Kiki’s Delivery Service and other films

I just watched Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’d never seen it before, but I’m a fan of Hayao Miyazaki, so it’s been on my list of films to see for a while now. I wouldn’t say this was his greatest work, but I quite enjoyed it. It’s a nice feel good coming of age story, and it very much fits in with Miyazaki’s canon. It’s the story of a young witch who goes off to a strange city to serve a year long training period on her own away from her family. Along the way she has to deal with a crisis of confidence and learn how to overcome her own self doubts.

I watched the movie in the Disney English dub, which I understand to be somewhat different from the original Japanese, but I was cooking and eating dinner at the time and couldn’t be constantly looking at the screen to read subtitles. Normally I prefer to watch Japanese films in the original language with subtitles. I don’t speak Japanese at all, but I find it pleasant to hear the voices of the original actors even when I can’t understand them. I look forward to rewatching the film in the original language when I have time.

My taste in movies is probably odd to most people. I really enjoy Japanese amination – anime – and animation in general. Whenever Disney or Pixar put out a new release I tend to be there in the theatre, and on the rare occasions that a Japanese film shows up in the US theatres I can be counted on to see it. As a result, I tend to see a lot of “kids” movies, and I have no embarrassment from this. There are a lot of really good movies that are ostensibly made for children but which really carry universal themes. Big Hero Six and Frozen are a couple of movies from the past year that fall into this category.

I also like serious dramatic films, too. The Wind Rises is a film that falls into both categories – serious dramatic anime – and another in that category would be Grave of the Fireflies. (If you’ve not seen that I highly recommend it, but be warned – it is very sad and may leave you feeling depressed after watching it. I’m not kidding.)

Outside the realm of animation, I like epics. The Lord of the Rings trilogy from Peter Jackson was incredible, but then I’m a huge Tolkien fan, so it was natural that I’d gravitate to those films. My favorite films of all time tend to be the great epics of the 50’s and 60’s: Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, The Ten Commandments.

I also find myself drawn to films by certain directors. David Lean and Hayao Miyazaki obviously, but also Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, and when I was younger Woody Allen, though I’ve not kept up with his recent work.

I suppose I have no special message for this post – I just had a pleasant evening watching a good movie and wanted to share the warm fuzzy thoughts it engendered.