(*homocinematically inclined)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Toon Talk: In the Name of the Father

Fans of the works of the legendary Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki know what to expect when they watch one of his films. The central protagonist, usually a boy or a girl (or both), find themselves in a life-threatening adventure filled with magic and mystery. They must rely on their youthful wits and innate talents to survive against an enigmatic, otherworldly being who will, most likely, at one point turn into a pile of goo. An adult father figure is usually on hand to provide sage advice, and it is highly probable that our hero will eventually learn that they are in fact some higher, magical being. The whole fantastic story is brought to vivid life with highly detailed and incredibly beautiful animation, with strong attention paid to recreating the wonders of nature. Oh, and there will be flying… lots and lots of flying.

Of course, anyone who has seen any of Miyazaki’s films knows that the whole is much more then sum of its parts. His films, from Nausica√§ of the Valley of the Wind (available this week for the first time on Blu-ray) to his Academy Award winning masterpiece Spirited Away to his most recent delight Ponyo, are quite simply sublime in their storytelling brilliance and ability to transport you to a myriad of different fantasy lands.

Following in the elder Miyazaki’s footsteps is his son, Goro Miyazaki, who makes his directorial debut with the latest Studio Ghibli feature to be released in the United States, Tales from Earthsea (now also available on DVD). As would be expected, the younger Miyazaki has big shoes to fill, and while it is not entirely fair to hold his work up to the standards of his obviously more accomplished father, Tales from Earthsea is so steeped in the studio style that it is unavoidable...

Click here to continue reading my Toon Talk review of Tales from Earthsea at

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