Still catching up. November and December will be together. Still have games and anime to catch up on, aside from anime films, which are here. Quite a few films, more than I thought I watched, and I didn’t care too much for most, but I did for a few, so let’s go through it.
When Marnie Was There + Rewatch – Yes, I actually watched it twice during this time period, once in May, and again in November. This is my 2nd favourite Studio Ghibli film from the last two decades (accounting for the fact I haven’t watched a couple of the Takahata films), with the favourite one being Princess Mononoke. This is a perfect capstone for Studio Ghibli, or at least to the Miyazaki style of movie-making. It’s small and heart-felt and magical. I wrote a bigger editorial about it that is heavily spoilerific, but I strongly recommend this film to anyone and everyone, of every age. I do recommend the sub strongly here – the dub acting is fine, but it completely changes the nature of the thing. 9/10.
When Marnie Was There (in Japanese, “Omoide no Marnie”, or “Memories of Marnie”) has the distinction of not only being Studio Ghibli’s latest film, but as current plans stand, of also being their last theatrical film. I’ve watched most of Studio Ghibli’s films, and bidding them farewell is not an easy thing, but should we bid them goodbye, or are they still there for us? I feel that this film deals with that very question.
Before I begin my thematic discussion and analysis of the film, because this write-up will contain numerous spoilers, I’ll cut to the chase and say that this film is my 2nd favourite Studio Ghibli film from the last two decades, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. The film is directed by Yonebayashi Hiromasa who directed The Secret World of Arrietty and is based on a novel by the same name by Joan G. Robinson, first published in 1967, which is set in England.
While it might not seem so at first glance, I hold that When Marnie Was There is a film about growing up. Growing up is also growing past, and beyond this film being about Anna’s journey of growing past her own pains, it is also a film about us growing to leave Studio Ghibli, or at least Studio Ghibli as it is in Miyazaki’s films (as Takahata’s are different in style), behind. And in order to do so, the film that seems much less about the “magical journey”, is anything but.
(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that rose in my mind as a result of watching the show. There will be massive spoilers for the film.)
I use this post to go over all the media consumed/experienced over the past month, with 2-4 sentences per item. A way to give short thoughts on each topic. Highlights this month: Ready Player One, Trigun Maximum, Dead Leaves, Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Dungeon of the Endless, and Netflix’s Daredevil.
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline – This book was a lot of fun. An adventure story that is told mostly within the game-world and a bit in the real world. Made me think ever so slightly of Cory Doctorow’s For The Win with its take against the dystopic nature of rampant capitalism, but this one feels like the main attraction is the adventure tale. The build-up is the best part, and everything once things get “serious” feels a bit rushed, and not as well-written. It was eminently readable and enjoyable, especially to a child of the 80s such as myself who could smile at many of the references, but I don’t feel not knowing what gets referenced will hinder enjoyment much. I did find the romantic part of the story to be not very much “told”, but it also made me think of first loves and being a teenager, so I guess it worked.
I use this post to go over all the media consumed/experienced over the past month, with 2-4 sentences per item. A way to give short thoughts on each topic. Highlights this month: Pillars of Eternity kickstarter delivered, Sherlock and The Blacklist, anime of the heaviest and least-heavy sorts.
Big Hero 6 – This movie sort of exemplifies the problem I’ve had with the third Harry Potter film. I really liked the book, but the film sort of ticked all the plot-boxes, without actually spending any time on characterization. Likewise, this film ticked all the “Feel good” boxes, the group support, the don’t give into the darkness, believe in yourself, etc. It had beautiful vistas, some good action sequences, and a couple of emotional scenes, but again, everything according to the standardized mix. The film was empty calories, even if enjoyable, in a standardized enjoyment way.
The intention is to post these monthly. Since I haven’t posted these in a while though, I’m going to split the last half year’s media consumption post into several parts. This one will focus on films (anime and otherwise), and western television series. I’ll give a paragraph or so for every show I have what to say of.
Many armies. Much battles. Wow.
The Hobbit 3: The Battle of the Five Armies – I’ve had issues with the pacing and scope of The Hobbit from the first movie, where much of what made Lord of the Ring adaptation a good one (cutting material to tighten things up) was actually handled in the opposite manner, and additional material was added. Furthermore, The Hobbit, as a novel, was about a single character’s journey, whereas the movie adaptation made him to be but a small part of a larger tale. Nowhere was this more apparent than this film.
I use this post to go over all the media consumed/experienced over the past month, with 2-4 sentences per item. A way to give short thoughts on each topic. Highlights this month: Too much Hearthstone, several Marvelverse films, films from my childhood, and 143 episodes of Hunter x Hunter (2011)!
Matilda – I probably haven’t watched this film since 1998, at the latest. This film shows its warts. While the first 10-15 minutes where we see Matilda growing up with just the narrator to guide us are pretty magical, the acting in this film isn’t the best, and at some points you can see the director went too wild with the “Children Movie silliness”, such as when the schoolkids get rid of Ms. Trunchbull. Still, it was an enjoyable view.
Jumanji – I’ve probably watched this last around 2001. I’ve meant to watch it a week before Robin Williams died, but I ended up watching it only after. This film isn’t an adventure film, holy shit but is it a horror film! When that vine went for Peter? It gave me flashbacks to The Exorcist, and that film had me run out of the room when I watched it in the 5th grade… I’ve enjoyed it a lot. Well-acted, and fun. Also, only when I went to IMDB did I realize the Hunter going after Alan was acted by the same actor who portrayed his father, similar to how in Peter Pan, the Darling family father also plays the role of Captain Hook.
Guardians of the Galaxy – I’ve had a lot of fun watching it! It was a silly film, with silly lines, and silly action. I chuckled and laughed and enjoyed turning my brain off for a bit. Also, I kept waiting for “The Guardians of the Galaxy” to appear, which I was sure would be The Green Lantern Corps, which are of course in DC-verse. Still, kept waiting for someone serious to come and save the universe, not our bunch of incompetent walking shticks. Rocket and Groot were really great. Especially Rocket.
Tales of Xillia – I finally, a year down the line, began playing my Day 1 Edition, which was on sale for half-price about half a year after day 1… Well, I wanted to finish it before ToX 2 came out, to see if I want to get it. I really like it, it’s a good action-RPG that has good action, and solid RPG, after the snooze-fest that Final Fantasy X’s first 12 hours were. I poured in 15 hours or so, but then got distracted. I want to play, but I keep putting it off, and then it’s 1 AM, and I know it’d end up 5 am if I were to start playing it at 1 AM, and then it ends up 5 AM without me playing it anyway… But I’m enjoying it quite a bit. The English dub is good, though I do wish I could have the Japanese dub as well. No real reason not to, right? This is also my first Tales game.