Movie Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Hello dear Ghibli fans, I come to you this week with a review of Kiki’s Delivery Service.

If you don’t know by now, I am slowly making my way through the Studio Ghibli catalog and reviewing each of the movies. So far I’ve reviewed: Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo.

If you like this review, make sure to follow my blog and social channels!
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 


Title: Kiki’s Delivery Service
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★★☆
Buy it here

13-year-old Kiki moves to a seaside town with her talking cat, Jiji, to spend a year alone, in accordance with her village’s tradition for witches in training. After learning to control her broomstick, Kiki sets up a flying courier service and soon becomes a fixture in the community. But when the insecure young witch begins questioning herself and loses her magic abilities, she must overcome her self-doubt to get her powers back.

Advertisements

Simple is Best

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a perfect example of why I love movies with a simple premise. Often it’s thriller movies with a simple but intriguing concept that I like the most, but Kiki follows the same principle.

Its premise is simple, but the storytelling possibilities are endless, and that’s what makes it beautiful. It could have been a much more confusing movie. With magic and technology working hand in hand, the world building could have been a lot more in-depth, but it didn’t need to be. It fit perfectly to the feel of the movie, and I wouldn’t ask for it to be any more in-depth than it is.


Coming of Age

This theme seems to be quite common for Ghibli movies, and its amazing to see it in so many different ways.

It’s quite a common theme in storytelling, but it’s effective. When done well it can get you to relate with the characters, and you see their growth.

Kiki’s Delivery Service tells a great coming of age story, despite some parts being a bit unbelievable. We see a strong, determined Kiki go through struggles and fears to push through them and become a strong young woman in her own right.


Soft Magic

Kiki’s Delivery Service, like many of the Studio Ghibli movies has magic involved, but we never really get any explanation of it. We don’t get the rules of who can do what sort of magic, all we get is that people can do magic.

Magic can often be used as a storytelling device, which it is in Kiki’s case, but it doesn’t grow with our characters. Our characters don’t get stronger the further into the story we get, they just embrace their powers and use them as a part of themselves.


Final Thoughts

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a great movie that is obviously family friendly. If you can get past the “old-school” animation style it’s a great movie to cuddle up on the couch with and enjoy one night.

It’s not only enjoyable and fun, but it teaches some great lessons for kids to learn.


Movie Review: Ponyo

Hello dear readers and watchers, welcome back to my third review of a Studio Ghibli movie.

I started this journey a few weeks back with my review of Spirited Away, and continued last week with My Neighbor Totoro.

I plan on reviewing a new Studio Ghibli movie every week until I no longer enjoy it, so if you have a favourite movie of theirs you want me to watch and review, let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message on social media.

Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 


Advertisements

Title: Ponyo
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★☆☆

During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives her the name Ponyo. Ponyo longs to become human, and as her friendship with Sosuke grows, she becomes more humanlike. Ponyo’s father brings her back to their ocean kingdom, but so strong is Ponyo’s wish to live on the surface that she breaks free, and in the process, spills a collection of magical elixirs that endanger Sosuke’s village.


Lowering My Standards

I think I started this journey incorrectly. I started with what is often considered the best Ghibli movie; Spirited Away, and then started going down the list.

Spirited Away blew me away, and I haven’t been quite impressed since. I’m not saying Ponyo is bad, I just don’t think it was a movie I would want to watch again.

Others might think this is one of the greatest movies ever made, but the story didn’t do it for me. I was often guessing what would happen before they happened and coming up with better plot points.

Ghibli movies go for very simple stories, so it’s not hard to follow along. They also seem to mainly be focused on coming of age stories for young children, or at least the ones I have seen are.

This can be nice because they’re simple to follow along with, and they are fun the whole family can enjoy, but I guess sometimes they are a bit too simple for me.


Lost in Translation

I’ve read online that Ghibli movies can be watched in its natural Japanese or in your native language and enjoyed to the same extent.

I appreciated that when I watched Spirited Away and My Neighbor, because I was able to multi-task while I was watching the movies.

This didn’t seem to be the case so much with Ponyo. It just seemed like the English language wasn’t as playful and fun as the Japanese language is, or at least it is in my experience.

Also, I haven’t looked it up to confirm it, but I am pretty sure Liam Neeson was in this movie and that kind of threw me off. Maybe I am paranoid, but it felt weird to have a man who has killed hundreds of people in other movies play a cartoon character.


Beautiful Artwork

Though I found the story a bit lacking, I loved looking at the artwork. If Ghibli did nothing right, they definitely know how to match their visuals with the story.

It’s almost as if the story is written around the artwork, not the other way around.

Ponyo was colorful, playful, and happy, which is how most would probably describe the movie.


Final Thoughts

I didn’t dislike Ponyo at all, I just found it a bit predictable and boring. If I had watched it when I was a kid, maybe I would think differently, but as a mid-twenties adult, it was too childish for me.


What did you think of Ponyo, and what Ghibli movie should I watch next? Let me know in the comments!
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

Movie Review: My Neighbor Totoro

Hello dear readers, I’ve decided its finally time to take the Studio Ghibli movies seriously.

I watched my first one last week; Spirited Away, which you can read about here. It was an absolute blast so I decided to give the rest a try too.

The goal is to watch one of their movies every week until I’ve seen them all. I know it won’t be easy, but watching one movie a week isn’t so bad.

If you like this review then make sure to follow my blog and connect with me on social media for more!
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 


Title: My Neighbor Totoro
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★★☆


Advertisements

80’s Animation

I usually have a hard time enjoying old-animation styles. I find they are tough to look at and the animation is just terrible in today’s standards.

I understand that they did the best for their time and all, but it just makes it less enjoyable for me.

My Neighbor Totoro didn’t bother me though. It didn’t feel old or outdated. Yes the animation was rather rough at times, for the most part it was good. It was simple but effective.

There was no need for anything fancy or mind blowing. It’s a simple story and it only needs simple animation.

I wouldn’t say the animation adds or takes away from the story, but it just seems to fit. It does its intended job and it does it well.

There are a lot of small moments in My Neighbor Totoro that give it an extra ranking in my book. Small moments where the two sisters hit and the clothing wrinkles just right, or when the two sisters get mud on the knees from playing in the dirt.

There are quite a few moments like this, and they really help make the movie that much more enjoyable to watch.


Childlike Glee

A good part of this movie is focused on child-like wonder. Seeing the world from a completely innocent point of view.

If you really look at the movie, you notice that innocence isn’t the only story happening in the background, but also the loss of innocence.

The child-like glee is used as the main plot line of the story, but it’s also a character building device.

There are moments here and there where we realize that innocence can’t last forever, and that eventually we must all grow up to he harsh realities of the world.

On a side note, the voice acting of the two sisters is fantastic. It fits the characters well and really makes the story more delightful.


The Story

There isn’t much of a story in My Neighbor Totoro. A Dad and his two daughters move to a small town and the two daughters discover a Totoro, a made up Kami like creature.

There is also the story of the girl’s mom, but I can’t mention too much of that without giving it away.

I wouldn’t say I was on the edge of my seat for the whole movie, but I was never uninterested. I wanted to see what happened next, even though the plot was simple.


Final Thoughts

I didn’t enjoy this movie as much as Spirited Away, but it is a great movie on its own. It’s light hearted and fun, and it would be a great movie to watch with your family.

Though it isn’t always innocent and easy to watch, it has some great lessons about life and hardship.


What did you think of My Neighbor Totoro? Where would you rank it in all of your Studio Ghibli movies? Let’s chat about it in the comments, and don’t forget to follow me on social media!
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

Movie Review: Spirited Away

Hello dear movie watchers, I have a confession to make.

Before Spirited Away, I had never actually seen a Studio Ghibli before. I had heard about them and I heard that everyone loved them, but I just never gave them much attention.

I decided to change that and I watched Spirited Away. Least I can say is that I will be making my way through the Ghibli catalogue very quickly now.

If you want to buy it, click on the image.

If you like this review, or want to discuss Spirited Away, let’s chat in the comments or on social media.
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 


Title: Spirited Away
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★★★

10-year-old Chihiro (Rumi Hiiragi) and her parents (Takashi Naitô, Yasuko Sawaguchi) stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park. After her mother and father are turned into giant pigs, Chihiro meets the mysterious Haku (Miyu Irino), who explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm, and that she must work there to free herself and her parents.


Advertisements

The Story

Spirited Away’s story is a bit all over the place. A girl and her parents get stuck in the Spirit World and she tries to get them back and get back to the land of the living. To do that she needs to get a job, save a swamp monster, and a half dozen other things.

The story comes and goes. It has its highs and lows, but it all flows together in a way.

Still, the story is a lot of fun and cheerful, and it did a subtle, but good job of showing the growth of the main character Chihiro. She starts the movie as a shy, scared, and not confident 10-year-old, but as the movie progresses, we see her grow because of her experiences.

The movie doesn’t make a point of telling you that outright, but if you watch it carefully, you notice small changes.


The Design Work

Spirited Away was made in the early 2000s, so the animation work is nowhere near as good as it is today. That doesn’t mean it’s bad though.

I actually found it rather charming. In some scenes it’s very simple, with some trees and a character or two. In other scenes the screen is filled with pillow, spirits, bathhouse walls, and everything that is needed to make it more complete.

If it was made today, I don’t know if it would have the same feeling that it does now. I think being made in the early 2000s is a part of its charm.


The Musical Score

I thought that the music and the sound effects in this movie were perfect. The music was so beautiful in some moments, perfectly portraying what was happening on screen. Uplifting moments were accompanied by peaceful, uplifting music. Scarier, darker moments had fast paced, blood pumping scores.

Advertisements

The sound effects weren’t anything special, but they were good. They fit perfectly, and they never felt too excessive or not enough. I thought that this really added to the movie for me. It wouldn’t have been as good of a movie without the music.


Final Thoughts

Spirited Away is fantastic. It is great as both a coming-of-age and also an adventure movie. Discovering the Spirit World is one of my favourite ideas in any story telling, and I have to say Spirited Away is does a great job of telling a good story for kids and adults both.


If you liked this review, make sure to follow my page and my social media so you don’t miss out on any more!

Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

Movie Review: Little Women (The Proper One This Time)

Hello dear readers, I have now seen the same movie twice, and have much different opinions on them. Last week, I mistakingly watched and reviewed Little Women (2018) thinking it was the one everyone was going crazy over and I was so confused why Emma Watson wasn’t showing up even though I knew she was in the movie.

It literally took me right until the end till I realized that it was entirely the wrong movie, but once I figured out my mistake, I promised I’d come back for the proper movie review.

Though this movie was a lot longer, I actually enjoyed this movie a lot more, so let’s get into it!

If you’ve seen Little Women, let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media for more!
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

Advertisements

The March Sisters

I tried my best to keep the 2018 movie out of my head when I was watching this movie. I think I did a good job, but I’m sure I was influenced somewhat.

This movie didn’t have as prominent of a protagonist, but it seemed like Jo was the main character once again. She was going through her struggles as a future author, but I liked that this movie explored all the sisters.

I would argue that Meg and Beth take a backseat to Jo and Amy, but it doesn’t feel forced. We get to explore their individual character arcs as they overlap and separate from each other, and since the movie is about several years of their life, we see them grow up.

SPOILERS HERE. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET SKIP DOWN TO THE NEXT HEADING

Beth dies at the end of the movie, and though she took a back seat this movie, it was a very emotional moment. She dies from an illness, and the emotions are really deep. We feel sad for her, but happy that she still finds a completeness to her life, and I think that’s what really drives the emotions home.

Even though she dies, the March sisters find happiness and completeness to their lives also, and the audience knows that at the end of the day, that is what Beth would have wanted.

SPOILERS FINISHED

The Period Piece

I’m a sucker for a good period piece. I love seeing the women in beautiful, elegant dresses and with proper manners, while the men are dressed to impress and are all proper.

A lot of period pieces are a bit boring though. Because there isn’t a lot of action usually, it can be a bit dull if the dramatic aspects aren’t drawing you in.

I found that Little Women did a good job of keeping me interested. Once I figured out the timelines of the different stories, I was never really bored. It wasn’t the most interesting story, but the strong acting from the lead group working with the beautiful visuals, and detailed story moments kept me interested the entire time.

Advertisements

The Diversity and Sisterly Bonds

I guess this is more of a credit to the book itself, but partially to the movie also. I found that each of the March sisters were so different from each other, but they also were so obviously sisters.

As someone who grew up with siblings, I know how siblings interact with each other. Each of them had their own interests and had their own dreams in life that they wanted to pursue, but at the end of the day they were there for each other and supported each other.

I haven’t read the book, and I probably won’t at this point, but this movie probably did a wonderful job of adapting the book to the big screen.


What did you think of Little Women 2019? Let’s talk about it in the comments, especially if you’ve read the book!
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

Movie Review: Little Women (2018)

I have to be honest with you dear readers, I had a bit of a dumb dumb moment. In one of my bookish group chats, people were oohing and aaahing over the movie Little Women that came out in 2019.

I had heard it was a good movie, and so I took their adoration for it as a sign that it was time for me to watch it.

I had an idea of some of the actresses in it, but I knew to look for Emma Watson especially since she was the one I would recognize the most.

I looked up the movie, saw the synopsis was about stuff happening after the American Civil War, found a place to watch it and bam, let it begin.

WELLLLLL turns out there have been probably a dozen different Little Women movies, and my idiotic self watched the one from 2018!

I was looking for Emma Watson and she just never showed up. I kept telling myself there would be another time jump, and when that happened it would be Emma’s turn to shine. With about 10 minutes left in the movie I realized that didn’t happen, so next week I’ll review that Little Women movie, this week I’ll review the 2018 one.


Advertisements

Title: Little Women (2018)
Director: Clare Niederpruem
Rating:★★☆☆☆

My opinion on this movie might be a little skewed because the whole time I was looking for different actresses to appear, but reading other reviews online, I don’t think I am too far off.

I didn’t like this movie at all, for a lot of reasons.

The Acting

I didn’t think any of the acting was very well done at all actually. I think it was needlessly overdone at many parts, and it’s too bad. The sisters seem to have a great dynamic with each other, and I would have liked to see more of a realistic sibling banter with each other.

Being a brother myself, and seeing many of my friends have siblings, I know the banter and the back and forth a sibling can have and it really wasn’t there in this movie. They seemed to try too hard to get it to work.

A lot of the “comedic” moments seem forced and over acted, and none of the dramatic moments seem to hit home because of the same problem.


The Believability

This movie is relatively believable in its premise. Its a bunch of sisters who grow up together, and how they all take different journeys with their lives.

They each have their dreams they want to pursue, and for the most part they support each other in those dreams.

There’s a bit of romance, attempts at comedy, and dramatic moments that are all too predictable.


Advertisements

Jo

Despite all of that, I would rate this movie a 3 or a 3.5, but Jo was the reason this movie got a 2.

Jo actually made me want to stop the movie several times.

She is so dramatic, spoiled, selfish and conceited. She cares so little about others, and the moments where she does seem to care about what happens to others, its really just for selfish reasons.

I get that she is the main character in the story, so we see more of her perspective, but her character is not likable at all.

She constantly bullies her sister, and makes fun about them all here and there, but when they start teasing her, she storms off like they’ve just punched her in the face.

She wants to be a published author, which is great, but she gets upset when her editor has notes about her story. She is outwardly angry that he made notes on the book. Like did she really think a book could be perfect in the first draft? It just bothers me that her world view is so narrow with herself at the centre.

I can’t think of any redeemable qualities about her honestly.


Final Thoughts

I have a hard time finding anything good about this movie. It had a lot of okay moments, but none were great.

The only reason I could finish it was because I had hoped it would get better.

But alas, these are just my opinions.

If you’ve seen the 2018 version of Little Women, what did you think about it? Let’s talk about it in the comments, or send me a message on social media.
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook 

A Political Commentary, Or Just A Bad Movie? The Hunt Movie Review

Hello my dear movie lovers, I hope you are doing well today. The movie industry is in a bit of a weird time with the world wide quarantine happening, so a lot of brand new movies are making themselves available digitally instead of being released in theaters.

I don’t mind much because it’s saving me a lot of money, and I get to watch them in the comfort of my too warm apartment (seriously can we get the heat checked, it should not be 30 degrees Celsius in my apartment).

This week I watched the movie The Hunt. I was quite excited about this movie when I heard the synopsis, but that excitement quickly ran away when I started watching the movie.

Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are — or how they got there. In the shadow of a dark internet conspiracy theory, ruthless elitists gather at a remote location to hunt humans for sport. But their master plan is about to be derailed when one of the hunted, Crystal, turns the tables on her pursuers.

Title: The Hunt
Director: Craig Zobel
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS...
Advertisements

The Rich Hunting the Poor

The Hunt’s premise was what got me interested right away. Rich people hunting poor people for sport. It sounded like a Hunger Games like idea that could see a lot of tension, action, and thrilling scenes.

Instead we get half-assed slaughterings, too-obvious action moments, and poor attempts at humor.

I never felt any tension or suspense. I was never even invested in any of the main characters. I think the movie was trying to find a good balance between funny and thrilling, but missed the mark on both of them. It would have been much better if they focused more on the suspense or the humor, and complimented one with the other.


What it really was

The Hunt has very few redeemable moments. The concept is on the unique side but doesn’t come off in any satisfying way. The “bad guys” took their political ideologies and tried way too hard sounding like they actually believed in those ideals, and the “good guys” were all but slaughtered right off the hop, and the few we are left with are either stereotypical to the point of being annoying, or so bland and uninteresting that there’s nothing to latch on to.

There were plot points that came and went with almost no satisfaction to them, and there were others that actually made me hate the movie even more than I already was.

The Hunt' is finally hitting theaters despite President Trump ...

Advertisements

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

One of the biggest problems of The Hunt is that it can’t seem to focus on one plot point. We have the rich hunting the poor, then we have a bit of a backstory to one of the rich people which turns into some weird rivalry that isn’t even real.

It’s all over the place, and it didn’t stick to any of the plot lines long enough for me to care about how it was resolved.


Final Thoughts

International The Hunt Trailer Unleashes New Footage

I don’t think I need to tell you any more about my dislike for this movie. It was poorly executed, and couldn’t quite fit the bed that it made for itself.

If you want to talk more about The Hunt, or any other movies, let’s chat in the comments, or send me a movie review you wrote on social media so I can read your likes/dislikes.
Twitter  | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook