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#21 Izo

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 12:07 PM

Received Miyazaki's autobiography for Christmas, as well as the BFI Film Classics book on Spirited Away by Andrew Osmond, which I tore through. I recommend the BFI book (haven't dug into the bio yet), though with reservations. I feel like Osmond spends a lot of time repeating information, much of which is either well-known, obvious, or simply repetitions from other sources such as the doc on the Spirited Away DVD. The book is undeniably useful and I liked that he didn't shy away from the film's obvious narrative deficiencies. My biggest gripe with the book is that it lacks any real analysis. The first half deals with the film's production, and the second half is basically a long plot summary, but there's nothing deep about any of this. There is no real discussion, for example, of No Face's significance outside of the narrative. Osmond does point out the interesting fact that No Face is wearing a Noh mask, making for a fascinating unintentional sort of pun in the English translation. Good read, and if anyone's interested in the bio I'll post a review once I finish it.

Also, after reading the BFI book, I rewatched Spirited Away and watched the feature-length Japanese documentary included with the DVD. I'd never seen it before, since the Disney editions of these films are full of the same fluffy extras, but this one is different. The best scene shows Miyazaki working until 2:00 am and then leaving, only to return again the next morning. Stunning stuff.

#22 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 12:39 PM

Received Miyazaki's autobiography for Christmas, as well as the BFI Film Classics book on Spirited Away by Andrew Osmond, which I tore through. I recommend the BFI book (haven't dug into the bio yet), though with reservations. I feel like Osmond spends a lot of time repeating information, much of which is either well-known, obvious, or simply repetitions from other sources such as the doc on the Spirited Away DVD. The book is undeniably useful and I liked that he didn't shy away from the film's obvious narrative deficiencies. Good read, and if anyone's interested in the bio I'll post a review once I finish it.

Also, after reading the BFI book, I rewatched Spirited Away and watched the feature-length Japanese documentary included with the DVD. I'd never seen it before, since the Disney editions of these films are full of the same fluffy extras, but this one is different. The best scene shows Miyazaki working until 2:00 am and then leaving, only to return again the next morning. Stunning stuff.


That's pretty awesome.

Are you going to get or do you have: Studio Ghibli: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata by Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc? I just looked this up trying to find the autobiography you are talking about (I believe it is Starting Point: 1979-1996 by Hayao Miyazaki, Beth Cary, and Frederik L. Schodt (Aug 4, 2009) correct?).

Please post a review if you have time. I always read those :).

I agree about the documentary on Spirited Away. One I would like to revisit.
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My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
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#23 Izo

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 12:46 PM

That's pretty awesome.

Are you going to get or do you have: Studio Ghibli: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata by Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc? I just looked this up trying to find the autobiography you are talking about (I believe it is Starting Point: 1979-1996 by Hayao Miyazaki, Beth Cary, and Frederik L. Schodt (Aug 4, 2009) correct?).

Please post a review if you have time. I always read those :).

I agree about the documentary on Spirited Away. One I would like to revisit.


Yes, it's Starting Point.

I may get the Ghibli book, but I'll have to look into it. I'm a fan of Takahata's work. I'd definitely like to read more on Porco Rosso and Nausicaa especially.

Speaking of, has anyone read the series of Nausicaa books that Miyazaki wrote over a ten-year span? The BFI book says something along the lines of "the film is to the series as The Hobbit is to The Lord of the Rings".

#24 Izo

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 05:41 PM

The newest Studio Ghibli film*, (The Secret World of Arrietty (known everywhere else as The Borrower Arrietty), will finally be getting a wide (!!!) release in the US on February 17th. Disney's actually given the film a pretty aggressive advertising campaign. This is very good news, Ponyo got the wide release but even that was relatively quiet. Hopefully it does well in the US box office and the trend of releasing these films in multiplexes continues.


*Actually, this is incorrect. Goro Miyazaki's second feature, Up on Poppy Hill, was released in Japan last summer. Still, this is the newest for Americans.

#25 Izo

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 12:46 AM

I just saw The Secret World of Arrietty, and I loved it. In my mind, it's easily the best non-Takahata/Miyazaki Ghibli film. In tone, it's closest to The Cat Returns, though it definitely has a depth that that film - wonderful though it is - decidedly lacks. Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi has a great skill for painting in the corners. Pay attention to the film, especially the backgrounds, and you'll find little throwaway details that will, if nothing else, make you smile. My favorite was a pen and inkwell made from a dragonfly wing. I think this one will prove to be quite popular. I'm certainly going to buy it.

Special note should go to the celtic-influenced musical score, which is really exceptional. Just ignore the second song in the end credits, sung by one of the Disney Channel stars and not written by the film's composer Cécile Corbel. It was obviously a Disney imposition. Ah well.

#26 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 10:36 AM

Roger Ebert's Great Movie for Spirited Away

""Spirited Away" is surely one of the finest of all animated films..."

The Miyazaki quotes at the bottom are quite interesting.

Miyazaki Hayao: "In a way, live action is becoming part of that whole soup called animation. Animation has become a word that encompasses so much, and my animation is just a little tiny dot over in the corner. It's plenty for me."

It is one of my favorite films. You can always tell in a Great Movie review whether he really likes a film or not and in this case he certainly does.
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Previous Editions: 2,
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#27 Izo

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 10:47 AM

I really agree, it is one of the absolute greatest animated films, and when all is said and done I think it will be viewed as Miyazaki's supreme masterpiece.

Now where's the Blu!?

#28 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 11:32 AM

I really agree, it is one of the absolute greatest animated films, and when all is said and done I think it will be viewed as Miyazaki's supreme masterpiece.

Now where's the Blu!?


I think, analogous to Akira Kurosawa, that while we might have a favorite he has done to many great films so you will always see a great critical divide with what film is considered his best. Only time will tell on this instance though.
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My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

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#29 Izo

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 11:54 AM

I think Spirited Away is the clear critical favorite as well, though for fans - especially in Japan -My Neighbor Totoro is possibly the best loved, though Spirited Away raked in the cash as well.

My personal favorite is Porco Rosso.

#30 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 12:06 PM

That's an interesting personal favorite :). Mine is probably Spirited Away, but I really love most of his films. He is a director I tend to lend as well. I almost take it personally when someone doesn't like one that I lend (same feeling when someone doesn't like Police Story :)).

Well, Spirited Away has the most votes on IMDB of any Japanese film. It also has the second highest rating among the Japanese films in the IMDB (Seven Samurai is first). For the latest TSPDT it is ranked 428 compared to 398 for My Neighbor Totoro (you get a good idea of what western critics think of, more than eastern critics from that list). But that's pretty close anyways.
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Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

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#31 Izo

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 12:34 PM

TSPDT includes a bunch of non-critic lists as well, don't they? I know they take the filmmaker rankings from Sight and Sound into account at the very least. Regardless, like you said, that is very close.

I think that Porco Rosso is a beautiful, fun film that manages to include virtually all of Miyazaki's themes in a poignant, elegant way. Included are the complicated machines, the aviation (Miyazaki's family had owned an aviation company), physical transformations, awkward, seemingly hopeless couples, strong-willed, intelligent females, European architecture, I could go on and on. On top of all of this, you get a touching tribute to old Hollywood adventure films. I sort of feel like it may be Miyazaki's most personal film. He clearly has a special fondness for it, since he's talked in the past of even making a sequel.

#32 hal0000

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 03:31 PM

My Miyazaki blind spots are Porco Russo and Princess Mononoke (had the disk, but found it unwatchable... quality wise).

I usually vote for My Neighbor Totoro, but lately, I've been leaning more and more towards the sweet simplicity of Kiki's Delivery Service. They are more slice-of-life than fantasy and their ambitions perhaps lie on a smaller scale than his more whimsical efforts, but they are humbly endearing to me. They're the kind of movies you see on a cold winter day, wrapped in a cozy blanket sipping hot tea. These two have a delicate simplicity in their conflicts--their magical realism is ultimately bound to reality's daily, commonplace dilemmas.

They're the only two movies that come close to matching the serene insights and gentle atmosphere of Aria.




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