I should premise this post by saying that I am a huge fan of Studio Ghibli and their wonderful stunning completely hand-drawn animation. They leave Disney for dead in every category you care to name. The movies are so good for children and for adults. Even after watching ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ a dozen times in the first fortnight we had it, I was still happy to have it on in the background.
The very first one that we watched. And watched and watched. Chihoro’s parents are turned into pigs when they greedily eat food meant for the Gods and Chihiro must rescue them. Chihiro is a wonderful character, scared to begin with but then becoming braver and more confident. Tender, funny, loving – full of friendship and cool monsters. The bathhouse is amazing and that train going over the water…sigh, it is so beautiful......
My Neighbour Totoro
This film has to win some kind of award for best kid’s film ever. My 11yr old son still loves it - I still love it. Great for the little ones too. Two sisters (I want a ‘Mei’ for my own!) move with their Dad to the country side to be closer to their mother who is in hospital and very sick. The girls discover Totoro: a tree spirit and met CatBus and other wonderful characters and have adventures and fly and everything. So Very Good
Nausicaa The Valley of the Winds
My son’s favourite. Includes voices by Patrick Stewart and Edward James Olmos. Nausicaa is a young princess living in a world ravaged by war and environmental destruction. Her father is murdered by an invading army and Nausicaa must rescue them all. Strong Environmental message. Gorgous pictures. Quite nail biting in places. Maybe not for the very small
Laputa Castle in the Sky
A princess falls from the sky holding the key to an ancient mystery. Cool Pirates and Scary Robots. I find this a very poignant film with the lost floating kingdoms and once again the animation is gorgeous.
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Kiki is a young witch who must leave home and find her own town to a witch in. Phil Hartman does the voice of her black cat. No messages here other than ‘believe in yourself’. Very sweet
Not for the littlies. Demons and monsters and evil men with a powerful be-good-to-the forests message. It is quite scary and graphic in places. Strong main characters and stunning animation. Does anyone anywhere do better water and sunlight and trees. The kids and I watched it twice on the day we first bought it. A big fave with my son
Howls Moving Castle
Last night, my daughter and I went halves in the new 2 disc set of this film that had a theatrical release last year. It is an adaptation of the book by Dianna Wynne Jones, a book which completely rocks. The movie strays from the plotline of the book but stays true to the spirit. Sophie Hatter is turned into an old woman by the Witch of the Waste and having nothing to lose, has the courage to leave her home town and have some adventures. She moves in as cleaning lady to the castle of Howl, evil heart-eating wizard, who is really a big spunk. Calcifer the fire Demon is so very funny and there is a subtle anit-war message. Once again, the animation is gorgeous. Read the book too
These are all the movies we own and having them all is just a matter of time, just as saving up to go the Studio Ghibli in Japan is. I hear they are doing ‘Wizard of Earthsea’ next, so that will be interesting. Well, we can garentee that is will have strong female characters, super cute sidekicks, humour, kindness and the most beautiful scenery in the history of....history