Three days into April it is time for me to draw up a little résumé with regards to Miyazaki March and what we have learned while passing through it. You can find all related posts HERE in the directory, to revisit the reviews I did on the Studio Ghibli animation features (mostly) directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
For my ambitious project to review my way through all Miyazaki directed movies for Studio Ghibli (plus Arietty) with some general musings on top I actually re-watched all of them, except for Tales from Earthsea by Gorō Miyazaki, Hayao’s son, and except for Arietty, which I saw for the first time and only once.
It’s not exactly a surprise, but a pleasant realization, that all of these movies are really good movies and not one of them lets me down. Compared to other animation movies and movies in general they are all well made, well written and most of the time even refreshing in their outlook and presentation of things, characters and relationships. For family-friendly entertainment for mass-audiences I normally wouldn’t expect the level of complexity encountered in these movies, but they fail to disappoint.
Two movies in particular surprised me:
I remember liking Porco Rosso more than I had thought I would the first time watching it, but I was really surprised as to how much the movie resonates with me and how incredibly well it holds up against all the other Miyazaki movies. I thus consider it to be part of my Top 3 favorite movies by Miyazaki – which really is made up of four movies.
That brings us to the other surprise: Howl’s Moving Castle. I have been conflicted about this one ever since I saw it, because on the one hand I think it has the potential to be the best of them all, yet, the ending and unfolding events there ruin it for me. If there were an ending more to my liking I am pretty sure that Spirited Away would have trouble remaining in the no. 1 spot of my list. But that is also the surprise, that the rest of Howl’s Moving Castle engages me that much, that despite the grave flaws, I consider it to be such an amazing movie. For me, in many ways, it feels like the quintessential Miyazaki movie (with some deliberate hinting at that within the movie itself) with all elements coming together perfectly, just like in Spirited Away, …xept for the ending, mind you.
Reviewing all these movies was tough, because they were quite a lot and I wanted to write something meaningful (although I am fully aware of my regular drooling and ranting). It was time consuming, so my work with Miyazaki March actually started in early February, and it still felt like too little time. Well, it was actually, because I wanted to take a closer look at all other non-Miyazaki Studio Ghibli features which got replaced by reposting an adjusted version of my Tales from Earthsea review and I totally missed out on discussing the role of cats in Miyazaki movies. That would have been fun, but I had to cut it to get to my review of Spirited Away. Sorriez (and meow) for that.
Still, doing Miyazaki March felt really good and I got a lot of positive response and feedback. Viewers for my little corner of the internet increased significantly and I want to thank everyone who read the posts and all of you guys who liked and commented, I appreciate it very much!
I hope to do another theme-month later this year, September or October-ish, but let us wait and see. If all goes well, there will be two regular series for the blog coming your way, a comic re-read of Elfquest and a series re-watch of the X-files.
But let us not get ahead of ourselves!