Howl at Venice/Studio Ghibli

minnow at minnow at
Wed Sep 8 19:35:47 EDT 2004

Ika wrote

>[in response to various reviews posted]
To which I'll add another: someone has just sent me what he says is
and it's too long for me to put up here, I think.

The reviewer seems to have enjoyed the film.

>I finally watched *Spirited Away* this week and completely fell in love
>with it, so I'm looking forward to the Howl movie more than ever.

>Anyway. In my new squeeing Miyazaki-fangirl state (he is the genius
>omg!!11!) I'm really pleased that Miyazaki is doing this movie.

Since I have only bothered to go and watch about one film per year of my
life, Ghibli are somewhat of an exception rather than a rule -- I don't
often say films are good, and I almost never tell anyone they're worth
going to.  I think I have almost reached the point at which I'll take
Miyazaki's work on trust, but don't take my word for it: seek 'em out, let
me know if I am badly wrong.  (Other people here may remembering my
claiming not to proselytise about Ghibli.  I am still surprised by
*knowing* the name of a film studio, leave along *recommending their

If you feel you've come all over Miyazaki-fangirl for *Spirited Away*, I
have to ask whether you have encountered *Princess Mononake*?  I haven't
been able to make up my mind which of the two I rate more highly, but PM
has a more complex plot, and I found it more thought-provoking.  I don't
think Miyazaki *does* simple-plot any more: in PM almost every character
might or might not be "good" or "bad", and even the "good" ones might make
decisions for all the right reasons whose results might be poor.  Or might
not be, when the film has got a bit further.

When Miyazaki first bought the movie-rights DWJ had never seen anything of
his and was a bit agitated about anime, so a right-minded person got her a
video of *My Neighbour Totoro*, one of the earlier ones, and she fell in
love with that too.  That one isn't so complex (well, it isn't if one gets
hold of a copy with some translation, but even without the words it's
reasonably straightforward to follow what's going on) and as far as I'm
concerned it's a pure delight.

Evidence: Dave Langford has no great opinion of cartoon films.  Totoro (in
Japanese and I think the subtitles weren't working) was being played at a
Microcon on a video screen on the way to the bar, and he wandered past on
his way to Get Beer just as it started -- as anyone who's met him knows,
Beer is Important and Not To Be Interrupted.  I took a risk and caused him
to pause and watch for a minute, and he stood there for the whole film,
entranced.  He explained later that being deaf, he didn't notice or mind
too much that he couldn't hear what was going on.

You might like that one too.  :-)

DWJ also recommends *Kiki's Delivery Service*, which I haven't seen and so
can't comment on.  And *everyone* seems to like *Laputa*, which I also have
on my "when I get a chance" list of films to see.


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