Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Randall » November 26th, 2014, 1:31 am

Three Studio Ghibli reviews getting posted this week! First up is the new Blu-ray of Princess Mononoke:

http://animatedviews.com/2014/princess-mononoke/

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Randall » November 27th, 2014, 1:16 am


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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Randall » February 9th, 2015, 12:56 am

Ghibli fans will want to see this documentary:

http://animatedviews.com/2015/the-kingd ... d-madness/

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby GeorgeC » February 11th, 2015, 1:07 am

People should really be checking out the stuff GKids is releasing... They have some really good non-Ghibli anime features licensed as well as what Disney did not option (Princess Kaguya, From Up on Poppy Hill).

As for weak Ghibli pictures... I've seen most of them but the one that pops out to me really is "Princess Mononoke." I know that's a favorite of a bunch of people but I never felt it was Miyazaki's best Ghibli feature film. I was mainly put off by the tone of the film which is so unlike of his other films. It just came off as very negative. In some ways, it's a darker reflection of Nausicaa which I felt was more hopeful and explored some of the same themes. Ironically, one of my favorite Miyazaki films is "Howl's Moving Castle" which is regularly shot down as one of his weaker works... Go figure!

Takahata doesn't get talked up a lot but I really liked "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" which is being released next week. (Saw it in a theater back in December last year.) Don't remember all his other films but I do recall he directed "My Neighbors the Yamadas" and "Grave of the Fireflies." His films are very different from Miyazaki's. "Fireflies" is easily one of the most depressing movies I've ever sat through! ( =>Make sure you're stocked up on Kleenex before you try to watch that film...<= ) It's ironic that it was paired with "My Neighbor Totoro" on a double bill during its original theatrical release in the late 1980s! One film to put you down in the dumps, one film to lift you up! It's an emotional rollercoaster ride if you try to watch those two films in one day... :lol:

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Ben » February 11th, 2015, 5:48 am

I think part of my reason that I can't "access" Miyazaki's stuff is because I saw Mononoke first. Actually, I'd seen Cagliostro when I was a kid, but just enjoyed that because it was a cartoon (and still do!) and I had a couple of the Sherlock Hound tapes, which is the first time I was aware of the name Miyazaki.

The 80s features passed me by, but when Mononoke got all the attention and the Miramax distribution I was eager to check it out...and let's just say I wasn't blown away. After that I gave Japanimation a bit of a wide berth - I had liked Akira but found much other stuff that came after it and tried to position itself as more of that ilk (Ghost In The Shell) tiresome and uninvolving.

When Fireflies came along I saw that almost by accident and that really woke me up that it wasn't all just about robots and mecha-gone-mad all the time, and I slowly worked my way back through. I'm certainly not a fan of all of them, but like George I have a thing for one of the most bashed ones, Porco Rocco, perhaps because it's different to the Ghibli norm. That and a small handful of others are what I'd go for on Blu, and although the animation style on Kaguya is a departure I'm actually interested in seeing it for the storyline.

I also enjoyed Ponyo recently, but Arrietty left me cold for some reason. I do find it hard to connect with the animation in these films, which is precise but not warm and fluid enough, and although this can be overcome with a great story, the two rarely go hand in hand for me. When they do, then I'm there, but I must admit that I'm more open to discovering these films "by accident" on when they play on TV (our Film4 channel here often has Ghibli seasons when they slot in other anime and manga into their mix) that actively searching them out.

Once I know what I'm getting, I'm up for them, but one is just never quite sure... :)

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby EricJ » February 11th, 2015, 4:45 pm

Ben wrote:I think part of my reason that I can't "access" Miyazaki's stuff is because I saw Mononoke first. Actually, I'd seen Cagliostro when I was a kid, but just enjoyed that because it was a cartoon (and still do!) and I had a couple of the Sherlock Hound tapes, which is the first time I was aware of the name Miyazaki.


For me, it was Kiki, and not during that first Disney-dubbed VHS at Target-Mart that took everyone by surprise, but with subtitles on a home-copied tape during the college-club days.
The two are as polar opposite as you can get--Kiki is cute, audience-friendly and optimistic about the world, Mononoke painfully struts its humanity-pessimism about like Garbo--so those of us from the Kiki-Totoro era tend to harbor resentments against Mononoke for being the wrench in the '99 gears.
It turned half the audience off, warped the rest of the first-time audience into the anime equivalent of pretentious Dark Knight fanboys, and nearly convinced Disney to drop Ghibli like a hot potato. The rest of us have spent sixteen years repairing BOTH halves of the damage, and while Spirited Away helped bring some light at the end of the tunnel, there's still more work ahead. (Like, doing something about all those first-time Howl's Moving Castle fanboys...)
When, in Spirited Away, we saw spunky, doing-her-best Chihiro forcing medicine down the dragon throat of doomed, mysterious Haku, it was almost a symbol of Kiki vs. Mononoke, and Kiki was winning...Eat it, eat it! :)

Problem is, we could never sit a Mononoke-head down and make them watch Kiki or even Porco Rosso (ready to slap them with a dojo-stick if they said "But the themes aren't as serious as Mononoke!") since the DVD's were in and out of release, but the fact that Disney's finally gotten both out on Blu-ray in the last year has made the job a little easier.

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Ben » February 11th, 2015, 5:44 pm

Well, being a broader-minded person than most, I didn't let one film put me off a "movement" that was obviously very popular elsewhere, and I didn't let it stop me from watching and catching up on other Ghibli and Miyazaki films, though again I do think Mononoke went quite a ways with me to always make me doubt what I was going to see.

So I tend to agree with your approach on this, but at the same time I like Porco Rosso...! I'm not sure which version of KiKi I've seen but I wasn't bowled over by it, mainly as (as I remember) I found it to be a little too flippant (but not lightweight as you suggest). I know James isn't a fan of Spirited Away, but I first saw it in Japanese and maybe this was the difference...I still prefer that version to the English dub.

I do guess I've become more "accustomed" to Ghibli and Miyazaki's output, and have thought about picking up more titles on Blu, although only a few (Cagliostro, Spirited, primarily, having already got Fireflies, Ponyo and Porco on order) really appeal.

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Vernadyn » March 7th, 2015, 10:40 pm

I saw The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, and while your mileage may vary, for me it was not just the best animated film of 2014, but probably my favorite film of 2014, period. I've rarely been so emotionally affected by a film's ending as I was with Kaguya's--and I can't quite put my finger on why that is. It's just a gorgeous film.

I know it's de rigueur to disparage the English dubbing on these films, and it did have some odd moments. (Yes, I did see the subbed version as well). But I did think Chloe Moretz and Mary Steenburgen did fine jobs. James Caan ranged from OK to off.

One interesting thing to note is that the Blu-ray comes with three discs: the feature on Blu-ray, the feature on DVD, and a DVD (not Blu-ray) with a two-hour documentary on the making of the film. (The feature discs also have some bonus features). So if you buy the Blu-ray (only a few dollars more than the DVD), you can still watch all the content if you only have a DVD player.

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby EricJ » March 13th, 2015, 4:17 am

Ben wrote:I'm not sure which version of KiKi I've seen but I wasn't bowled over by it, mainly as (as I remember) I found it to be a little too flippant (but not lightweight as you suggest).


Just off the subject, finally saw the "new cut" of Disney's Kiki dub on Blu-ray, and I can see what the "dueling versions" complaint is about--
I'm not sure whether it was Disney giving into the fan vocal-minority and their paranoid nitpicking of Disney's dubbing at the time, or whether Ghibli's no-cut rule also applies to no additions, but the difference between the two dubs seems to be that the new 00's dub eliminates ALL added lines from the '98 dub for the characters that weren't in the original Japanese script.
(Eg., when Phil Hartman's Jiji sees the white cat across the way and says "Well, hel-looo kitty", or when Kiki turns over in bed, and Jiji crawls back under the blankets--"More sleep, please.")

I'm hoping it's the latter reason, as the former reason just makes you hate where fans were in '97-'99.

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Randall » March 13th, 2015, 8:12 am

Whatever the reason, I prefer those lines cut out. Some of those lines were annoyingly out of place. They were trying too hard to utilize Phil Hartman.

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby EricJ » March 13th, 2015, 8:40 am

I liked Phil Hartman. :)

But more importantly, they were forced to cut out some of the added lines that Disney threw in to cover some background characters inaudibly talking on screen--
In the last scene, when Kiki is being interviewed by the press, we see Tombo inaudibly talking to reporters in the background, which bit of awkwardness Disney fixed in the '98 dub. ("She's really great--Let me tell you how she first came to town!") Unfortunately, fixes like that had to go.

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Randall » April 15th, 2015, 10:30 pm

I liked Phil, too, but those "extra" lines didn't belong in there. It's a better, less flippant film without them.

BTW: Grave of the Fireflies Blu is on sale at Amazon.com for $9.99 (67% off). And Castle of Cagliostro Blu-ray is still 50% off right now.

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Ben » April 16th, 2015, 11:42 am

Even though I may still get the two-disc DVD, this would be the only Ghibli that I wanted that I didn't have on Blu, so it's a no-brainer at that price. Thanks Rand!

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Ben » April 16th, 2015, 11:48 am

Darn it! Looks like that price had everyone going for it: Grave is now temporarily out of stock while being the number one movie seller, and returned to its $24 usual cost.

I did see Whisper Of The Heart yesterday, and can't say I was blown away, though the bits I saw of The Wind Rises actually looked pretty good and interesting. That might be one I go for if I get to see a little more of it first (it's on rotation on one of the film channels here right now).

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Re: Favorite And Least Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie?

Postby Randall » April 16th, 2015, 9:49 pm

Yeah, that sale lasted less than a day. I'm glad I pounced on it when i did. I may not revisit it often, but it deserves to be seen in HD. Looks like they don't expect to get more copies for a while--- my order isn't expected to arrive until June!

Whisper of the Heart is a gentle, sweet film. I wouldn't expect it to blow anyone away, but I really like it. And it's a neat look into Japanese culture, too. I always found it weird that a John Denver song figures prominently, but my wife tells me he was huge in Asia. Who knew?

The Wind Rises, I'm still a little confounded by, though I gave it a good score.