The Wind Rises (2013) Review

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The Wind Rises is a biopic of Jiro Horikshi who invented the Mitsubishi AM5 a Japanese fighter plane that was used in World War 2. This was stated to be Hayao Miyazaki’s last ever feature film before his retirement making it a very important part of film history.

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I love how ambitious of an inventor Jiro is in the film, I think this is a personal thing because I am very creative myself and I am very passionate about the things that I have made so I felt very connected to this character.

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The dream sequences were my favourite part of the movie, they were all very creative and full of the imaginative imagery that you would expect from Miyazaki, this isn’t as crazy as some of his other work but it is still fantastic without going overboard.

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There was a romance built up in the movie and while it was fine, I did feel that it didn’t make much difference to the plot and if it wasn’t there I do not think the movie would have been affected.

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Spoiler ahead but I want to discuss how good the ending of the film is, its another dream sequence but at this point Japan had lost the war and it showed Jiro being regretful for making the planes but one of his heroes who appears in most of his dreams comforts him saying that his dream has been realised, the film ends on a sweet but sour note yes Jiro achieved his dream but at the cost that his dream was used to take many lives in one of the worst times in history.

The Wind Rises is a really interesting movie, it focuses more on the character and his inventions than it does the tragedy of war, I suppose if you wanted to see the effects of war you can watch Grave of the Fireflies, I really don’t know what to think of this one I really enjoyed it but it didn’t impact me the same way as Miyazaki’s other films, this one is really good and educational with some big names in its cast, Joseph Gordan Levitt, Elijah Wood, Martin Short and many others. I don’t its a movie to watch countless times but one viewing is well worth your while.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Wind Rises

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From up on Poppy Hill (2011) Review

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From up on Poppy Hill is a Drama film that was directed by Goro Miyazaki with the film based on a screen play written by his father Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa.

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Umi is a young girl who attends a boarding school called Coquelicot Manor in Japan. Here she meets Shun a young male student after he ends up in the school newspaper after committing to a Dare Devil stunt.

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Umi and Shun become very close throughout the film end work together to try and convince the chairman of the boarding school to not demolish it but the main mystery is whether they are actually lost siblings as both of them have the same photograph of a man who they believe to be there father.

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I will be honest and say that I have never been too fond of this film, I have always found it to be a little bit boring and the story feels like a plot that I have seen a thousand times before, however the voice acting is probably some of the best out of all the Ghibli movies, A lot of effort and heart went into all of these performances and while the only  recognisable name may be Jamie- Lee- Curtis everyone did a fantastic job and its the passion in the voice work that I think makes the film stand out among others.

From up on Poppy Hill will probably never be a film that I would say needs to be seen but it has a lot of heart and some amazing voice work, I wish the plot had a little bit more to it but overall I would say that one is just ok at best.

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Ponyo (2008) Review

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Written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Ponyo is a fantasy-film loosely based on ideas from the Hans Christian Anderson story the Little Mermaid.

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A close encounter with a fishing trawler causes a young human-fish hybrid creature to become separated from her family and trapped in a glass-jar which washes up on shore in a small town. The fish creature is discovered by a young boy named Sosuke who names it Ponyo and takes care of it.

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Sosuke wants to keep Ponyo as a friend but her father voiced by Liam Neeson is desperate to get his daughter back in order to prevent the ocean from becoming unbalanced and colliding with the land.

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Ponyo is a quite bizzare movie, not in its premise but more in things that happen, later on in the film Ponyo grows arms and legs and begins to evolve into a human and it is this form that I enjoy the most. The bond between the two children is adorable and while Ponyo is a wild and excitable character she is never annoying  and is very likeable.

7f2 I am in love with the visual style of this film, the colours used blend perfectly with the animation.

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One of my favourite designs is of the Goddess of Mercy Granmamare who is Ponyo’s mother, she is truly stunning in her design with a glow effect added to emphasise her importance and grandeur.

Ponyo is not one of my favourite films and its far from one of the best films from Studio Ghibli but it melts my heart with how cute the story is and its hard not to enjoy its silliness at times, I don’t watch this one often but every now again I need a little bit of Ponyo to brighten my day.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Ponyo

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Howl’s Moving Castle (2002) Review

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Howl’s Moving Castle was written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, it is a fantasy-romance film based on a book of the same name.

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Sophie is a young girl who works in a hat shop with her mother and sisters. One day her sisters are admiring the sight of the famous moving castle that is owned by the wizard Howl.

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While working late into the night Sophie is alone when she is confronted by the Witch of the Waste who mistakes Sophie for her sister Lettie and curses her into the form of an elderly woman.

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Hoping to find a cure for the curse, Sophie seeks out the wizard Howl and becomes a care taker in his castle, she is desperate to get back to her old younger form but the curse prevents her from telling people what happened leaving her to figure a lot of it out on her own.

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There are so many lovable characters in this movie, Howl is voiced by Christian Bale and old Sophie (Jean Simmons) is another one of my favourites but in my opinion no one can top Calcifer a fire demon that had been placed under curse to become Howl’s heart and life line, his fire needs too keep burning or Howl will die, he’s voiced by Billy Crystal who was a perfect casting choice.

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The animation in the film is outstanding and visually its gorgeous, there is a lot of details in many scenes and the design choices are really quite magical, a lot of bounce and stretch animation is used in the film which helps to give the characters gravity and realistic movements.

Howl’s Moving Castle is a fantastic movie that shows the desperation of many people trying to break multiple curses, you really feel the pressure on everyone’s shoulders in this film to either survive or get their old lives back, its a movie full of magic and wonder and is one you do not want to miss.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Howls Moving Castle

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Princess Mononoke (1997) Review

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Princess Mononoke is a Fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

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After an Emishi village is targeted by an evil spirit for attack, the evil spirit is killed by Ashitaka the last surviving Emishi Prince, He is unfortunately cursed after touching the demon, this grants him unbelievable strength but at the cost of it eventually taking his life. He is advised to head to the land of Nago to seek out a cure.

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Ashitaka is advised by a Buddhist to find the forest spirit, the forest spirit is a fantastical entity that is a deer by day but can transform into a night-walker at night time.

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Ashitaka finds Iron town which is ran by Lady Eboshi, Lady Eboshi leads the workers of iron town in a war between them and the gods of the forest, making her a sworn enemy of Princess Mononoke aka San

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San is the protector of the forest, she loves the forest and has the mannerisms and personality of wolves due to being raised by them since a young age.

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What I find most interesting about this film is not the fantastical world of the forest or the creatures that reside there but it is simply the fact that for a film that is so violent and has strong morals there is no villains. In fact I would argue that everyone in this movie is a villain in some way. The two residing enemies in the war each have good reasons for what they are doing, and while Ashitaka did get cursed he had to kill a spirit to get that curse in the first place, no one in this film is completely innocent not even Mononoke, she and her wolves have a body count and those that they kill do not always deserve death so really you will have to watch the film yourself to decide which side you are supporting.

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I love the visual style used in this film, the spirits are particularly epic and wonderful to look at and study, you can tell that the artists had a lot of fun creating some of these characters, the colours used in the film are fantastic and the palette choice really helped to emphasise the nature and surrounding areas represented in the movie.

The voice cast was very good all around, some recognised names would be Tara Strong, Billy Bob Thornton, Minnie Driver and Jada Plinkett Smith.

I really am a big fan of this movie but I must disagree with it being one of Miyazaki’s best work, if I’m being honest while it really is spectacular I feel it isn’t very well paced everything happens so quickly in the movie and it is a lot to take in but this is really is a fantastic film that may just find a special place in your heart.

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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.

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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.

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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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