people create with them.

Definitely the greatest thing that ever came out of Denmark!

Way, way better than Lincoln logs... :mrgreen:

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Postby EricJ » June 20th, 2011, 7:50 pm

Darn, I was hoping to see Lego animation, like the Holy Grail one. :wink:

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Postby estefan » June 21st, 2011, 6:55 am

Wow, terrific.

But, poor Porco Rosso always seems to get the shaft (unless I missed it and it is there).

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Postby EricJ » August 14th, 2011, 8:54 pm

For those in the States who missed it (which was easy), the Disney dub of "Tales From Earthsea" is now playing for "free" on Instant Netflix--
I'm still not sure why there's been so much venom aimed at the movie, even from the Japanese: From all the Miyazaki Jr. Hatin', I'd gone in expecting ponderous poseur pain on Mononoke levels--And while it's aiming for "epic", it's been much less painful (and less humorless) for the first half I've sat through so far; like Randall's review, at worst rather familiarly meandering and inconsequential.

Of course, it also helps that I've never read Ursula LeGuin, and can't get into any meaningful discussion of whether Ghibli mangled the books:
I'd read Howl's Moving Castle, and knew how that book had been steamrollered, and I'd just watched "Arietty the Borrower" on digisub, and though a bit spartan, I didn't find much heretical of Mary Norton. (Although the attempt to turn the heroine into a grimly-determined Ghibli Girl did go against the whimsy of the original story a tad.)
But there's something about the very mention of Earthsea that drives anime fans into a froth...Any help? :?

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Postby Ben » August 15th, 2011, 3:31 am

I can't help on the Earthsea "venom" angle, but you've made me more interested in seeing the film, which I've had recorded off TV on my DVR drive for a while now and not managed to pull myself around to watching, precisely for those reasons. That it's not as Mononoke-sombre as I thought might get me watching it sooner, though I think it's the original Japanese dub they screened here (or that I recorded; Film 4 seem to show both subtitled or Disney dubbed versions but never advertise which and it's pot luck which one you end up watching, though quite handy to compare, which I've done with Spirited Away and Cagliostro).

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Postby EricJ » August 15th, 2011, 1:38 pm

Again, it's not painful, in the characters are similar to the Mononoke/Nausicaa tropes (young prince on the run, determined girl, old battle mentor, oily baddie-henchman with sideways mouth) but are a little more "relaxed", and aren't as perpetually PO'ed.
The characters wander around in the standard Eastern-Europeanish Nausicaa tunics only now with Fantasy castle and city backdrops, talk about the "balance of the earth" (it is a Ghibli, after all), there're a few Spirited-style dragon battles, and we get the feeling that if they hadn't done another few fantasies already, they would've made this story just to do one.

Think the Japanese reaction was more along the lines of our Cars 2 reaction: They expected Ghibli to top themselves every single time, and felt "betrayed' that they "only" got a pleasant generic house entry.
Goro doesn't seem to have any particular directorial licks (more like Ron Miller being put in charge of Disney, when the company was worried about losing its main head), and got most of the guff--One of the promoted "Ponyo" key animators did fairly better directing "Arietty", so they're just wondering now who to promote once Hayao retires for really-real this time.

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Postby Randall » August 15th, 2011, 3:39 pm

What's interesting is that Goro--- once rumored to be in big trouble with his dad over "botching" Tales From Earthsea--- directed Ghibli's next film, Kokuriko-zaka kara (with his dad contributing to the screenplay). From what I've seen, reviews have been positive. And if Hayao can "forgive" Goro, surely so can the rest of fandom. ;)

This next news is a couple of weeks old, but it would appear that Disney no longer has the Mononoke license. I wonder about the other Ghibli films.
http://www.animenews.biz/disney-confirms-princess-mononoke-no-longer-licensed-in-us-7015/

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Re:

Postby EricJ » August 15th, 2011, 4:22 pm

Mononoke came in between the deals, IIRC:
Disney wanted theatrical/video rights to the past films, and they'd later contributed to the making of Spirited and Ponyo in return for distribution, but Tokuma stuck on the clause about Disney distributing PM in the US as a rider on the deal...
Think it was more for "bragging rights", as PM was considered Japan's "big" movie at the time, and while Japan doesn't usually care about US anime, the idea of other countries showing it was a big nationalistic deal with the fans. (The way we gush over other countries showing "Avatar".)

The article seems to be fanboy-reading too much into "Echo Bridge doesn't have the movie" (they never did) and "BVHE doesn't have the movie" (could be just OOP form-letter). It's not "a Miramax film" to begin with, as they were simply acting as Disney's art-PG13 "front" in this case, and as pointed out, there's no MM to distribute anymore. Fanboys can e-mail all they like; Disney can't even release the Ghiblis on Blu at all until the domestic Japanese version, and don't think they've gotten to PM yet.
If it did slip between the cracks, Disney will probably try to get it back for a price, not so much for the film itself, as for brandname completism, and to avoid fans nagging them about "Hey, why don'tcha have...?"

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Postby Ben » August 19th, 2011, 2:36 pm

Agreed.

It's interesting, though, because Mononoke was always a Miramax-controlled film. It wasn't just a Disney front in this case, it was actually picked up by the Weinsteins. It could, therefore, well be that it was transferred over with the titles that the Weinsteins took with them when they did leave Disney (such as Kill Bill, Sin City, etc).

It's complicated: Disney can distribute the copies and versions they have out now, but they can't reissue. Any new editions or sequels would emerge from the Weinsteins, now The Weinstein Company. When they left Disney, they took various rights with them, including sequel and remake rights to a number of properties, as well as the Dimension Films catalog.

Mononoke was never officially "handed over" or "back" to Disney, so it's likely that now Miramax is gone (and the film wasn't included in the "software" sale of the library), that it's license actually rests with TWC (such as with The Thief And The Cobbler, for example).

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Randall » June 2nd, 2013, 11:14 pm

Two new Ghibli Blu-ray reviews:

http://animatedviews.com/2013/my-neighbor-totoro-blu/

http://animatedviews.com/2013/howls-moving-castle/

One is a family classic, and one just about gets there before realizing that its plot makes no sense.