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)
Prior to Disney's US release on video in 1998, there was an earlier English dub produced in the early 1990s by Streamline Pictures for in-flight screenings on Japan Airlines flights. This dub also had Jiji voiced by a male voice actor. It was considered a very good dubbing job that was more faithful to the original Japanese version than Disney's dub. It also had brief theatrical screenings at film festivals around the United States before Disney bought the rights. It has not been released on any video format, except for the Japanese LD box-set of the Ghibli films as an alternate audio track. 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 »
[after Kiki almost collides with an approaching bus while trying to make a good impression]
Smooth. Very smooth. You definitely know how to make a good first impression.
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The denouement scenes of the film play out with the credits rolling ending with Kiki's parents reading a letter from her after the credits finish. See more »
First of all, 10 points to Ghibli for Variety. Producing this and 'Grave of the Fireflies' inside a year of each other would be like Disney doing 'Mary Poppins' and 'Judgement at Nuremberg' back to back.
Words that spring to mind after watching Kiki include 'delightful', 'light', 'bouyant', and so forth. It's obvious Miyazaki has refined his craft considerably from the early movies, which somehow seemed a bit... I don't know - stuttery. Kiki, though just flows effortlessly. Combine this with the beautiful use of lighting and colour to produce that summertime, Mediterranean sort of feel, and Kiki is a movie that is just thoroughly uplifting, never getting bogged down in complexities or dark intrigues.
Unfortunately - and this is the only thing holding it back from 4 stars from me - what it does get slightly bogged down in, is its own lightness. There were just a few sections where the lack of a villain, of any real action, of anything other than people being nice to each other, took the top 10% off what was otherwise a masterful movie. I suppose there were a few other flaws, too: some characters and situations which came into it were just not developed at all. And there was one moment that teetered on real poignancy - the old dog with what he thought was a stuffed toy - but it sort of didn't happen. Also allowing the cat - sorry, forgotten his name - to drop out of proceedings for most of the latter half the film, definitely removed a spark from the film (I can't believe I just complained about the LACK of a comic sidekick)
BTW, as someone who lives in Tasmania, which is allegedly the inspiration for much of the setting of this film, please come here by all means, but don't expect it to look like that. The bakery in Ross (central Tasmania) which supposedly inspired the one in the film is in one of the few Tasmanian towns that you _can't_ see the ocean from, and the general look of the movie is distinctly southern European, though I guess some of the rural shots look a bit Tasmanian.
Whatever the case, Miyazaki's attention to detail is, as usual, stunning. The town may have been cobbled together from his favourite bits of Italy, France, Tasmania and wherever else, but its nothing less than a labour of love nonetheless.
Anyway, 8 out of 10.
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