27 Nov 2011


27 Nov 2011 11:09 pm
mayoraasei: There is no such thing as coincidence (Default)
It was unsurprising that the best grossing film of Japanese cinema in 2010 was sold out almost a week before it was due to screen.

I've only seen about 5 Studio Ghibli films so far, and in many ways Arrietty is a departure (although perhaps not in as many ways as Tales of Earthsea?)

It's much more banal than Ghibli's recent films, without the vaguely hallucinatory and manic magic that seems to be its brand. However, in lieu of Howl's moving castle and Ponyo, it is much more like Spirited Away and Mononoke Hime...the magic ends as the movie does, leaving behind a sense that something precious had slipped away just as the main character graduates from childhood.

For a change, the score is not written by Ghibli veteran Hisaishi Joe but by a French harpist/composer called Cecile Corbel. I realised that I've actually heard her Arrietty compositions on Animenfo before and had gotten incredibly annoyed at her not-quite-there-Japanese and not-quite-there-English. It may be my bias speaking, but I think I still like Hisaishi's scores much better, even though Corbel's tune is irritatingly familiar. The opening notes sound like one of the songs from Mars (Taiwanese drama) and bits in the middle sounds like something from another Chinese drama. The entire movie basically varies the same theme - which, I suppose, is exactly like how Howl's moving castle did as well, but somehow Howl's tune manages to sound variously provincial to jaunty to dramatic. Arrietty's tune - perhaps because of its familiarity and the way it pauses on an oddly uncertain note - sounds almost invariably melancholic and I keep expecting the boy to drop into ventricular fibrillation any second.

Speaking of the boy, Sho, he reminded me a lot of someone and I think I've managed to pin it on Arima Souichirou from KareKano. The same sort of measured politeness that never quite gives away to anger, the surprising resourcefulness and practicality, the careful kindness that hides something much darker. Studio Ghibli's female characters are always more interesting and it is no different in this movie. Although Sho is clearly a sympathetic character, I don't think we're ever given the chance to understand him much...and he's really only allowed to venture out from behind his polite mask a few times.

I had a fangirl moment at the fact that the two main roles are done by Kamiki Ryuunosuke and Shida Mirai, who were in Tantei Q together like 7 years ago when they were adorable beansprouts XD I didn't actually recognise Shida's voice except during the scene where she's standing outside Sho's window, hidden behind a leaf, telling him to mind his own business.

I think I liked the movie, but somehow I walked out feeling like I just watched something very sad...and of course I went and found the score for Arrietty's song and I'm pleased to say it is much easier to play than Howl's G minor tune LOL


mayoraasei: There is no such thing as coincidence (Default)

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