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The Best (And Worst) Of Studio Ghibli


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SolHerald



Joined: 07 Oct 2012
Posts: 31
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:17 pm Reply with quote
I find the lack of Porco Rosso disturbing.
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Dessa



Joined: 14 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:31 pm Reply with quote
While my favorite (When Marnie was There) seems to be a fairly popular opinion, I'm not sure the rest of mine will be...

Runner up: Kiki's Delivery Service, From Up on Poppy Hill (tie)
I like movies with kids/young people overcoming hardships and such. Plus, Poppy having a Ken Sakamoto cameo singing Ue o Muite Arukou didn't hurt, either.

Least Favorite Runner Up: Nausicaa
Nausicaa would be my least favorite, if my least favorite didn't exist. I couldn't even get halfway through the movie before turning it off in disgust. I get that the manga was unfinished when the movie came out, but ugh, it's such a bad adaptation for a wonderful manga.

Least Favorite: Princess Kaguya
I should really say "most hated." Because I hate this movie. It is horrible. I was watching it, and got so bored and almost fell asleep. Then I went to Wikipedia to see where we were at in the plot, and we were only a THIRD of the way through. Yeah, it's beautiful, but it's way too long and needed an editor more than Tolkien.
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FireChick



Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 1246
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:54 pm Reply with quote
Favorite: Whisper of the Heart
Runner-Ups (Two): Princess Kaguya and When Marnie was There

Worst/Least Favorite: Pom Poko. I had to watch this for a college class, and honestly...I hated it. The message was way too heavy handed, nothing progressed naturally in the movie, 99% of the characters were either woefully bland or completely unlikable (Gonta being the worst offender), most scenes went on for way too long, the environmentalist message was way too obvious and it felt like the movie beat me over the head with it multiple times, and there's a lot of narration that really wasn't needed. Definitely Takahata's worst work, IMHO. I know he can do a lot better than this, and he has!
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harminia



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 559
Location: australia
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:20 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Calling Howl's Moving Castle the worst Studio Ghibli film is likely an unpopular opinion, and I still think it's an aesthetically striking and decent film. However, my feelings toward it are likely a case of “the book was better,” which is ironic because I only sought out the book after hearing that Studio Ghibli was going to adapt it


Amy, I'm with you all the way. I bought the book upon the adaptation's announcement. Loved the book, excitedly went to see the movie and... Was super disappointed. So much was changed, and not for the better. They inserted random characters that were just useless (like the dog who really added nothing but generic comic relief and was ugly anyway), and added weird plot points (why Howl turns into a bird I'm not sure.) I get having the door lead to Wales may not be super accessible for Japanese viewers, but swapping it for some unsubtle commentary on war? Nah. I'm good thanks. I'll reread the book (and hunt down the sequel) and feel sad Miss Angorian never got animated.

that said, I got a bit sick of Miyazaki films quickly when I started noticing the heavy handed messages in everything. I have issues with environmental and war messages being shoved down my throat while trying to enjoy a fantasy movie.

Anyway, I'm honestly pretty happy to see Howl getting worst here, because I've been feeling like one of the only people who actually dislikes the film and feels it's a bit over rated.

as for my favorite movie, I used to say laputa but now my automatic answer is Cat Returns.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6545
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:45 pm Reply with quote
Spirited Away is still my favorite Ghibli film. The whimsy of the soot sprites and giant heads, the detail of the colorfully ornate backgrounds, the score, and most of all, that melancholy train ride across the water, haven't lost an ounce of sparkle since I first saw it.

I got a friend to watch it and what do you think upset her kids about it the most? No Face? Yubaba? Bloody dragon fights? Nope, it was the parents turning into pigs. Smile

I actually just watched Ponyo and Earthsea yesterday. I had a hard time getting past the criminally irresponsible mother, nearly driving off the road, or through standing water deep enough to sweep a car away (Houston and Irma tragedies too recent, I guess) and leaving a 5-year old alone (or rather in charge of another child!) in a raging storm.

As long as you forget about the source material, Earthsea isn't as bad as everyone says, though it's really not a Ghibli quality film.

I kinda of feel the same about Arrietty, but moreso. It was pleasant, but bland, and certainly didn't do the source justice. The scale of things in relation to the Borrowers varied wildly, which was irritating. I will give it one thing though. The scene where Arrietty first encounters the boy is a legitimate jump-scare, despite the forewarning of her horrified expression. As the camera turns toward him he's terrifying, even though he's just wearing his normal, mildly curious expression. I'm not quite sure why it's so effective, but damn, it's spooky. Shocked

I don't think I have a worst, really. There are a lot of Ghibli films I'm ho-hum about (Kiki, e.g.) but they're not at all bad films.

Scalfin wrote:
One of these days, Rebecca is going to give something a low score because it features cilantro and she thinks cilantro tastes like soap.

Heh, I used to hate cilantro because it tasted like soap. Somewhere along the way over the last decade or so, my taste buds (or more likely my sense of smell) changed and now I can taste the citrus in it and can't get enough of it.
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Yunho



Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 8
Location: Michigan
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:54 pm Reply with quote
honestly i do appreciate a lot of the ghibli movies but a lot of them are too slow moving for me and my short attention span personally

however the only one i actively disliked (granted theres 3 or 4 i haven't seen) was from up on poppy hill, it was so boring and i really hated the weird are they related or not plotline
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 3209
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:03 pm Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
I kinda of feel the same about Arrietty, but moreso. It was pleasant, but bland, and certainly didn't do the source justice. The scale of things in relation to the Borrowers varied wildly, which was irritating. I will give it one thing though. The scene where Arrietty first encounters the boy is a legitimate jump-scare, despite the forewarning of her horrified expression. As the camera turns toward him he's terrifying, even though he's just wearing his normal, mildly curious expression. I'm not quite sure why it's so effective, but damn, it's spooky. Shocked


Arietty didn't ruin the book, but it does show how Ghibli is just a little too earnest for Western fantasy--
In "The Borrowers", Arietty is just a girl, who's just as silly as any other sheltered but adventurous young girl her age, and too contrary to believe her parents' warnings about humans, or to be scared when she does see one...It's just a boy, after all.
In Ghibli's version, she's an absolute grim eco-friendly Mini-Nausicaa, complete with exploration and survival gear, and the point of the story is not English whimsy about whether wee-folk will be discovered by bad people, but more sentimental moralization about man's declining relationship with once all-powerful nature...
Sort of makes you wonder what Ghibli would do with "The Tale of Peter Rabbit".
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Mad_Scientist



Joined: 08 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:10 pm Reply with quote
SolHerald wrote:
I find the lack of Porco Rosso disturbing.


If it's any consolation on twitter Jake said Porco Rosso would be one of his runner ups. (The other runner up being Castle in the Sky, and the fav being Princess Mononoke.)
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fantaselion



Joined: 22 Dec 2016
Posts: 79
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:15 pm Reply with quote
Lots of hate for Howl's Moving Castle I see. I wonder why.
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Nadare Xizos



Joined: 06 Feb 2004
Posts: 96
Location: The Heero Hole
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:19 pm Reply with quote
I've almost seen everything from Studio Ghibli so let's get into this.

Favorite: Whisper of the Heart
I saw it when I was in high school and I related to the protagonist so much, it hurt. I still find the movie so entertaining and charming years later.

Runner-Up: Porco Rosso
Dynamic story and characters with a happy ending. It makes me happy whenever I watch it.

Worst/Least Favorite: Ponyo. While it's probably the most accessible to kids and beautifully animated, I find it excessively boring. I admire the hard work that went into making the movie, but it's just not for me.
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KitKat1721



Joined: 03 Feb 2015
Posts: 61
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:28 pm Reply with quote
SolHerald wrote:
I find the lack of Porco Rosso disturbing.


I think a good chunk of people would list Porco Rosso somewhere in their top five or so. It's definitely my third favorite - entertaining, has one of my favorite Ghibli protagonists, and contains some really beautiful moments. It's not as flashy as the big epics (Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke), nor has that nostalgia factor for most of the Western audience (My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away). Its usually a film sought out after being introduced to Ghibli.
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Key
Moderator


Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 14902
Location: Indianapolis, IN (formerly Mimiho Valley)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:39 pm Reply with quote
AholePony wrote:
I'm hoping Nausicaa wasn't mentioned because A) you haven't seen it or b) it's not "technically" a Ghibli film. It would be my runner-up to Mononoke.

A lot of people forget that Nausicaa, though a Miyazaki film, is not actually a Ghibli film, so yes, there is that technicality. Even if I had considered it a Ghibli film, though, I still wouldn't rank it above Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke. It would be the next step down for me, at about the same level as Porco Rosso.
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KitKat1721



Joined: 03 Feb 2015
Posts: 61
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:41 pm Reply with quote
fantaselion wrote:
Lots of hate for Howl's Moving Castle I see. I wonder why.


I always found it messy. It throws a lot at the wall, plus it doesn't exactly stick the landing very gracefully. There are aspects I really like about Howl's Moving Castle (Sophie as a protagonist, the general fantasy aesthetic of the film) but the anti-war/pro-environment message, the romantic progression, or even the whole theme of self-perception aren't given enough attention to fully flesh themselves out. I think a lot of critics see it as something that could be really good, but just fell short.

Also, as Jayhosh said earlier in the thread, its probably included more because of how many more people actually saw it, over the more-maligned Tales from Earthsea or Ocean Waves.
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:42 pm Reply with quote
It's probably cheating to say Nausicaa, since yeah Ghibli didn't exist as its own entity then, but either way it has to be my choice. It's just an incredibly rich and well-realized experience, with one of the all-time iconic protagonists of the medium. I might almost go so far as to say it's my favorite animated movie period. If I have to stick to the actual canon, it gets much harder: I've seen less than half of the studio's works, but when you have titans like Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky, or the how-can-anything-be-this-charming Totoro, it's hard to narrow things down. But I think I'd have to go with Princess Mononoke for the strength of its central message and those breathtakingly beautiful forest vistas.

It's much harder to pick a "worst" when I've at least generally enjoyed every Ghibli film I've seen. Ponyo didn't have the strongest plot ever written but was still charming, and I can't recall any specific faults I had with Arietty, other than perhaps the abruptness of the ending. I will agree with several of the reviewers that I'm always genuinely surprised when Howl's Moving Castle is so many people's top pick, because I honestly thought it was kind of a narrative mess, with a real out-of-nowhere conclusion. Still visually spectacular, of course.
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Sven Viking



Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 556
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:59 pm Reply with quote
I highly recommend the book to people listing Howl's Moving Castle as the worst (excluding Amy obviously). I saw the film first and still really enjoy it, though the ending always seemed kind of confused. On reading the book it's easy to understand where it goes wrong. It sets up all the plot threads and foreshadowing from the first half of the book then totally throws away their resolutions to transplant an unrelated second half made up of semi-random Miyizaki hallmarks.

Imagine a Ghibli adaptation of The Sixth Sense where the first half is near-identical, but in the second half Bruce Willis builds a biplane out of scrap, has a bunch of aerial dogfights with ghosts (in the process learning that war is bad), then reunites with his estranged wife and lives happily ever after.

I strongly disagree regarding Arietty as worst, but it did make me wish Ghibli did sequels. Or World-Masterpiece-Theatre-style series.

(My favourite is Laputa, by the way, assuming Future Boy Conan doesn't count. I probably enjoyed Pom Poko least overall, but it had a lot of good stuff in it and I don't mean that it's a bad film. Also haven't seen Earthsea.)
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