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ThunderPerfectWitchcraft
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« on: January 25, 2024 @980.88 »

Watched it 2 days ago, had high expectations and was - in a positive way - surprised! I'm a fan of the Ghibli-Movies in general, and this one absolutely takes no prisoners: The lack of a traditional story, the possibility of a Freudian reading, the rather clear political statements, the quotes from former movies and various 20th century artworks (especially "Island of the Death", and "Castle in the Pyrenees"), the sometimes a little bit black humor, and the astonishing quality of animation and sound design make this one an connoisseur-piece.

I really love Kaguya, Last of the Fireflies, and - ofc - Spirited Away; but it is absolutely possible I love this one more :D.
Have you seen it? What were your thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2024 @224.12 »

As a huge Ghibli fan, I've been wanting to watch this movie for SO long, but it hasn't appeared anywhere on any piracy sites yet. Probably because the film only got a limited release (and I only have one single theater in my town that shows one movie at a time).

From what I've heard about it being super personal to Miyazaki and more vague compared to other Ghibli movies, I'm super excited. I've always been deeply fascinated by Miyazaki, both as a man and an artist, so I think this film's gonna be one hell of an emotional trip for me.
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ThunderPerfectWitchcraft
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2024 @937.20 »

The "personal message" is one possible interpretation, but the movie is really multi-layered. With a few days between seeing it, I'm still tending to say that it might be the best I've seen.

We really had luck and saw it in the local theater, with japanese original audio and subtittles; other than us two, there were only 4 other guys in the screening - quite a privilege!
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2024 @128.63 »

I saw The Boy and the Heron in theaters too!! It was the english dub, but it was pretty well done and didn't take away from the experience (imo).

I definitely had a good time watching it. I liked how disjointed and vague it was, honestly, but that kinda made it seem a little drawn out when I kept searching for something to be resolved, which I think is a pretty interesting feeling to convey in and of itself that definitely has merit.

I loved the art style, the music, the setting was crazy cool, yada yada. I feel like I'd have to watch it multiple times to actually have some coherent thoughts on it, though, which is nice- I like when there's something new with every rewatch, something to pick up on.

Something that made me laugh though-
Spoiler
do you remember when all of the little parrots were flying toward the step-mother? and they literally shit on her face? in the english dub, she went "awww, so cute!" in the funniest voice and it made me cry laughing. maybe i'm a little immature.
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ThunderPerfectWitchcraft
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2024 @139.07 »

I saw The Boy and the Heron in theaters too!! It was the english dub, but it was pretty well done and didn't take away from the experience (imo).

I can imagine it. Germany is a rather small market in comparsion, and we often end up with terrible dubs :D.

Quote
I definitely had a good time watching it. I liked how disjointed and vague it was, honestly, but that kinda made it seem a little drawn out when I kept searching for something to be resolved, which I think is a pretty interesting feeling to convey in and of itself that definitely has merit.

I loved the art style, the music, the setting was crazy cool, yada yada. I feel like I'd have to watch it multiple times to actually have some coherent thoughts on it, though, which is nice- I like when there's something new with every rewatch, something to pick up on.

Quite unique, indeed - but isn't there a resolution in the end? At least I interpreted it this way; but I agree its atypical, and rather unconventional.

Quote
Something that made me laugh though-
Spoiler
do you remember when all of the little parrots were flying toward the step-mother? and they literally shit on her face? in the english dub, she went "awww, so cute!" in the funniest voice and it made me cry laughing. maybe i'm a little immature.
[close]


Spoiler
All scenes that involved the canaries were absolutely great! Both, my friend and my laughed out loud in the nearly empty cinema.
[close]

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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2024 @264.93 »

Spoilers:

I wasn’t a fan of it in the least & in fact, I’d say that I was really disappointed in it. It’s presented as this story of grief & acceptance of change. The opening of the movie is of the protagonist’s mother’s death in a fire. We see the protagonist move to the countryside with his father & a new stepmother is foisted onto him. With this introduction in mind, (which was rather long might I add), we see what the conflict is for Mahito.

With the film’s resolution, I don’t think that any of these issues were really resolved. Mojito is okay with his new stepmother at the end of the movie, but why? None of the relationships in the movie feel earned, which is why I disliked it. It’s Miyazaki’s most vague & impersonal film to date. When I say “impersonal,” I’m referring to the character’s of the movie, in that they’re suddenly presented as getting along, but no relationship building happens on screen. Mahito & the heron don’t get along at all at the beginning of the film, but at the end they’re shown to be friends. Why?

While the characters are impersonal, I’m sure the story is very personal to Miyazaki himself, but that doesn’t make it good. It was too vague to have an impact on me & the pacing was really off. So much was packed into this movie & none of it was explored. I heard some reviewers speculate that it’s about Miyazaki’s relationship with film-making or his son, & I have to ask, why does that matter? I should be able to watch this movie & know nothing about the director. You can write about topics that are personal to you, but you should do so in a way that presents something universal to anyone, like the human condition. This felt more like Miyazaki’s diary or dream journal entry. It could’ve stayed private.

Beyond these main issues, I also felt that the film lacked charm. None of its music stood out to me, nor did its settings. In Spirited Away for example, the bathhouse seems like a fleshed out place, one that operates on its own rules & logic, even if that logic is magical in nature. It’s self contained too, & seems to exist before Chihiro arrives & long after. That’s what makes it a good setting; it’s as though it could be real. I did not feel that way with The Boy and the Heron. The movie’s settings had nice scenery, but it felt like a mishmash & some parts of it felt so… formulaic. The warawara seemed like knock off versions of the kodama from Princess Mononoke or the soot sprites from Totoro. They felt like these little hamfisted mascots because someone felt the movie needed an insignificant mascot. A lot of aspects of the film felt like traditional Ghibli, but it lacked heart to me.
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ThunderPerfectWitchcraft
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2024 @501.71 »

Quote
With the film’s resolution, I don’t think that any of these issues were really resolved. Mojito is okay with his new stepmother at the end of the movie, but why?

He overcame his grief about his mothers death (and the fundamental decay of things) when she tells him (and/or he realizes) that this is - as part of her mortal life - okay.

Quote
Mahito & the heron don’t get along at all at the beginning of the film, but at the end they’re shown to be friends. Why?

The Heron works as a harbringer of change to Mahito. He represents both the moving to the rural area (which Mahito dislikes), and a nature where things can be dirty, ugly, and die - a nature that seems, at least somewhere in the movie (note that Mahito is, at the beginning of seeing the Heron, somewhat intrigued by him!) hostile and wrong to him. Over the process of accepting the worlds inherent impermanence, Mahito can accept the heron and befriends him.

Quote
While the characters are impersonal, I’m sure the story is very personal to Miyazaki himself, but that doesn’t make it good. It was too vague to have an impact on me & the pacing was really off. So much was packed into this movie & none of it was explored. I heard some reviewers speculate that it’s about Miyazaki’s relationship with film-making or his son, & I have to ask, why does that matter? I should be able to watch this movie & know nothing about the director. You can write about topics that are personal to you, but you should do so in a way that presents something universal to anyone, like the human condition. This felt more like Miyazaki’s diary or dream journal entry. It could’ve stayed private.

I fundamentally disagree and believe that ultra personal topics have their place in art. Jonas Mekkas basically made video diaries, and is considered as one of the greatest directors of the last century by some ;). But that beside: There are various messages inside. You could indeed interpret the whole thing as message to his son ("You'd be more happy if you live your own life instead of trying to continue mine") - but you can also read this more general ("You'd be more happy if you live your own life instead of trying to continue the way of living that your parents led"); seeing the state of the world, this is not only a message that touches the human condition, but also a highly political one. And this wasn't the only theme for me - just one aspect. Much more about the movie was about escapism, dealing with the reality of death and decay, dealing with your (or general) problems instead of trying to escape from them.

Quote
Beyond these main issues, I also felt that the film lacked charm. None of its music stood out to me, nor did its settings. In Spirited Away for example, the bathhouse seems like a fleshed out place, one that operates on its own rules & logic, even if that logic is magical in nature. It’s self contained too, & seems to exist before Chihiro arrives & long after. That’s what makes it a good setting; it’s as though it could be real.


Don't you think that Mimis Theme is a banger? :D
I think that the otherworldliness was quite fitting, as I read this movie partly as a dive into the protagonists psyche. The claim that a setting has to be coherent to be good is a highly individual one, and I don't share it - I love weird stuff.


Quote
I did not feel that way with The Boy and the Heron. The movie’s settings had nice scenery, but it felt like a mishmash & some parts of it felt so… formulaic. The warawara seemed like knock off versions of the kodama from Princess Mononoke or the soot sprites from Totoro. They felt like these little hamfisted mascots because someone felt the movie needed an insignificant mascot. A lot of aspects of the film felt like traditional Ghibli, but it lacked heart to me.

The film heavily cited former Ghibli movies; the tower scene was taken from the Cat returns, the Kodama were - as you said - very typical for various movies of the studio. The father is a warplane producer (a reminiscence to both Porco Rosso and As the Wind rises), the multilayered world and the jungle plane are similar to Howls Movjng Castle. I'm rather sure that this was the directors last movie - he let the things, the worlds and characters that somewhat "lived" in his mind (including some other works that weren't his own, but seems important to him!) wave goodbye to the audience for a last time. I was touched.
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Memory
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2024 @864.88 »

He overcame his grief about his mothers death (and the fundamental decay of things) when she tells him (and/or he realizes) that this is - as part of her mortal life - okay.

The Heron works as a harbringer of change to Mahito. He represents both the moving to the rural area (which Mahito dislikes), and a nature where things can be dirty, ugly, and die - a nature that seems, at least somewhere in the movie (note that Mahito is, at the beginning of seeing the Heron, somewhat intrigued by him!) hostile and wrong to him. Over the process of accepting the worlds inherent impermanence, Mahito can accept the heron and befriends him.

I fundamentally disagree and believe that ultra personal topics have their place in art. Jonas Mekkas basically made video diaries, and is considered as one of the greatest directors of the last century by some ;). But that beside: There are various messages inside. You could indeed interpret the whole thing as message to his son ("You'd be more happy if you live your own life instead of trying to continue mine") - but you can also read this more general ("You'd be more happy if you live your own life instead of trying to continue the way of living that your parents led"); seeing the state of the world, this is not only a message that touches the human condition, but also a highly political one. And this wasn't the only theme for me - just one aspect. Much more about the movie was about escapism, dealing with the reality of death and decay, dealing with your (or general) problems instead of trying to escape from them.
 

Don't you think that Mimis Theme is a banger? :D
I think that the otherworldliness was quite fitting, as I read this movie partly as a dive into the protagonists psyche. The claim that a setting has to be coherent to be good is a highly individual one, and I don't share it - I love weird stuff.


The film heavily cited former Ghibli movies; the tower scene was taken from the Cat returns, the Kodama were - as you said - very typical for various movies of the studio. The father is a warplane producer (a reminiscence to both Porco Rosso and As the Wind rises), the multilayered world and the jungle plane are similar to Howls Movjng Castle. I'm rather sure that this was the directors last movie - he let the things, the worlds and characters that somewhat "lived" in his mind (including some other works that weren't his own, but seems important to him!) wave goodbye to the audience for a last time. I was touched.


Maybe I didn’t phrase what I had meant well: I understand that the Heron is a harbinger of change, but by virtue of personifying him into an actual character of the movie, to have Mahito suddenly get along with him seems forced, as does his relationship with his new stepmother. I think it’s fine that he got over his mother's death, I guess, (but not really TBH), but he & the stepmother have no relationship but act close anyways. It feels forced by plot & the time constraints of the movie. The relationships did not grow on screen; they just suddenly appeared. I also didn’t fall in love with any of the characters as a whole.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with personal art, but it should be understood without prerequisite knowledge of the author’s life required on the audience’s part. For example, in Dostoevsky’s Crime & Punishment, there’s this scene where a horse is brutally beaten. It’s from the author’s own childhood, but we don’t need to know that in the context of the story. It may enhance understanding, but it’s not necessary, because it fits in the story in its own right.

I think weird, dreamlike settings can have their place, but this setting just felt lazy & insincere to me. I’m glad you liked the movie, but I still don’t agree with any of the points you’ve put forth. (Except that Himi's theme was a banger, because that's actually the only part of the score that I liked). I thought the movie was mediocre & that if anyone other than Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli were to have made this, it wouldn’t be given such high praises. It seems to me that people keep telling me that oh, it's supposed to be the way it is, it's supposed to be vague & dreamlike, etc. but that doesn't make it good. Just because the movie was purposefully made this way does not make it good to me.

& as for the director's last movie, I'm not so sure lol. Hasn't he come out of retirement multiple times?
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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2024 @182.31 »

i really enjoyed the boy and the heron! surrounding the film is a theme of apology and legacy, especially toward hayao miyazaki's children. these themes resonate through it, permeating every little detail. it also includes the usual ghibli inclusions: old ladies, stunning animation, anti-war themes, silly creatures, the works. this is the epitome of ghibli. i still listen to the soundtrack when i need something happening in the background. :ozwomp:
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2024 @625.43 »

I LOVED THIS MOVIE! Well it's a bit complicated...

At first I went and saw it with a friend and felt kind of disappointment and let down when it ended--I think because I had the expectation of this being another Spirited Away or Howl.

BUT after I left I COULDN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!

It was then that I realized that I loved it and it was very very VERY good. It just took a minute to sink in. I think now it ranks as one of my top Ghibli movies and I especially love the soundtrack. I'm even hoping to go see it again solo in theaters because I enjoyed the ride so much.

So yes, my immediate impulse was of being not impressed, but after a few moments, the movie really had me in my feels in a really cool way. 10/10.
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