2001-12-11 Entry: "Filmic Animation"
Filmic probably isn't a real word... I can't be bothered to go and check, but it'll do for now...
Saturday evening was going to descend into watching really rubbish films on Sky - I think Arlington Road was in the offing - I've not seen it, but based on the first five minutes, I'm not planning to rush back anytime soon.
Fortunately, I sold my sister on a DVD instead. It wasn't an easy sell, as she's not a big animated feature fan, but the quality of alternatives clinched it.
I'll name the film at the end, just to keep the suspense up, but suffice it to say, we were 90 parts confused to 10 parts "What the hell was that about?" for much of the film.
To start with, it's a long film, as animated pieces go, at two hours. Fortunately, none of it dragged (it couldn't really, as they seemed to have three hours worth of material). It had a great voice cast - the lead actor was fairly unrememberable, but Minnie Driver was great. Clare Danes wasn't particularly recognizable (but then I probably wouldn't recognize her in person, so voice talent, Nu-uh) (and I've just put paid to the Tarzan hopefuls), but Billie-Bob Thornton and Gillian Anderson were spotted fairly quickly.
The storyline - man against nature, was rather moralizing in places, but managed to leave the conclusion undecided, open to further developments. It's not really a conflict that could have had a resolution, as it leaves the film pretty much where we are today (nature continues to recede, man continues to fail to live in harmony with it). And I don't think this is a film for the kiddies - severed arms and heads abound at times in this film. They're not particularly played for laughs, but severing an arm with an arrow is stretching things a little... and beheading someone (so the head goes bouncing off down the hill) is definitely unlikely.
I'm not entirely sure what the original story is supposed to be - I guess the dub is reasonably faithful to the original as it wasn't given quite a lot of acclaim as I remember. I'll have to watch the original language version at some point (which, fortunately is also on the DVD - I wouldn't have bought it otherwise), but from what I've heard, the subtitles are an exact match for the English dub, so they'll be less than illuminating.
This is the first Miyazaki film I've seen (given the game away?), so I don't know if this is comparably better or worse than his other work, but it's left me willing to watch them if they appear (and I'll take them without the english dub if there's subtitles available... just to get an idea of what the story is). So, I guess "Princess Mononoke" is a hit.