Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

How many people can say they love Japanese Anime?

 

How many people know it when they see it?

 

If you have kids like my kids, the Uh-Gi-Oh or Pokemon or some other cartoons might be the extent of what you know.

 

"My Neighbor Totoro" Image from IMDB.com

I discovered Anime one day when I was looking for a video for my son who was feeling sick that day and needed to be entertained. In the store I stumbled upon My Neighbor Totoro by Studio Ghibli’s director Hayao Miyazaki. The cover looked worn and tired at that time, so much so I almost skipped over it.

 

I took it home anyway. We watched it and were entranced. The story is about two young girls who move to the country with their father and meet Totoro, the king of the forest.

 

We watch it on a regular basis and I still have that feeling of amazement every time I watch it.

 

Image from IMDb.com

Last week, our 4H group did our semi-annual dinner and a movie night. After supper at Panera Bread, we went over to Movies 10 to watch The Secret World of Arrietty a movie from Studio Ghibli although not directed by Miyazaki.

 

We had kids ranging in age from 8 to 17 and there was not one single unhappy kid in the crowd.

 

The story is based on The Borrowers, tiny people who live in our homes and borrow only what they need. So food items and earrings might disappear as well as tissues. The trick is to stay hidden from the ‘beans, cats and rats. Birds like to eat borrowers as well.

 

In this case, Shaun comes to live at his aunt’s house to rest before a serious operation. He sees a borrower by accident and at first he thinks he imagined it. That is until his aunt tells him about the special doll house that was built for a tiny family.

 

Meanwhile, Arrietty is the only child of borrowers who live in this house. She accompanies her father on her first borrow in the house and he teaches her not only how to be a borrower but how to be a good person.

 

As far as they know they are the last of their kind in the area. Other families have disappeared and where more might be is hard to tell.

 

What is different about this movie is the way the story slowly unfolds. There are few big action scenes and every moment is not filled with music. The sounds of nature suffice and fit better. At first I had trouble slowing down and simply enjoying it. I had to remind myself it was OK to let things play out and not know what would happen next.

 

 

While Disney Channel viewers will recognize Bridget Mendler as Arrietty and David Henrie as Shaun, soon you forget about their real ‘faces’ and believe them as their characters. Amy Poehler does a wonderful job as the mother while Carol Burnett is a hoot as the housekeeper determined to rid the house of the ‘little people.”

 

This movie plays well for children in early grade school through middle school. The animation is beautiful and can be appreciated by all ages. 

 

Other Miyazaki anime movies you might enjoy are Ponyo and Kiki’s Delivery Service for younger viewers while Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away are more appropriate for pre-teens and teens.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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