Studio Ghibli

Blu Ray Review – Spirited Away

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Blu Ray Review – Spirited Away

In terms of animation there are very few studios that I will absolutely watch anything they produce. Studio Ghibli has certainly earned it, with countless films over the years that have touched the heart. I have the same rule with Directors – and the list has been getting shorter and shorter as prequels and remakes seem to be the downfall with any of my favorite directors. Though at the top of my list rests a person that I hold in the highest regards: Hayao Miyazaki. So when your fav animation studio – and your favorite director are working together you know it’s a must see.

If you are unfamiliar with the history of Spirited Away, specifically for the American release, this film debuted a couple of years after Mononoke and received similar types of praise. Really opening the flood gates to both Anime and other Studio Ghibli films.

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Blu Ray Review – The Cat Returns

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Blu Ray Review – The Cat Returns

Animation is an incredible powerful medium that has the very real capability to freight train you right in the feels. Films like Land Before Time, Up or even Big Hero 6 still hold dear and emotional memories for me.

Though there is one animation studio that is the king in terms of the feels: Studio Ghibli. It’s also been a real treat now their films are making their way stateside and in high definition, making it a perfect opportunity to re-live these classics and even share them with your fellow geek. Though it must be said the one that truly caught me off guard was The Cat Returns.

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Review – The Wind Rises: Blu Ray

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Review – The Wind Rises: Blu Ray

There are those few people in the world who truly touch your heart and are a source of inspiration for all your creative endeavors. In this case, I’m talking about the works of Hayao Miyazaki.  His work has been some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in animation. If you haven’t seen any of his movies yet (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Tororo, Kiki’s Delivery Service, among others), please put down this review and go watch one. Miyazaki has said that The Wind Rises is his final feature-length film. How does it compare to his other works?

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Studio Ghibli Blu-ray Release Announced

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Studio Ghibli Blu-ray Release Announced

Fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s work are in for a treat.  According to Studio Ghibli’s official Twitter account, international Blu-ray releases of both The Cat Returns and Princess Mononoke are currently in the works.  This announcement comes one month after both films were released on Blu-ray in Japan.

Only one Studio Ghibli film not currently playing in theaters has not had a Blu-ray release.  The studio promises that when Spirited Away finally gets a Blu-ray release, it will have been well worth the wait. Read On

Pixar to Bring Studio Ghibli into 3D [April Fools!]

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Pixar to Bring Studio Ghibli into 3D [April Fools!]

UPDATE: This is an April Fools Joke. Sorry! =D

Update: You need to hit “read more” for the photo now, trying to keep it up as long as I can before getting a notice to take it down :(

With Pixar‘s increased dominance in all things 3D, it’s no wonder that Hayao Miyazaki would turn to them, and his good friend John Lasseter, to bring one of Studio Ghibli‘s classics into 3D. Laputa: Castle in the Sky is the story of a once sky-faring human race who have been forced to the ground when their floating cities crashed. Once city is rumored to still exist above the clouds, named Laputa.

The name Laputa stems from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels where in Laputa is a floating island made of magnetically levitating rock. In Miyazaki’s version, however, Laputa is an abandoned paradise. Many people, including sky pirates, are desperate to reclaim it.

Here is a video clip (in Japanese) featuring some of the relationships forged between these two respective giants in the past:

Now, all of the blubbering and fan-boyisim aside… I friend of mine got a chance to tour the Pixar studio this week and in a move speaking LARGELY to the size on his huevos, snapped a picture of an un-named project he saw on someone’s system. When I saw this I nearly freaked out… Laputa!

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My 2009 Geeky X-Mas Wish List: Now With 20% More "Running for Your Life"

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Geekmas 2009

Our wizened leader noted that we should get together a wish list of geeky, yet personally desired gifts for the X-Mas season. While I thought this would be an easy task, I found myself hard pressed to find anything under $50 that I actually wanted. Fortunately, Google helped me narrow down my options based on a well thought out and fully planned search query: “I’m going to get drunk, hide and watch anime when the zombies finally come for me.”

Stewie GlassIn the $5 to $10 range I found a rather funny Stewie-Motivator themed drinking glass. Think what you want about the show, but damnit… this wisdom doesn’t get any worse with age. “Motivate: Nothing says ‘Obey me’ like a bloody head on a post.” Too true, too true…

See the rest of my list after the break… Read On

Comments Off on Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke

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Mononoke Hime

Oh how I am spoiled by the big studios’ animation departments – television just doesn’t look the same anymore. I must amend this with the movements might be more jerky, but the design of Princess Mononoke is still up there with the big boys – this is one pretty film!

Those unfamiliar with Japanese animation, aka Japanimation aka anime, should check out Princess Mononoke. The title makes it sound like Mulan, and the general green, eco-friendly theme makes it sound like the Lion King, but it should not be a turnoff. It’s an action/adventure, it’s a big mythological epic, and it’s very long (don’t get a soda!) and involved. Do pay attention to the names of the gods as well as the humans. The design of everything is beautiful – the curse is represented visually which is very cool and quite scary (I should also mention this movie is not for kids – some serious R-rated violence in here!), the glade where the spirit of the forest lives (sounds hokey but it is soooo cool!), everything is awesome looking! I have to revert to high school language to get it across – it’s the simple childish joy of seeing nicely rendered color convey dampness or danger or magic or death or – I can’t explain it! It’s very interesting, it is a *little* long, but as long as you go in with an open mind and heart (and don’t roll your post-modern eyes at the mythological aspects of these people and their attempt at living harmoniously with the forest) I think you will enjoy it.

In short, a young man is infected with a demon’s curse and travels to jump in the middle of an earth-shattering humans/gods war. The gods are amazing, the scenery is gorgeous, and the only thing weird is hearing Billy Bob Thornton and Jada Pinkett Smith’s voices coming out of these people’s elfin faces! Don’t do what I did and labor trying to figure the other voices are – hit the IMDB before you go to get yourself prepped. And yes, that’s Gillian Anderson as a giant white wolf. It works, actually!

Being unfamiliar with director Hayao Miyazaki’s other work, as well as anime in general, I ran to the IMDB to check it out, and against my normal habit, read a viewer review. Apparently, this movie is top of the line anime (like I say, I am spoiled by Disney and Dreamworks and Fox and now WB) and the viewer saw it in Japanese with no subtitles or knowledge of Japanese and still loved it. I enjoyed it greatly (but it sure is weird seeing such pretty, delicate people be decapitated and whatnot in battle!) but I am far from an expert in the genre. I am pleased that I have had such a good introduction (besides the 1970’s Our Star Blazers or was it G-Force?) now – it is a very different animation form, with fewer frames of artwork (thereby jerkier) but with much more delicately rendered colors and figures. Very nice.

MPAA Rating PG-13 for images of violence and gore
Release date 10/29/99
Time in minutes 165
Director Hayao Miyazaki
Studio Miramax