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.
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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)
During the production phase, Hayao Miyazaki and his artists traveled to Sweden to research for the film. The photographs they took of Stockholm and Visby, formed the basis of the fictional city of Koriko. The city also contains elements of Lisbon, Paris, San Francisco, and Milan. 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 »
You'd think they'd never seen a girl and a cat on a broom before.
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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 »
Great film for pre-teen girls. Good dubbing for a change.
Though not as entertaining for real young children as Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro, pre-teens with a long attention span (nearly two hours) and who prefer pacing and atmosphere over flashing lights and singing characters will likely love this movie. Though certainly not a feminist movie, KDS provides a positive (if old-fashioned) role model for young women. Unlike most American films, the movie shows a girl realizing her own power as a person not chanting feel-good slogans ("I am not a victim" American Beauty) but through hard work and being herself.
As part of her witch training, when Kiki turns thirteen she has to live away from home for a year. After some sweet (but not saccharine) scenes with the mother and father, Kiki flies off on her broom, careening off trees and bridges. She falls asleep in a train and finds herself near a town on the sea. Since there are no witches there, Kiki chooses the town. As it turns out, though, not everyone is fond of witches. Don't worry, this isn't Salem. They only do what Japanese tend to do with unwanted guests--they ignore her. After finding a foster home, Kiki decides to set up an air delivery service.
For the most part, the movie is only thinly plotted (or heavily plotted, depending on your view). The main focus is on Kiki's emotions, although to Americans they may seem rather subdued because they are not underlined (this is a Japanese movie, after all). In one of the more overtly emotional scenes, she sheds a couple of tears because of a mixture of happy and sad emotions and then suddenly smiles. Kiki does get overly excited at times, just like most girls her age, and in the Japanese version she continually says "taihen" ("tough" or "difficult") whenever she's running late or has trouble controlling her broom. Her less overt emotions are caught on closer inspection: watch for the bathroom scene, the "oh my god I almost died" scene, and the scene when she walks by a group of giggling girls.
Also, keep an eye out for references to The Wizard of Oz.
Kirstin Dunst as Kiki does a great job pretending that she's thirteen instead of about sixteen. And the sound technicians do a fantastic job varying the voice track so that it doesn't sound flat (I never knew what an important job sound technicians had until I watched the dubbed version of Ghost in the Shell and compared it to the original version). Phil Hartman (in his last role) does a very strange take on the normally high-pitched Jiji, Kiki's black cat. Matthew Lawrence as Kiki's boy friend isn't bad, and neither is Debbie Reynolds as an elderly client. Honestly, none of the dubbing is bad (except the never-seen father of a young boy, who is just over-the-top in a scene that was subdued and thoughtful in the Japanese version).
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