Whether you consider it a rip off or homage to Miyazaki’s work the animated Children Who Chase Lost Voices is a highly successful, quite charming adventure that could easily slip into Studio Ghibli’s masterful canon. A young girl picks up some unusual music on her crystal radio set that leads her into the company of an enigmatic boy from a subterranean kingdom and onto melancholic escapade. The writer/director Shinkai ‘borrows’ much of the animation stylings of Miyazaki, explores similar themes of loss and the passage of time and even cobbles together a patchwork plot that’s half Castle In the Sky, half Spirited Away but unfortunately forgets to lift the delicate scripting and well, modesty. A thoroughly entertaining film from a filmmaker with much promise.
Jackson continues to mine the rich Tolkien seam with the first part of his trilogy adapting The Hobbit. Martin Freeman, as usual, mugs his way through proceedings as Bilbo Baggins who gets recruited by a certain wizard into a dwarf heavy quest to evict a troublesome dragon blah blah blah, I’m sure you’re familiar with the plot. There’s more humour here than Lord of The Rings and it’s a sunnier production overall but Jackson still packs in plenty of action and, given it’s certification, a surprising amount of dismemberment. As we’ve come to expect Jackson assembled a talented ensemble and his polished production and attention to detail make for lush storytelling and this, and it’s subsequent sequels, will no doubt rake in the cash as well as a plentitude of well deserved plaudits.