‘Princess Mononoke’ Review: Hayao Miyazaki’s Bloodiest is Among His Most Breathtaking and Humanistic

✯✯✯✯✯

Princess Mononoke is arguably Hayao Miyazaki’s largest film by scale since 1984’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and it is also his second greatest achievement as a director. There aren’t many animators who bring so much life to their worlds quite like how Hayao Miyazaki does it, but for every bit as imaginative as these movies can get, the impressiveness of how immersive these films are is reflected beautifully through their real-world parallels. In Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki finds himself taking upon a very complex moral standing through a war being waged between nature and humanity – and every moment of it is as beautiful as one could ever hope for it to be.

Continue reading →

‘Castle in the Sky’ Review: The Adventurous Spirits in Miyazaki’s Vision

✯✯✯✯✯

The first film to be released under the Studio Ghibli name, Castle in the Sky may be among Hayao Miyazaki’s more straightforward films but that never takes away from how thoroughly exciting it is from beginning to end. Much like Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky was a film that had been a favourite of mine when I was very young but it was also one that I never came back to until just recently. As I watch the film again as an adult, Castle in the Sky doesn’t only hit me again with that same magic like it did as a kid but I’m still in awe at how perfectly constructed it is – which is just about everything I could ever want from any of Miyazaki’s films.

Continue reading →

‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ Review: How Miyazaki Finds Magic in What We Love

✯✯✯✯✯

Kiki’s Delivery Service is a film from my childhood that I had not revisited for so long, but to watch this Miyazaki classic in its native language for the first time after having been used to watching the dubbed version provided by Disney for so long only made the whole experience feel almost new to me. But all these years of having not seen Kiki’s Delivery Service have also made me look at the film under a new light; for something about it seems to click with me more as an adult now versus what I saw it to be as a kid. If that’s indicative of anything, it’s everything that one could expect from Hayao Miyazaki, and in a largely wonderful body of work, it’s yet another masterpiece.

Continue reading →

‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ Review: Miyazaki’s Search for Hope Under Bleak and Tragic Circumstances

✯✯✯✯✯

Although not technically the first Studio Ghibli movie, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind set the foundation for everything that we have come to love most in their long body of work from over the years – we nonetheless still recognize it as one of their films. Being only the second feature film directed by Hayao Miyazaki as well as the first to have been based upon his own property, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind not only has not aged a single day in time but like all the best of Studio Ghibli’s movies, its message is one that still resonates with the way our world moves today. Above all, the hopefulness that Miyazaki creates within such a bleak setting results in one of the most beautiful films ever made.

Continue reading →

Jaime’s Film Diary: March 15, 2020

As expected, I’ve been keeping my Letterboxd up to date – so here’s yet another update for here in regards to what I have been watching as of late.

Continue reading →

Spirited Away – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

Define what it is that makes the greatest animated film in your eyes. It can come from anywhere, it can be about anything, or it can just do anything. When I’m faced with this question, three Hayao Miyazaki films come to mind: Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and My Neighbor Totoro. But if I had to pick a singular one from all of them, then said film is none other than Spirited Away. For how captivating the beauty of Princess Mononoke can be or how touchingly innocent My Neighbor Totoro is, my heart goes out to Spirited Away – for as cliche an answer it may be when asked about Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest achievement, it is not only my favourite of his films, but to this day it also remains my favourite animated film of all time.

Continue reading →

Ponyo – Review

✯✯✯½

Despite my usual love for the films of Hayao Miyazaki, Ponyo has always been one of my least favourites from him. Regardless, there’s still a lot about it that I like and I can’t really call it a bad film by any means, because it’s still enjoyable while it lasts. Sure, it still has a whole lot of really goofy elements behind it but I think there’s enough to keep one waiting for more to come along. It’s rather disappointing especially when you compare it to a masterwork much like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, or My Neighbor Totoro, but it should provide enough to keep one satisfied. It feels like a film so wallowed with its approach which shouldn’t be a bad thing, but in this scenario it had me thrown off although not to the degree which Howl’s Moving Castle had done so (the only Miyazaki film which I found rather difficult to absorb). Continue reading →

My Neighbor Totoro – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

There’s a unique simplicity to the early works of Hayao Miyazaki that always goes ahead to strike a viewer like myself every time I sit through something as wonderful as My Neighbor Totoro, it’s the simplicity that pulls one into a state of serenity. For this reason alone, there’s so much to dig into with a film like My Neighbor Totoro, for it may be Hayao Miyazaki at his best. Adorable can be one word to describe what one will witness, but calling it a simple “kid’s film” completely ignores its purpose. It strikes nostalgia, yet it’s not the kind that forces it down your throat. It’s the kind of nostalgia that goes to remind us of a simpler time in our life, and for that reason, My Neighbor Totoro truly is wonderful in all its glory. Continue reading →

The Wind Rises – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

The words “Hayao Miyazaki’s swan song” should be enough to get a fan who was so closely connected to his works (speaking merely for myself in this case) even before having seen The Wind Rises. As a child, together with watching Pixar movies regularly in theaters, I would also find a way to access the films of Studio Ghibli, for they had opened my eyes to watching anime. I remember having seen Spirited Away at the age of 6, and nearly ten years after my first viewing the experience still retains the magic I remember from that moment, and I’ve become a big Hayao Miyazaki fan ever since. It was then, I found how watching The Wind Rises at such a late point after his retirement (I only saw it for my first time last year), it made me feel I wasn’t a fan dedicated enough. It was a beautiful swan song, it really felt like a fitting way for a great artist to tell his followers a heartbreaking goodbye, and the thought of it still brings me to tears. Continue reading →