The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.
When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.
Upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside; an emotionally distant adolescent girl becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion and infatuated with a girl who lives there; a girl who may or may not be real.
This is the story of a young witch, named Kiki who is now thirteen years old. But she is still a little green and plenty headstrong, but also resourceful, imaginative, and determined. With her trusty wisp of a talking cat named Jiji by her side she's ready to take on the world, or at least the quaintly European seaside village she's chosen as her new home. Written by
Anthony Pereyra (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The story takes place in an alternative 1950's Europe where WWI and WWII never happened. Hayao Miyazaki has been quoted saying that the fictional city of Kokiro has one side on the shores of the Mediterranean, and the other on the Baltic Sea. See more »
The Disney dub refers several times to the airship as a "dirigible", which is correct, but also as a "blimp", which it isn't; it is a zeppelin, a rigid airship with an internal skeleton that holds it in shape, not a blimp, which is basically a big helium-inflated balloon held in shape by the helium. See more »
This ranks up there with Pinocchio as the greatest movie for children ever made. One huge problem with most animated children's films are that the plots are so conventional and often contain very 1950s ideals for society that they become detrimental to society. One's childhood is the most impressionable time in their life, so movies that are directed towards them teach them what places different sorts of people play in society. There is a very humorous, but also very serious bit of dialogue in a film called The Last Days of Disco where characters discuss the effects Lady and the Tramp could have on little girls, depicting a young female dog falling for a vagabond Tramp. This, they muse, sets young women up to fall for rebellious men later in life. This may seem like a humorous idea, but it's absolutely true. Even good Disney movies give children these standards. As nice as The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves may be, they basically teach that it is the woman's place to grow up and get married, prefereably to a handsome rich man (perhaps the rich part is never said, but both the main male characters in these films do happen to own castles). The writers of these films probably had no idea that that is what they were doing, but it is.
That is why Pinocchio is the best Disney movie. It is probably the only Disney animated film that I can think of that actually concerns the predicament of its target audience: children. I can hardly think of a single (American) animated film besides it that has a child as its main character (oh, the Jungle Book, which is also excellent).
Then comes Kiki's Delivery Service. It is an absolutely perfect movie about a young girl out on her own trying to handle the responsibilities of life. It is, in my opinion, the best movie that a child can watch. And not only will it teach children, it is also marvelously animated, directed, and written. There is a plethora of great characters, exciting moments, and imaginative situations. It should also expand a child's mind, not only because of the imagination involved, which will help to break children away from conventions in their film experience, thus making them more intelligent, but because it comes from another culture. It doesn't overtly show its Japaneseness, unless you count the imagination involved (though you should count that as a credit towards Hayao Miyazaki, who is the greatest genius of animation as far as I'm concerned). But it may spark an interest in children old enough to understand that someone from another country made it. Also, for younger kids, Miyazaki's fantastic, equally good My Neighbor Totoro. 10/10
(ps: I have only seen the dubbed version of this film. I find it perfectly acceptable and great. Nothing made me cringe, anyway. I think Kirsten Dunst did a very good job characterizing Kiki, a much better job than Claire Danes did characterizing San from Princess Mononoke.)
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