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REVIEW: Wolf Children BD+DVD


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rpgothic



Joined: 03 May 2006
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:21 am Reply with quote
I really enjoyed this movie when I saw it at London Film and Comic Con and look forward to rewatching this on bluray (when it gets released later this month in the UK).

I really like Hosoda's movies and wish Funimation would hurry up and license his One Piece Movie for a US release
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angieness



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:24 am Reply with quote
"Hosoda can never really bring himself to tell the story from his heroine Hana's perspective"

I don't know, when I watched the movie I felt more like the film was primarily about Hana. It felt like her story more than anything. Yeah, Hana wasn't the narrator, but the whole film to me felt like it was about her struggle as a mother. The kids didn't really come into their own until close to the end of the film, but even then the focus is still on Hana.
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mewpudding101



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:28 am Reply with quote
It's hard for me to finish this movie because of the spoiler[death of the father], though not sure that's a spoiler... Anyway. It just made me so depressed, spoiler[the way his body was discarded], just...
Made me so sad. Hopeless.
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Maidenoftheredhand



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:44 am Reply with quote
angieness wrote:

I don't know, when I watched the movie I felt more like the film was primarily about Hana. It felt like her story more than anything. Yeah, Hana wasn't the narrator, but the whole film to me felt like it was about her struggle as a mother. The kids didn't really come into their own until close to the end of the film, but even then the focus is still on Hana.


Agreed, honestly it seems to me that Hope completely missed the thematic point of the movie.

While the movie was told from the daughter's perspective, the story is ultimately about Hana or I should say the sacrifices mother's make out of love for their children.

Also yes the events flashed by but that was another point of the movie that time itself flashes by and when you look back you wonder where the time went.

It is a shame that such a wonderful movie got such a low grade. It really deserved better. This was one of the best anime films to come out in a long time and all it gets is a C for story, wow.

And yet I have seen plenty of mediocre films and series get a B or better. This is what happens when reviews are based on only one person's opinions.
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Fronzel



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:49 am Reply with quote
Glad to see a clear-eyed write-up of this movie which recognizes its faults as well as its strengths. This one has been hyped-up so much.

Another animated film with similar themes and less problems from about the same time is Leafy, from South Korea.

angieness wrote:
"Hosoda can never really bring himself to tell the story from his heroine Hana's perspective"

I don't know, when I watched the movie I felt more like the film was primarily about Hana. It felt like her story more than anything. Yeah, Hana wasn't the narrator, but the whole film to me felt like it was about her struggle as a mother. The kids didn't really come into their own until close to the end of the film, but even then the focus is still on Hana.


How is the focus still on Hana when she appears so infrequently in the final third of the movie? She doesn't even seem to react much when her children spoiler[transform into wolves and wreck the house seriously fighting each other].

Maidenoftheredhand wrote:
This is what happens when reviews are based on only one person's opinions.

As opposed to what? A popularity poll?

I guess I should be used to "this review is wrong because I don't agree with it" posts by now.


Last edited by Fronzel on Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Rextyn



Joined: 05 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:54 am Reply with quote
angieness wrote:
"Hosoda can never really bring himself to tell the story from his heroine Hana's perspective"

I don't know, when I watched the movie I felt more like the film was primarily about Hana. It felt like her story more than anything. Yeah, Hana wasn't the narrator, but the whole film to me felt like it was about her struggle as a mother. The kids didn't really come into their own until close to the end of the film, but even then the focus is still on Hana.

Yeah, that definitely runs counter to my experience and perception as well. When I first watched this a while ago, a friend who watched it with us had the immediate reaction of "you know, fairy tales are generally told from the perspective of the children in them - it's so refreshing to see one told from the perspective of the mother instead."
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Zac
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:54 am Reply with quote
Maidenoftheredhand wrote:
This is what happens when reviews are based on only one person's opinions.


So every single review ever written, then.

I had a lot of issues with Wolf Children myself, but most of them boiled down to Hana - she isn't a character, she's SUPERMOM, unflappable in all situations, calm in every crisis, handling everything life throws at her with kindness and patience, which isn't realistic at all and took me right out of the film.

One scene where she didn't react like World's Greatest Mom or maybe made one parenting mistake or lost her temper or something that real people do would've gone a very long way toward humanizing her and giving the film the element of slight realism it desperately needed.
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bazinko



Joined: 23 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:58 am Reply with quote
This review is very well written. I enjoyed it despite not entirely agreeing with the hearty disappointment. Those grand emotions in the film do lack depth, but the fantasy it sweeps you away in was enough to distract me from the distant characters. It's as if we weren't allowed to get inside their minds.

If only Hosoda had gone all the way with telling the story from Yuki's perspective and not confused us with how to approach Hana, then the fantasy would have been full-fledged and been free to soar. But since it didn't, I felt more like an onlooker to this tale rather than a central character. In that way, it's like having this story relayed to you,leaving that overall vagueness and glorification of events.

I feel the score deserves more recognition for carrying those grand emotions. So much weight was put on it and I felt it performed wonderfully.

Anyway, this review was unbiased, but thoughtful and did exactly what it needed to. And peppered with just enough flowery words to add color, but not detract ("cloying," "teeming," "bastions"). Very Happy
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Julia-the-Great



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:09 pm Reply with quote
angieness wrote:
"Hosoda can never really bring himself to tell the story from his heroine Hana's perspective"

I don't know, when I watched the movie I felt more like the film was primarily about Hana. It felt like her story more than anything. Yeah, Hana wasn't the narrator, but the whole film to me felt like it was about her struggle as a mother. The kids didn't really come into their own until close to the end of the film, but even then the focus is still on Hana.

I'll preface this by saying I haven't seen the movie yet, this is just from how I'm interpreting Hope's review. But there is a difference between the story being ABOUT Hana and being told from Hana's perspective. In the first form, we know what happened to her; in the second, we know how she feels about what happened to her. I think that's the point Hope is trying to get across. But, again, haven't seen the movie yet (dying to), so feel free to ignore me if I'm way off on this.
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Zac
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:12 pm Reply with quote
Julia-the-Great wrote:
But, again, haven't seen the movie yet (dying to), so feel free to ignore me if I'm way off on this.


No, I was going to mention that - the film is not told from Hana's perspective. You're spot on.
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zensunni



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:15 pm Reply with quote
Zac wrote:
Maidenoftheredhand wrote:
This is what happens when reviews are based on only one person's opinions.


So every single review ever written, then.

I had a lot of issues with Wolf Children myself, but most of them boiled down to Hana - she isn't a character, she's SUPERMOM, unflappable in all situations, calm in every crisis, handling everything life throws at her with kindness and patience, which isn't realistic at all and took me right out of the film.

One scene where she didn't react like World's Greatest Mom or maybe made one parenting mistake or lost her temper or something that real people do would've gone a very long way toward humanizing her and giving the film the element of slight realism it desperately needed.

What? She is constantly making mistakes. spoiler[Not knowing what to do when her daughter eats a silica packet and is throwing up. (Pediatrician or veterinarian? which to choose...) Child protective services comes knocking because of a lack of immunizations. There are more...] The fact that she is resilient and is able to deal with her mistakes doesn't mean she isn't making them.

I loved the film and seriously had trouble choking up thinking about it for several hours after watching it the first time. As a parent, it was an amazing film.
Zac wrote:
Julia-the-Great wrote:
But, again, haven't seen the movie yet (dying to), so feel free to ignore me if I'm way off on this.


No, I was going to mention that - the film is not told from Hana's perspective. You're spot on.

Exactly. I didn't get the line in the review about him not being able to bring himself to tell the story from her perspective. It isn't told from her perspective, so why should he bring himself to do so?


Last edited by zensunni on Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Maidenoftheredhand



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:15 pm Reply with quote
Zac wrote:

So every single review ever written, then.


Right but there is a difference when a series/film grade is based on only ONE review and when you are looking at it from aggregate review sites, that was the point I was making.

Quote:
I had a lot of issues with Wolf Children myself, but most of them boiled down to Hana - she isn't a character, she's SUPERMOM, unflappable in all situations, calm in every crisis, handling everything life throws at her with kindness and patience, which isn't realistic at all and took me right out of the film.


I disagree with this being a flaw. Again the story was told from the perspective of the daughter. To her maybe her mom was unflappable. She saw everything what her mother went through for her and her brother and this is the Hana she saw. That doesn't mean Hana was actually perfect but from a character perspective it works.

To put it into more perspective Hosoda actually based this story on the feelings for his own mother. The place where the film took place is based on the area of Japan where he grew up. He talked about how despite being sad that he was leaving home his mother completely supported him when he left for Tokyo to become an animator. This is tied to how the two children at the end of the film also leave Hana.

He thought of the sacrifices mothers make for their children and how they grow up and leave them in the end and this is the story he came up with.
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JesuOtaku
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:29 pm Reply with quote
Maidenoftheredhand wrote:

To put it into more perspective Hosoda actually based this story on the feelings for his own mother. The place where the film took place is based on the area of Japan where he grew up. He talked about how despite being sad that he was leaving home his mother completely supported him when he left for Tokyo to become an animator. This is tied to how the two children at the end of the film also leave Hana.


See, I get that, but in that sense, it's still only about the children. We never see any of these events from Hana's perspective. We're told "she feels this way!" about a million times and we see her make decisions, but she never really feels like a human being with a past, ambitions, goals, flaws, etc., she feels like a mother as seen through the eyes of an admiring child. And that would be fine if the movie wasn't supposed to be her story, but it is, and it doesn't feel like her story, or even much of a story to be told, because Yuki doesn't seem to know her as a woman. There are so many really basic ways to characterize her that are never explored. Such as:

Review wrote:
What about the wolf-man did she fall in love with? What were her dreams before dropping out of school? Is she in any way afraid of her children? Did she leave friends or family behind to devote her life to them? These questions and more are never answered.


I love Fruits Basket and Beauty and the Beast, two stories that are often accused of having super Mary-Sue-y, Little Ms. Perfect lead characters, and I often buck against that, saying no, they're just human enough, with enough flaws, to resemble extremely kind, giving, unflappable people I know. I'm not averse to the archetype, I love the characters of Tohru and Belle. But Hana...it was just too much. She really did not feel like a human being at all, largely because you never quite feel like you know what she wants. (Tohru initially wants to graduate high school and make her mother proud, and through the course of the manga, decides she wants to break the Sohma curse. Belle initially wants "adventure in the great wide somewhere," and through the course of the movie, wants to live her life with the Beast, who she loves.) You're never inside her mind and heart, you're just sort of told about them, and even so, what you're told isn't very much to flesh her out.


Last edited by JesuOtaku on Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Zac
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:32 pm Reply with quote
zensunni wrote:

What? She is constantly making mistakes. spoiler[Not knowing what to do when her daughter eats a silica packet and is throwing up. (Pediatrician or veterinarian? which to choose...) Child protective services comes knocking because of a lack of immunizations. There are more...] The fact that she is resilient and is able to deal with her mistakes doesn't mean she isn't making them.


The first bit you mentioned is a gag, resolved in seconds with a phone call, and the second is a plot point that drives the film into the second act, wrapped up tidily and without any kind of struggle at all.

She doesn't make mistakes as a parent in the film. It is one nonstop calm, collected and perfect response after another.

Again, I liked the film, but the characters felt very empty and inhuman to me. It's a love letter to Hosoda's single mother, which is fine and all, but it'd have been great if he'd fleshed her out as a human being instead of just being 2 hours of hero worship.

Quote:

Exactly. I didn't get the line in the review about him not being able to bring himself to tell the story from her perspective. It isn't told from her perspective, so why should he bring himself to do so?


The point is that the way the film is structured, it doesn't come together thematically or emotionally - telling the story from Hana's perspective, attempting to get inside that character and make her human, that would've gone a very long way to give the film real emotional impact other than nostalgia and "gee whiz moms are great!" warm fuzzies, which is all the film really has to offer.
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Maidenoftheredhand



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:44 pm Reply with quote
JesuOtaku wrote:

See, I get that, but in that sense, it's still only about the children. We never see any of these events from Hana's perspective. We're told "she feels this way!" about a million times and we see her make decisions, but she never really feels like a human being with a past, ambitions, goals, flaws, etc., she feels like a mother as seen through the eyes of an admiring child. And that would be fine if the movie wasn't supposed to be her story, but it is, and it doesn't feel like her story, or even much of a story to be told, because Yuki doesn't seem to know her as a woman. There are so many really basic ways to characterize her that are never explored. Such as:


I think the story is about a mother told through the eyes of a child. It isn't so much the story about Hana as Hana but as Hana as a mother. Does that limit Hana's characterization a bit, well yes. But I think narrowing the focus works for a short film. And I think narrowing that focus made the film thematically stronger, at least for me.

I don't know if you ever saw the film "I Remember Mama" but this movie's themes (minus the whole wolf thing) reminds me of that movie.

In that movie, the mom played by Irene Dunne also came off as unflappable and strong and the story was told from the perspective of one of her children.
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