Miyazaki the master
We've been watching the Hayao Miyazaki film fesitval showing this month on the Turner Classic Movies television channel. Too bad the month is almost over! Thanks to this (probably our favorite) channel, we've recently seen Miyazaki's "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Whisper of the Heart," both not yet available on DVD in this country, and both knockdown knockouts. These animated films are so beautiful, funny, charming, and go so far beyond any "cartoons" I've ever seen, both in artistic achievement, and in their storylines and pacing. What a treat to find these films becoming more available in the U.S. Previously we have seen "Spirited Away," "Castle in the Sky," "Kiki's Delivery Service," and "The Cat Returns." The whole family loves these movies.
They (who?) refer to Miyazaki as "the Japanese Walt Disney." The only connections I see are that both men were at the top of their class, both aimed at movies to be enjoyed by all ages, and both dealt with animation. No knocking Walt (who is one of my heroes), but I would rather see a Miyazaki movie than a modern Disney movie today. Even the good recent Disney movies (like "The Incredibles" and "Finding Nemo") are so loud and have so much over-the-top, non-stop, unrelenting ACTION and whiplash snarky dialog that I find them ultimately too tiring, despite their dazzling computerized effects. Too many U.S. children's movies today are just too frenzied and ha-ha-wanna-be-hip to be enjoyable. Meanwhile, Miyazaki can rivet and delight me with his very quiet ways.
But all that aside, I'm happy to recognize that this does seem to be a golden age for children's movies right now.