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Mary and the Witch's Flower (2018)
Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Starring: Hana Sugisaki, Yuki Amami; dubbed by Ruby Barnhill, Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent
Runtime: 1hr 42min
TMM Score: 3 Stars
WEAKNESSES: Simplicity, Derivative, Pacing
Staying in the country with her Great Aunt in the country is boring little Mary to tears. With no one to play with really, she follows a couple of neighborhood cats into the woods and finds a blue flower and a broomstick. The rare flower Mary has found gives her magical powers and the broom whisks her off to a magical school with a magical and terrifying secret.
To be honest, I was i bit disappointed in this film. Maybe it's just that I have been spoiled by Studio Ghibli movies but this first offering from new Studio Ponoc felt like well trod territory to me. If you have never seen Studio Ghibli films like “Spirited Away,” then I suppose this movie would seem extremely innovative. However, I feel about this film the way I felt about Pixar’s “Good Dinosaur”. It’s alright. In fact for an extremely young child it would be preferable to “Spirited Away” since that film is more intense.
That is the problem though. This film seems like a movie a kid might outgrow and certainly I felt like an adult in a kid’s movie as I watched.
That being said, the animation is beautiful. On par with Studio Ghibli movies you can certainly see the roots of the director in that company. Some of the flying sequences are squeal worthy, they are so fun.
But that is really the extent of it. I felt it was too slow, especially when the characters are as simple as these are. Even the story seems very derivative of “Spirited Away,” Narnia, and Harry Potter. What a unique idea. A kid has magical powers and ends up going to a magic school where she finds out that she holds the secret to destroying some great darkness.
Yup. No big twists here guys.
The simplicity of this film is the simplicity of a children’s book. It isn’t bad and even, I think, has its place. If you have young kids and tire of the latest Dreamworks drek and cash grab, this film will be quite refreshing, but if you are just and adult fan of anime, you can probably skip this one.
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