Alright. Grocery shopping pick up done. Chores for the day completed. Cat suitably played with & lavished attention upon. Time to begin my little animation marathon starting with my all-time favorite movie ever made. It’s been at least eight months since I last saw it. Let’s go!
Had a bit of a delayed start due to but now I’m into it. And oh what bliss. The soundtrack for #SpiritedAway has been in my regular rotation for a decade+ now. I listen to this music so often to relax. To the point it’s a little surreal now hearing it in context of the movie. 🤷🏻‍♀️
It has always been the little animations that get me the most in #StudioGhibli films & #SpiritedAway is such a prime example. The dripping water from an abandoned water fountain. Also the sense of scale. Of this being a real world you can almost touch... I want to live here!
Among the many countless things I love about #SpiritedAway one of my absolute favorite is what might just be the single best English dub I’ve ever heard. Several of the actors have left us but their work remains timeless. Suzanne Pleshette. David Allen Ogden Stiers. Amazing.
Best part of the #SpiritedAway dub is Susan Egan but then again she’s pretty much my favorite voice in anything she does. I could listen to her all day. Beyond the voice acting & the music there is also the glorious sound design. Every bit as rich & enveloping as the visuals.
I got so caught up I basically forgot to keep live-tweeting. But now we’ve reached perhaps my single favorite my single most beloved sequence in all of film and television. The sixth station sequence. I always tear up when watching this and this time is no exception. Beautiful.
Seriously I could fill a 100 gif thread just from this sequence in #SpiritedAway alone. The visuals. And the track from the soundtrack that plays... oh god. According to my iTunes I’ve listened to it more than any other on my phone. Over 10,000 times. It calms me. Gives me life!
I hate making definitive lists of all-time favorites because I’m forgetful & mercurial in nature. But my number one is always easy. Once again I’ve reaffirmed the fact that #SpiritedAway is my favorite movie of all time. I’ve watched it a 100 times at least. It never gets old.
Lunch break time. Then back to it. I’ll be ending this little animation marathon with another perennial favorite but next are 3 movies I’ve only seen once before. And only one of those in the last year. I’m excited to revisit them & see how they hold up. First up:
I’m a big fan of Mamoru Hosoda but I also remember thinking that The Boy and the Beast was probably his weakest work to date. Especially after Mirai came out. I did not think Boy was bad but I didn’t love it either. That’s why I choose to rewatch it before Wolf Children.
Having now completed said rewatch I have to say my opinion remains largely unchanged. There’s a lot to like about The Boy and the Beast but ultimately it never quite gels. More development was needed for a certain character in order for the big finale to really work for example.
And that’s just one case of the sloppy plotting & storytelling that occur throughout the movie. The Boy and the Beast too often presents its characters & world in ways that leave both feeling woefully underdeveloped. Things just happen because the plot says they have to.
It’s fine to present a fantastical world & tell a story in it that doesn’t try to justify the “whys and wherefores” of every little element. Indeed, speaking in VERY broad generalities, eastern stories tends to embrace this approach far more often than their western equivalents.
Neither approach is better than the other - it just comes down to the execution. Look at my favorite movie that I talked about earlier in this thread: Spirited Away. Another example of allowing the world to just exist the way it does without overly justifying everything.
The rules in Spirited Away are the rules because they are the rules & it works. In no small part because the movie doesn’t take the same approach with its characters. It’s careful to properly establish & develop its main players in numerous obvious & subtle ways.
Meanwhile outside of the main character (& to a much lesser degree his love interest) The Boy and the Beast fails to do the same with its various players. There’s occasional nodding gestures towards such development but they tend to feel half-hearted at best.
So combine sloppy plotting with weak world building & inconsistent character development & you’re left with a bit of a mess. What saves The Boy and the Beast is its gorgeous animation, terrific music & a lead who is just developed well enough to allow the movie to still work.
So The Boy and the Beast is ok but having seen it twice now I’m doubtful about when or if I’ll want to see it for a 3rd time. Unlike Mirai or The Girl Who Leaps Through Time which I’ve already seen several times or Summer Wars which I’ve rewatched dozens of times over the years.
And it’ll be interesting to see which side of the “want to rewatch” divide I end up after I finish the next selection of my animation marathon: Wolf Children. I’ve only seen this one once as well but I remember being much more positive about it so I’m optimistic. Time to begin.
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