Author Topic: 'Noke and Ferris do a little 'Zaki (Miyazaki Marathon + 1 Takahata!)  (Read 27361 times)

'Noke

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Re: 'Noke and Ferris do a little 'Zaki (Miyazaki Marathon + 1 Takahata!)
« Reply #60 on: April 22, 2010, 05:57:07 AM »
It's been held back by Giant Volcanoes and children in Khatmandu, but the Noke Ferris zaki Marathon continues again!!

Miyazaki Marathon: Film #3
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)


Ferris’ Review



This was very cute.  Saying it's a great "kids' movie", might sound like a bit of a back-handed complement, but that's really what it is.  It's kinda Miyazaki-light, and the 86 minute runtime kinda supports that label.  Despite those diminutives, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Here's a few thoughts as I watched the film:

1) My god!  A movie with a Dad that is not an alcoholic, addictive, abusive or absentee.  Wow.  I thought that kind of thing disappeared the year Leave it to Beaver got cancelled.  Nice to see that.   

2) Two scenes stand out for me - things truly unique that only Miyazaki can bring you.  The first was the wait at the bus stop.  What's great is how much time it was given, and how sweet it is.  The cat bus had long been spoiled for me.  Too bad.  That would have been a great surprise!  The other scene was the "tribal dance" (what's a better word for this? brain's not working tonight) over the garden at night.  How great was that?  Miyazaki constantly takes an expectation and blows it through the roof.



3) The kids were done so well.  I haven't seen two little girls portrayed so accurately since In America.



4) These children's doodlings cracked me up!

 

5) Here is the first film that I can see that Spirited Away had a fairly direct callback to - with those little soot sprites.  This was the first time you could authentically utter the words "self derivative".  Although I'm going to save judgement until I've seen some more.  I have a notion about this that's going to be really cool if I'm right.



6) I like taking a still like this and analyzing how all the themes of the film tie together in the one shot.



Anyways all-in-all a nice evening of entertainment.  Admittedly "lesser Miyazaki" - but we should all consider that a complement.


Verdict:
Not essential viewing but very nice and sweet.  A couple quintessential Miyazaki touches elevate it

Grade: B

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'Noke's Review


My Neighbour Totoro

When we were talking about this marathon in the run up towards it, I mentioned how I had only seen Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Grave of the Fireflies. Yah, I lied. I had actually seen My Neighbour Totoro, but it was when I was very little. So I couldn't remember it at all, I can't even remember whether I liked it or not. However, in the back of my mind was this fragmented memory of a Japanese animated film and these strange disjointed images. I remember the house they lived in, I remember the plot-line about the mother, I remember the younger sister disappearing in the end but I don't think I ever made the connection, even though I knew the connection.


But watching it again in context, the whole movie comes together much better then those disparate elements would have you think. See, it's built around two elements which act as the connecting glue and turn this movie into a whole. The first is the Totoros:


Totoro has to be the one of if not the greatest creature put on screen. Yes, Miyazaki has done creatures before and I love them too, but here when one of his main characters he gets the chance to truly explore Totoro's world. Totoro is given a wealth of emotions and interactions, whose curiosity is always charming. Different ways of looking at the world, ya know? Whenever he was screen the movie became transcendent, I love it. All I can say is it puts a smile on my face. The giant smiles, the large eyes, the drowsiness. The look in his eyes feeling compassion. His patience at the bus stop. The way he always carries that umbrella around.


Ferris mentioned in his Castle in the Sky review that each Miyazaki film contains one moment of utter beauty, and while I don't think that's true, there is one moment of Totoro which stands apart from the rest. That scene at the bus stop is wonderful. It starts off with simple images of Mei and Satsuke standing at the bus stop. The design is simplistic; the set is simply a road, with a sign for the bus stop. It's at night, and the only light comes from a nearby lightpost. Mei falls asleep, and they are standing waiting. Suddenly, a large person comes up beside them, his steps making noise in the puddles. Satsuke looks under her umbrella to see a big furry stomach and legs, and then a hand scratching his side.

All this is done in a deliberate pace, and creates peace. There is a frog continually watching them, little raindrops in front of them. Hisaishi's score is simplistic yet beautiful, matching the beats of the scene perfectly. The way Totoro has no idea how to use the umbrella, the way he gets shocked and excited when raindrops hit it. The masterful way of introducing the special bus. Brilliant.


The second connecting glue, and really the other main storyline, is the relationship between Satsuke and Mei, the two sisters. Having two sisters to deal with I can kinda see some of the elements of the relationship, the way they run around the house in the beginning with the little sister copying everything the older one does, and the little argument that happens when the mother gets a cold (which is much worse than you would think, because of the mothers condition) sounds EXACTLY like my two sisters arguing. But, on the other hand, these two totally rely on each other, and they are much nicer and more fun then my sisters. It's a lovely relationship that develops between them.


That said, Totoro is still my least favourite Miyazaki film so far. And here’s why:

Totoro may be perfect, but so are all his other films. Here, though, he isn’t as audacious as he is in movies like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, or Castle in the Sky. Totoro is simple, but that’s the point. It didn’t quite respond to it personally the way I have with his other films.


Also, there's one arc that's dealt with somewhat sloppily in this film. There's an annoying little boy who is neighbours with Satsuke and Mei who will go up to them and point the umbrella at them going "Uh, uh" and stuff, and he'll refuse to talk to them. At the end though, he seems to have started talking to them randomly. He was kinda annoying, but such a small part of the film so it was forgivable.

Where is it?: In my top 100, but lower than other Miyazaki efforts. Still amazing though. Nothing changes that.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 06:03:05 AM by 'Noke »
I actually consider a lot of movies to be life-changing! I take them to my heart and they melt into my personality.

ferris

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Re: 'Noke and Ferris do a little 'Zaki (Miyazaki Marathon + 1 Takahata!)
« Reply #61 on: April 22, 2010, 08:14:46 AM »
yea!  the marathon continues!!!

Are you back home now?
"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs" - Exodus 8:2 KJV
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FLYmeatwad

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Re: 'Noke and Ferris do a little 'Zaki (Miyazaki Marathon + 1 Takahata!)
« Reply #62 on: April 22, 2010, 09:34:32 AM »
Odd. Totoro captures and compacts everything that is great about Miyazaki into a bite sized journey of awesome that is not bogged down by meandering story lines or half realized characters. It's even better than Porco Rosso and far and away the man's best film.

roujin

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Re: 'Noke and Ferris do a little 'Zaki (Miyazaki Marathon + 1 Takahata!)
« Reply #63 on: April 22, 2010, 11:24:12 AM »
I had Totoro as the best animated film of all-time. It's also in my top 20. Soo this "lesser Miyazaki" business is hurting me :(

'Noke

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Re: 'Noke and Ferris do a little 'Zaki (Miyazaki Marathon + 1 Takahata!)
« Reply #64 on: April 22, 2010, 11:27:36 AM »
I had Totoro as the best animated film of all-time. It's also in my top 20. Soo this "lesser Miyazaki" business is hurting me :(

CINECAST! Lesser Miyazaki. I still loved every single bit of it, it's just if I was forced to it's not my favourite Miyazaki. It's not lesser, just not as personally satisfying I guess. (Quote out of context!)
I actually consider a lot of movies to be life-changing! I take them to my heart and they melt into my personality.

ferris

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Re: 'Noke and Ferris do a little 'Zaki (Miyazaki Marathon + 1 Takahata!)
« Reply #65 on: April 22, 2010, 11:36:07 AM »
I had Totoro as the best animated film of all-time. It's also in my top 20. Soo this "lesser Miyazaki" business is hurting me :(

No kidding!  Have you ever posted a review?  I'd be interested to see it!
"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs" - Exodus 8:2 KJV
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Bondo

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Re: 'Noke and Ferris do a little 'Zaki (Miyazaki Marathon + 1 Takahata!)
« Reply #66 on: April 22, 2010, 11:53:52 AM »
I'd consider Totoro great Miyazaki but not genius Miyazaki. I'd save the lesser description for things like Porco Rosso or Kiki's (and I'd save bad Miyazaki for Ponyo). Of course I'm now getting going with my own Miyazaki marathon (revisits all) so I'll get to freshly appraise all of them.

Melvil

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Re: 'Noke and Ferris do a little 'Zaki (Miyazaki Marathon + 1 Takahata!)
« Reply #67 on: April 22, 2010, 11:56:23 AM »
I understand that reaction. I see it as a brilliant film, but like 'Noke says Miyazaki is pretty much always brilliant. It's a simpler and less ambitious story than much of his other work, which is why it doesn't rank as high as some of those do for me.

Also, I am not self derivative, ferris! >:(

FLYmeatwad

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Re: 'Noke and Ferris do a little 'Zaki (Miyazaki Marathon + 1 Takahata!)
« Reply #68 on: April 22, 2010, 11:56:39 AM »
I'd consider Totoro great Miyazaki but not genius Miyazaki. I'd save the lesser description for things like Porco Rosso or Kiki's (and I'd save bad Miyazaki for Ponyo). Of course I'm now getting going with my own Miyazaki marathon (revisits all) so I'll get to freshly appraise all of them.

Especially re-examining these two, right ???

smirnoff

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Re: 'Noke and Ferris do a little 'Zaki (Miyazaki Marathon + 1 Takahata!)
« Reply #69 on: April 22, 2010, 12:06:00 PM »
I enjoyed Totoro a lot more the second time, after I knew what to expect. It's tough when you've seen every other Miyazaki and you get to that 'last one'... you tend to expect a lot. I'm just sayin'.