Arrietty

Hello, my lovely readers!
Today’s review marks the final entry for my Studio Ghibli series. I know, there are a few more films but those will be talked about some other time. So stay tuned! For now, let’s talk about Arrietty!

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

Arrietty, a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper. Like all little people, Arrietty remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to “borrow” scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn, a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty’s family from the home and straight into danger.

The Rating:

This one certainly is cute.
It’s kind of funny to me that the little people are adamant in calling themselves borrowers when actually what they do is steal. But hey, that’s just semantics, right?

Anyways, there are many things I like about this picture. The animation is impressive and the little people’s world is enchanting. The amount of detail that must have gone into this is astounding.

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Ponyo

Hello, my lovely readers!
We are almost done with my Studio Ghibli review series (at least for now)! As I didn’t cover all movies this month, keep your eyes open for another Studio Ghibli special in the future.

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

Acclaimed anime master Hayao Miyazaki returns for his ninth animated feature with Ponyo, which deals with a friendship between a five-year-old boy and a goldfish princess who yearns to be human. The daughter of the king of the ocean, Ponyo is no ordinary goldfish — she has all the magic of the sea at her disposal. But when five-year-old Sosuke befriends the spunky little fish near the seaside home he shares with his mother and father, a special connection sparks between the two children, and Ponyo becomes determined to become human. Transforming into a little girl, Ponyo shows up at Sosuke’s doorstep, delighted to make herself at home with her new land-dwelling family. But having a magical fish princess walking around on dry land begins setting the mystical balance of the world off kilter, and even though the innocent love Ponyo feels for her dear friend is strong, it will take some help from the greatest powers in the ocean to make things right again.

The Rating:

This is certainly one of the most adorable things I’ve seen in my entire life.
Everything about this film is cute and warms your heart.

In this film, Studio Ghibli explores an underwater world that looks just as stunning and magical as everything else they’ve done so far. It really is a feast for the eyes.

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Tales from Earthsea

Hey guys!
Hayao Miyazaki is most likely that first name that comes to mind when thinking about Studio Ghibli. His son, Goro, also joined the family business and Tales from Earthsea is his very first movie as a director. Let’s see how that turned out!

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

An epic tale of redemption and self-discovery, the story follows the journey of Lord Archmage Sparrowhawk, the master wizard, as he searches for the force behind a mysterious disturbance that has caused an imbalance in the land of Earthsea-suddenly crops and livestock are dwindling, dragons have reappeared and humanity is giving way to chaos. Along the way, he rescues Arren, a troubled young prince who has fled his home and is being pursued by an enigmatic shadow. Arren joins Sparrowhawk on the quest and, moving closer to their intertwined destinies, they cross paths with Tenar, a former priestess, and her disfigured adopted daughter, Therru. With Sparrowhawk’s magical powers dissipating, all of them must band together to defeat the evil Cob and his henchman Hare before Cob’s mania to find immortality destroys Earthsea.¬†

The Rating:

I’m sorry to say that this is possible my least favorite Studio Ghibli film and I wouldn’t recommend watching it.

Why you may ask? Well, the animation is beautiful as usual, just as the music is enchanting. But that’s about it with positive things I can say about this film.

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Howl's Moving Castle

Hello, guys!
It’s time for another Studio Ghibli movie and this is a really special one!

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese animation director who wowed audiences worldwide with his award-winning film Spirited Away, brings another visually spectacular tale of imagination to the screen. Sophie is an 18-year-old girl who toils in the hat shop opened years ago by her late father. Often harassed by local boys, one day Sophie is unexpectedly befriended by Howl, a strange but flamboyant wizard whose large home can travel under its own power. However, the Witch of the Waste is displeased with Sophie and Howl’s budding friendship, and turns the pretty young woman into an ugly and aged hag. Sophie takes shelter in Howl’s castle, and attempts to find a way to reverse the witch’s spell with the help of Calcifer, a subdued but powerful demon who exists in the form of fire, and Markl, who protects the four-way door which can instantly take visitors to other lands and dimensions.

The Rating:

This is definitely among my favorite Studio Ghibli films. There’s magic, a kick-ass girl, a variety of witches, a scarecrow, a talking fire demon, and an androgynous wizard. What else could you want?!

If you checked out the trailer, you saw what Howl looks like. I recently found out that the movie is based on a book. In the original version Howl is a Welsh rugby player and I just need to read that. Looking at the Ghibli version, I never – not in a million years – would have guessed that!

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The Cat Returns

Hello, hello!
Today I bring you a truly weird Studio Ghibli movie. The Cat Returns is… well, watch the trailer and then we’ll talk about it!

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

Haru is a girl who one day saves the life of a cat while on her way to school. To her surprise, Haru learns she came to the rescue of no ordinary cat — the kitty introduces her to the Kingdom of the Cats, where the feline potentate attempts to arrange a marriage between her and his son. Brought into a world he never knew existed, Haru learns a few lessons about herself as he discovers more about the strange and magical secret world of the cats.¬†

The Rating:

So, what can I write about this one?
Of all the crazy Studio Ghibli films, I found this to be the weirdest one (so far). I mean, this is a movie about a girl who is basically abducted by cats to marry their prince and she’s actually considering it.
Like, that girl was ready to have a romantic relationship with a cat!

The Cat Returns is not among my favorite Studio Ghibli films, but it is certainly a cool picture. It’s just not among the very top-tier.

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Spirited Away

Hello, my darling readers!
The times has come to discuss what is probably Studio Ghibli’s most famous movie of all time. I guess Spirited Away doesn’t need that much of an introduction, pretty much everybody has seen it or heard of it in some way, shape or form. Let’s get talking!

The Plot (according to Rotten Tomatoes):

The film opens with ten-year-old Chihiro riding along during a family outing as her father races through remote country roads. When they come upon a blocked tunnel, her parents decide to have a look around — even though Chihiro finds the place very creepy. When they pass through the tunnel, they discover an abandoned amusement park. As Chihiro’s bad vibes continue, her parents discover an empty eatery that smells of fresh food. After her mother and father help themselves to some tasty purloined morsels, they turn into giant pigs. Chihiro understandably freaks out and flees. She learns that this very weird place, where all sorts of bizarre gods and monsters reside, is a holiday resort for the supernatural after their exhausting tour of duty in the human world. Soon after befriending a boy named Haku, Chihiro learns the rules of the land: one, she must work , as laziness of any kind is not tolerated; and two, she must take on the new moniker of Sen. If she forgets her real name, Haku tells her, then she will never be permitted to leave.

The Rating:

Magical. Enchanting. Impressive. Weird. Brilliant. I’m still trying to find the proper word to describe Spirited Away.
It’s one of the Studio Ghibli movies I’ve seen several times up until now and it still manages to fascinate me.

There are so many details in this film, so many inspirations behind it. You’ll discover something new every time you watch it.
I managed to convince a friend who had never seen (or had any interest in seeing) any of the Studio Ghibli films to check this one out and now he wants to watch all the other productions as well. That’s how impressive this film is!

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