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From Up On Poppy Hill [DVD]
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****--Little White Lies
From the legendary and highly celebrated Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Ponyo, Arrietty) comes From Up on Poppy Hill, the uniquely inspired and highly anticipated coming-of-age story from Goro Miyazaki and Hayao Miyazaki. Set in Yokohama in 1963, this lovingly hand-drawn film centers on Umi (voiced by Sarah Bolger) and Shun (voiced by Anton Yelchin) and the budding romance that develops as they join forces to save their high school’s ramshackle clubhouse from demolition.
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The plot centres around the activities of various young people, and their attempts to prevent their old clubhouse from being demolished to make way for a new one. The children are perceptively observed and inhabit a rich environment of beautiful artwork with marvellous attention to detail. There is considerable humour in this story, and some fascinating observations of ordinary Japanese culture. Do they really keep vegetables under the floorboards? The screenplay and direction is gentle and sympathetic and the apparently unremarkable story is raised out of the mundane by good dialogue and believable characters, whilst a romantic relationship with a twist develops between the two main protagonists.
Needless to say, this charming film is quite suitable for all ages. Studio Ghibli has done it again.
The film's main storyline is about how someone is answering a young girl's signal flags of which she raises everyday outside her boarding house.
At first it seems to be a straightforward boy-meets-girl scenario, but it definitely is not the case. There's a surprising amount of twists and bumps along the way, of which left me wide open of thought afterwards. The movie overall was adorable, I thought the music was outstanding and Aoi Teshima's gorgeous voice of whom sang Therru's song in Tales from Earthsea returns. The use of Sukiyaki, the only Japanese song to reach #1 in America, I thought was a nice touch too. The animation is what you expect from Ghibli, lovely hand drawn animation that goes to show that CGI hasn't killed it off just yet. I just hope we receive a Blu-ray version of the DVD to do the movie justice.
Overall, once again Studio Ghibli produces an unorthodox movie in the romance genre, proving that film makers do not have to follow the traditional formula to make a good film. It seems the future of Ghibli is in good hands after all.
**EDIT** September 1st, Hayao Miyazaki announces his retirement, it seems the gauntlet has officially been passed onto his son and Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Director of Arrietty), though now we can finally sigh in relief!
PS, photo is for Hecate, who wondered in her review whether Japanese really store vegetables in the floor.
Of course spectacularly animated, this is a genuinely charming and splendid film with plenty of lovely and moving moments. As another reviewer has stated, this isn't a simple boy-meets-girl film - just as Whisper of the Heart isn't simply boy-meets-girl. It is along those lines, that is a lighter film rather than a heavier film like Mononoke or Nausicaa, but it offers a well-paced plot, characters you actually root for and enjoy, and brilliant Studio Ghibli humour.
Goro has expressed his reluctance to follow his father's footsteps (and who can blame him considering the outstanding quality of Hayao's films!), but he has really pulled through with From Up On Poppy Hill and it is a Ghibli I would certainly watch again. Definitely an improvement from his last film, so give it a go!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Item arrived just a few days after purchasing. Haven't watched it yet, the only thing when it was delivered was the discs were not fitted in the holders and were sliding all inside... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Kitty Kat
One of my fabs from studio ghibli, not as famous as others but a true slice of life jewelPublished 27 days ago by Marina
Was a great gift for family member and they loved it. DVD had no problems and the quality was very goodPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
An excellent film, Goro Miyazaki's first feature (Tales from Earthsea) was seen as a flop, however, he has certainly pulled back his father's heritage with this gem. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Abby Lea