Expressing a dislike for a Studio Ghibli outing is almost taboo, but that’s what’s going to happen here. For the most part, contemporary animation is that of neon CG, pop culture-referencing excuses to launch the movie career of some popette or sell a Happy Meal. Therefore, it's understandable that fans of the Japanese animators will point to the beautiful hand-drawn visuals, touching stories, positive role models for young girls, and proclaim them a breath of fresh air. It's hard to argue.
ut this latest offering from the studio drags. And then it drags some more.
n adaptation of a tenth century folktale, this has an old bamboo cutter find a tiny princess inside a bamboo stalk and take it home to his wife. The miniature princess turns into a baby before their eyes and grows at an extraordinary rate. Before the parents know it, the 'princess' (Asakura) has grown into a girl, spending her days playing in the fields with best friend Sutemaru (Kora). When her father discovers gold and beautiful fabrics in more bamboo, he becomes convinced of her regal status and whisks her off to the city to await noble suitors. However, the lonely princess yearns for days in the country with Satemaru.
he Tale of Princess Kaguya, co-founder Isao Takahta’s film, has been in the works for almost a decade. With rumours of Studio Ghibli's closure in the wake of Hayao Miyazaki's retirement post-The Wind Rises, this film needed to come out punching. Instead it yawns, rolls over and gets some kip. It's slow. Real slow. The film lacks incident and the narrative, unfolding in chapters, has zero momentum. With so little going on, the lengthy running time becomes an issue.
his is such a shame because, every now and then, Takahata shows what kind of film this could have been. The animation is the first to catch the eye: unmistakably Ghibli, it still has its own look - a simpler style than its predecessors. There are two sequences that pique interest - at one point, the watercolour animation turns to a charcoal sketches. The other is a scene where the princess soars and swoops through the air is just gorgeous and sad and joyous all at the same time.
retty but dull.
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