Friday, June 10, 2016

When Marnie Was There - (Dubbed) Movie Review!

Who's In It?

Geena Davis, and 

What's It About?

When introverted schoolgirl, Anna is sent to live with family in the country she becomes obsessed with an old mansion and a girl who lives there. 

Any Good?

This is ALLEGEDLY Studio Ghibli's last film after Hayao Miyazaki retired, and you can really tell he's missing when compared to the likes of cult favourite, My Neighbour Totoro.

A lot of characters are really weirdly written here, bordering on distracting. Anna is a total dick for like 85% of the movie - I think they were trying to play into the shy teen girl thing but she just comes across as ignorant/rude and unlikable. Marnie on the other hand, is a total Manic Pixie Dreamgirl from EVERY teen romance movie of the 2000's. When I noticed the similarities to said girls, it just removed any intrigue of her character and my thought process switched to 'oh look, Zooey Dechanel is gonna reject poor Anna'.

While I didn't much like the main characters, I LOVED the Oiwa couple. The English dub voice actors for them (ESPECIALLY the wife) are so sincere and the characters so kind that they remind me a lot of a good friend's family and I loved every scene they were in.

Oiwa couple and Anna

The story was straightforward enough at the start and you really feel for Anna in some scenes, but it starts to fall apart when it plays mystery. It begins as girl explores mansion and meets a friend; then devolves into 'who/what is this friend?' and drops SO MANY hints to about 5 different endings. It stilts awkwardly from a childhood adventure to a Tumblr-esque fanfic of a (following link is kinda spoilers, click if you dare!) psychological thriller, to a would be ghost story?.. I watch Doctor Who and even I was left saying "What?" multiple times.

While I found some of the story convoluted, there were a lot of Ghibli-esque feels throughout, which suited the location and general gist of the story so much more in my opinion. The ending really ramped up the classic Ghibli feels train and it was emotional, I was just left wondering why did it not stick to this theme for the duration?

The animation is BE-A-UTIFUL. The settings are like old oil/water colour paintings from westerns and even move with the newer style anime character models which look incredible. 

I found that the old environment style anime next to the new character style was like handing off a torch; but I don't really like the mix they went for of new body animation while keeping oldschool face animation. It's distracting to say the least, when you splice that with disjointed character arcs, this just felt a little unkempt to me. 

While I'm aware that Studio Ghibli is usually kids, anime, a lot of themes in the movie were more teenage focused but done so childishly, it left me wondering who the studio had in mind for market? 

I believe that reviews err on the side of too kind for When Marnie Was There thanks to the association of Ghibli; but it was genuinely stunning on screen. I definitely will be going back to watch it just for the surroundings, and I'd 100% recommend it for anyone with even a passing interest in Anime/Ghibli style of animation too.

Tell me, are you an anime fan? You'll catch When Marnie Was There in the Lighthouse in Smithfield (one of my fave theatres) now. 


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