Porco Rosso (1992) Review

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Porco Rosso is an action-comedy film directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

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An Italian fighter pilot who fought in the first World War has been turned into a pig due to a curse.

Now as a pig Marco (AKA Porco Rosso) keeps the town of Dubrovnik safe by taking out air pilots who are causing trouble for the locals.

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An American pilot called Donald Curtis arrives in Dubrovnik to work with the pirates, he is a talented flyer and is the only person that is able to best Porco and eventually taking out his plane. Porco feeling defeated takes his plane to Milan to get it repaired and upgraded ready to return and beat Donald in a competition to earn back his credibility and respect.

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I absolutely love the scenery of this film especially the flying shots which look breathtaking and beautiful, I have always loved the way that Studio Ghibli does the ocean and water in their films but the water in Porco Rosso is one of my favourites.

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Michael Keeton plays the main character Porco Rosso and he does a great job of portraying the grumpy and rough nature of his character but the entire voice cast also gave a wonderful performance.

Porco Rosso is a hilarious comedy film that is filled with romance and action. It may at times come across as a little bit silly but that only adds to its personality and makes it even more lovable, its a film that I feel anyone could get into and enjoy.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Porco Rosso

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Only Yesterday (1991) Review

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Only Yesterday is a drama film directed by Isao Takahata, it is based on a Manga of the same title.

Taeko is a 27 year old woman who has decided to take a trip to the countryside.

While travelling to her destination on a train she remembers memories of her childhood and her school days.

The main focus of the story is these flash backs. It shows Taeko growing up and learning to live with strict parents, how to deal with bullies and discovering her body when she first has a period.

A lot goes on this film in reality this film is about a child struggling to gain an understanding from her family about why she behaves the way she does and why she is not as good as her siblings when it comes to her school grades.

I normally I don’t like this type of film but I really resonated with this one, I had a good childhood growing up and was luckier than most other children that I knew but so many of the struggles that this little girl went through was very similar to things I had to go through when I was younger. I won’t go into details of my past but I found this film emotional as it reminded me of myself.

Daisy Ridley who plays Rey in the new star wars trilogy voices Taeko in the film and she and everyone else does a great job.

I don’t have too much to say about this film, nothing really was that memorable and I think that if I didn’t resonate with it as much I don’t think I would have enjoyed it, but with that being said in 1991 this was the highest grossing film in Japan so there is obviously an audience for it.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Only Yesterday

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Kiki’s Delivery Service 1989 Review

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Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a coming of age story about a young Witch who moves to the big city.

1008714Kiki is a young witch who has just turned 13, traditionally witches leave home at this age, Kiki leaves her parents and heads to the city of Koriko where she eventually lives after helping out the local baker who gives her a room, Kiki sets up a delivery service to earn a little money to buy food and supplies for herself and her cat Jiji.

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Similar to my Neighbour Totoro not a lot goes on in this film but its the small things that do happen that makes it so memorable, the main plot focuses on a semi love interest for Kiki named Tombo, Tombo is fascinated by Kiki because of her ability to fly on her broom stick, he loves aviation and is keen to fly on his bicycle.

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There are a few things that happen in the film but one of the most memorable was Kiki meeting the painter named Ursula, Ursula has the ability to get close to birds without scaring them, she is a very passionate painter and becomes a good friend of Kiki in the film and later on helps her out when she is upset.

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There are so many great characters in the film but my favourite is Jiji. Jiji is Kiki’s pet cat who joins her on her delivery’s he is able to communicate with Kiki and has some of funniest lines and jokes in the film.

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I really like movies like this where not a lot happens but you really do get hooked on the story and Kiki’s Delivery Service is the perfect example of this. It’s a simple movie with a basic plot but an amazing atmosphere and a cast of characters that will make your heart melt. Kirsten Dunst does and excellent job at voicing Kiki and Phil Hartman stands out as Jiji but all of the cast members did a great job. There is something about the atmosphere of the world of this movie that really draws you in, I would love to visit this city and just just walk around and see all of the great sights.

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I did some research and found out that there is a bakery in Japan that is based on Kiki’s Delivery service, apparently they even sell themed baked goods, I will leave the link below so you check out the article for yourself.

https://www.boredpanda.com/kiki-bakery-studio-ghibli-hayao-miyazaki-yufuin-floral-village-japan/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

I love Kiki’s Delivery Service, its one of favourite films and I try to watch it every year, it truly is magical and is sure to find a special place in your heart. I think it’s one of Miyazaki’s best work and it will always be a very important film to me, its definitely worth giving it a viewing.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Kiki’s Delivery Service

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My Neighbour Totoro 1988 Review

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My Neighbour Totoro has become quite an iconic film over the past few years, it has become so popular that it became the logo for Studio Ghibli

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, My Neighbour Totoro’s story is that of a family who have decided to move to a new home they have moved to a fairly quiet location in the countryside, I imagine that they moved here to live a peaceful life style but little did they know that where they have moved to is also a hangout for many different spirits.

In any other film this would usually lead to a scary or spooky movie but surprisingly in this film the spirits are just there and they don’t seem to alarm or bother anyone in the family.

As you may have guessed one of the neighbouring spirits is the huge Totoro who has a surprising resemblance to the Pokemon Snorlax.

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The two girls Mei and Satsuki discover Totoro and the entire film is essentially them interacting with him and that’s what sort of makes it so good, Totoro is a very peculiar character as he seems very human he likes to take naps, he catches the bus (well a spirit bus, which also a cat) and in general he doesn’t actually do much, he doesn’t have much dialogue so making him a lovable character is mostly about the pacing of his actions and the animators really nailed this one on the head, yeah Totoro doesn’t do much but he is so well animated that every time he smiles, bounces or yawns its hard not to love him and the timing of these actions are its difficult to explain without me just telling you to watch the movie but if you do will see what I mean.

The family are great in this movie the dad is a hard working individual but he is also seen to be a lot of fun in many scenes of the film but by far the best characters are the two sisters, these girls honestly seem like real sisters in real life the older sister can at times be bossy but caring and the younger sister is excitable, very curious and genuinely quite innocent

Like I said not a lot goes on in this movie there is a climax near the end of the film but its nothing too crazy so don’t get your hopes up.

I’m not huge on the music in this film it’s not bad I just don’t think that its very memorable but the animation is really something special, at times the animation looks similar to every other Studio Ghibli film but every now and again something really cool and interesting will show up, everyone loves Totoro and his character design but personally I don’t think anything can top the cat bus its so bizarre that this movie has a bus that is also a cat but it looks so cool that you just really want to ride it.

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My Neighbour Totoro is a special film as its surprisingly brilliant, not a lot goes on in the movie but everything is so well paced and well animated that the entire film is very memorable, the animation and character designs are pretty superb and every character in this film is interesting and likeable, if you ever want to watch a movie that you can chill out too and also appreciate its brilliance then My Neighbour Totoro is the film for you.

Thank you for reading my review of My Neighbour Totoro

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Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Review

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Directed by Isao Takahata Grave of the Fireflies is an Animated war film that is based on a story from 1967 with the same title.

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This is by far the most tragic film in the Studio Ghibli Collection it starts with the corpse of the main character Seita being searched by a Janitor in a train station, he takes a candy tin and throws it into a field and this releases the memory of Seita’s younger sister Setsuko who is joined by the memory of her brother,  they both board a train and then the film shows the struggle they went through during the end World War 2 that eventually lead to both of them dying.

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Even though the beginning the film shows that the outcome of these characters is not good, what makes the film worth watching is the message that it gives, throughout the journey audiences will be rooting for Seita and Setsuko to survive because of how well they get along and how much they truly love each-other.

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The tragedy of the film is truly Seita’s character, he wants the be the protector of his sister after their mother dies, but he doesn’t have a lot of experience doing this eventually pushing away everyone who tries to help them. Its his stubborn nature that causes the downfall in their story but he means so well and only wants the best. This makes the film extremely difficult and sad to watch its a really good movie with excellent animation and characters, I actually think that these are some of the best characters the studio has ever produced because they seem so real.

Grave of the Fireflies is one of the most hard to watch animated films ever made, its a great piece of cinema that shows that cartoons and animation really is not just for children and families, this film is not suitable for children and it definitely wasn’t made for them its a story that will cause emotion and pain for all who see it, its fantastically tragic.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Grave of the Fireflies

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Castle in the Sky (1986) Review

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Castle in the Sky is technically the first movie under the Studio Ghibli name but it is recognised by the company as their second film after Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind.

Its a fantasy-adventure film which was written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

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After an attack on an airship a young girl named Sheeta falls slowly and lands in a small town where she is discovered by an adventurous orphan boy called Pazu, who takes her into his home to take of her, not long after this they are attacked by the pirates who want to steal Sheetas necklace which holds mysterious powers.

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The Pirates are my favourite part of the film they are really funny and often cause epic and comedic chase sequences between them and the two protagonists, another reason I like these characters is because they are not just typical villain characters they do have hearts and at times even help the two children in their adventure to keep Sheeta safe.

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The main antagonist of the film is agent Muska who had originally abducted Sheeta in the beginning of the movie and hunts her down throughout the adventure, like the Pirates he also wants the necklace but his intentions are to use it to take over Laputa (Sheeta’s home land) he is voiced by Mark Hamill in the English Dub of the movie.

While I do like the animation of the film I much prefer its soundtrack, the music was composed by Joe Hisaishi.

The soundtrack is beautiful and matches the theme and pacing of the film extremely well, it has hints of adventure with hidden moments of sadness and wonder which works to emphasise the films emotions.

Castle in the Sky is a fantastic movie it blends various genres together, fantasy, science fiction, steam punk, comedy, action and adventure and it does thsi extremely well for an animated feature, its intense but also charming and romantic, its a film that I feel that no matter what age you are you will love it, its one my favourite animated films and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fast paced movies with a lot of heart and imagination.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Castle in the Sky

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Nausicaa of the valley of the wind (1984) Review

Welcome to an unusual Christmas series, this year I have decided to discuss the Studio Ghibli feature films collection, some of these films I have already discussed on this website many years ago but I feel its time to update those older reviews. The reason I have decided on this series is because while they don’t have anything to with the holidays I find myself watching them every Christmas and I think they will be more interesting than regular Christmas movies so without further ado lets begin with Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

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Based on a Manga of the same name Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is a fantasy-science fiction movie based in a post apocalyptic world. The film was directed by Hayao Miyazaki a true legend of film making and animation. This was Miyazaki’s second film after The Castle of Cagliostro in 1979

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A thousand years after an apocalyptic war the land has been turned into a toxic jungle with giant and deadly bugs roaming around and causing trouble for the humans that remain.

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Nausicca the Princess of the Valley of the Wind has the ability to befriend various animals and creatures, she is able to calm the angry bugs that are causing trouble for the humans and her main goal is to find a way for the humans and the bugs to exist side by side in peace.

The Vallley of the Wind is one of most peaceful places left on earth, the rest of the planet are at war with eachother and fighting to gain power and resources after the effects of the war, unfortunately one of these of these other lands decides to attack the Valley of the Wind and kills Nausicca’s father leaving Nausicca to try and keep peace and prevent any other person or bug from being needlessly killed.

 

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I really enjoyed Nausicca’s character, she is a great warrior who also has a plan of action when she needs too, shes emotional and cares a lot about the people and creatures around her but she wasn’t my favourite character in the film that would have to be Lord Yupa a swordsman and secondary father figure to Nausicca, he’s voiced by Patrick Stewart in the English dub and that might be why I like him so much, other noticeable names are Shia LeBouf, Uma Thurman, Frank Welker, Jodi Benson and Mark Hamill.

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I love the art style and colouring used in this film, its dark and gritty with a style of animation that looks like a mixture of anime and a comic book, the rough design of the bugs are my absolute favourite part of the film but I enjoy the beauty of the world in which this film takes place especially the jungle with its plants and trees that are imaginative and full of creativity and are one of the films most standout features.

Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind is an excellent film that takes a world of wonder and throws into land of a chaos, its a tragic movie that shows the effects of humankind and its greed and selfishness that ultimately causes nothing but heartache, corruption and pain to the world that we often take for granted and Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind shows this in ways that will be remembered forever making it a very important part of the history of animation.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind

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