Tag Archives: Hayao Miyazaki

The Wind Rises Review

Staggering adventures through the air are certainly the desire of Hayao Miyazaki with The Wind Rises. His passion for aviation and the heroes behind it is admirable. He plans out his final bow, and for a good few years, The Wind Rises was the final offering of a masterful animator. A man who had steered a genre to its peak, and offered some of the finest features available to audiences of so many generations. That impact is felt throughout this feature, one that looks to adapt the life of Jiro Horikoshi not with fact, but with appreciation. It is here that Miyazaki can deliberate on what he feels makes an effective human being, and he does so with such a natural desire to express his respect for the Japanese engineer through dream sequences and a fictitious personal life that fuels the fire of his passion. 

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The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness Review

I recall an interview Danny DeVito gave, where he said he wouldn’t retire from acting. “Do actors retire? Maybe they do,” he said. Many artists have so much to give, and when one retires and leaves behind such a strong body of work, we are left a little stunned. Are we short-changed? No, not necessarily. It is better to end on a high than slog through, annoying audiences until you stop pumping blood to the heart. So few take heed of the retirement advice. Robert Redford did, as did Hayao Miyazaki. The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness is as much a documentary on the (at the time) final project of Miyazaki as it is on the life and times of the director behind The Wind Rises 

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Howl’s Moving Castle Review

Seamless mixtures of passionate animation and fantastical elements conjured up by the wizards behind the camera make just about every Studio Ghibli project a worthwhile experience. Even their duds have clear strokes of emotion and creativity, at least their earlier works do anyway. So long as we as a collective are set to disregard Earwig and the Witch, most would admit to the near-squeaky clean record these titans of animation have managed to present. Howl’s Moving Castle, for that and many other reasons, is a welcome experience that marks the second Hayao Miyazaki-helmed Ghibli project of the 21st century. For Ghibli, this is a traditional turn of events that bring witchcraft and whimsy to the big screen, but something is missing, that spark of perfection has faded, naturally, but here is where it can be felt frequently.

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Princess Mononoke Review

I’ve never really been all that big a fan of anime. My experience of this animation style starts and ends with watching Yu-Gi-Oh! on CITV when I was a kid. But now that I’m old and trying my best not to paint fans of anime with the same brush, I find myself investing time into the work of Studio Ghibli. Popular stuff, I know, and nothing short of enjoyable in more or less every film they craft, films like Princess Mononoke offer glimmers of hope that the genre of anime isn’t all just soppy love stories and the internet stereotypes we love to laugh at.  

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Spirited Away (2001) Review

I’ve got a really bad habit for committing to films that have no real relevance in modern day culture. With a disregard for what is popular and what is niche, I find myself awkwardly swaying from side to side every now and then, wondering what I’ll watch or review next. Sometimes you can knock it out of the park with a nostalgia trip review, other times you’ll jump into something you’re really passionate about and receive a lukewarm response at best. Perhaps it’s best to focus on what is still popular, and there’s nothing more popular to fans of animation than Studio Ghibli. They create wonderful films, and Spirited Away is more than probably their most popular product. Generations will grow up regarding this as one of their favourites, a true achievement in the work of animation. 

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My Neighbour Totoro (1988) Review

The easier it is to watch incredible animated features, the better, and with Studio Ghibli movies finding their way onto Netflix, it seems like it’ll be easier and easier to engage with an aspect of film history that I have otherwise evaded until now. My introduction to the series of films came in the form of the harrowing Grave of the Fireflies, and since then I’ve been somewhat hooked by the likes of Ponyo and Kiki’s Delivery Service. They’re all incredibly nice-looking films, with some nice plots to engage a younger audience but with timeless re-watchability that’ll make it a treat for older audiences also. I find myself in the latter category, and my first time viewing of My Neighbour Totoro was an absolute blast.

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