animated: ghibli films


  1. sanjurosamurai
  2. danny

studio ghibli is one of my all time favorite sources for cinema. here are the films of theirs i've seen in order of favorites.

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1
Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) 1999,  PG-13)
Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime)
i am a big fan of miyazaki, and i think this may be my favorite of all his films. really this is one of the best animated films i have ever seen. the oddities and animation style are all typical for ghibli, but there was something specific about this story, as with my neighbor totoro, that i really resonated with. the characters and plot structure are so epic and yet so personal. a wonderful film.
2
My Neighbor Totoro 1988,  G)
My Neighbor Totoro
definitely one of miyazaki's best films, and one of my favorite animated films of all time. the story is so simple, yet so profound in terms of the underlying nuances of family life and what it means to be a child. totoro is a great character, and the imagery of many scenes such as the bus stop or the cat bus are ingrained into my mind. very effective animation.
3
Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) 1988,  Unrated)
Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies)
without question one of the saddest films i have ever seen. its films like this that have contributed so much to my near pacifism. the world is so dark, and life is so fragile, and often times its the most innocent among us that suffer the most. incredibly moving.
4
Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind) (Warriors of the Wind) 1984,  PG)
Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind) (Warriors of the Wind)
a fantastic fantasy story set in a very compelling world with fantastic characters. as usual the animation is stellar for this pre-ghibli film, and the effect that the story has on the viewer runs deep. one of the most fluid of miyazaki's films.
5
Howl's Moving Castle 2005,  PG)
Howl's Moving Castle
the film is wonderful. the characters are engaging, the animation stunning, and the story so unique. i loved the castle, although i would have loved to see more of it, and the scarecrow. the war planes were unique, and the subplots that we hear little about, such as the war, add some very interesting background noise. howl has so many layers that my only criticism would be a desire to see more of howl's background as he evolves into maturity, but we receive enough to dive in. the film has only improved upon multiple viewings. very good film.
6
Castle in the Sky 1989,  PG)
Castle in the Sky
this is a wonderfully inventive film with very good characters and interesting applications for the sacrifices made in the end. the film has some surprises, and many of the things left unsaid were left that way with reasoned intentionality. a great film worth multiple viewings.
7
Spirited Away 2001,  PG)
Spirited Away
miyazaki is such a visionary. visually this film is stunning, and the story was so creative. the only thing slightly holding the film back is its lack of direction at points when it feels a bit aimless, but the romantic in me doesnt care as the film was so touching, and so beautiful. one of the best animated film of all time.
8
Ponyo 2008,  G)
Ponyo
miyazaki is a phenomenal animator and an even better storyteller, and ponyo is an excellent example of miyazaki's skills with both. incredibly unique and compelling, obviously reality must be suspended for the film to resonate but just about everything in the film works well. a wonderful film.
9
The Secret World of Arrietty 2012,  G)
The Secret World of Arrietty
another excellent ghibli film and proof miyazaki doesnt need to direct for this studio for their films to be great. the story was touching and well told, the characters interesting, and as usual the animation was wonderful.
10
Porco Rosso (Kurenai no buta) 1992,  PG)
Porco Rosso (Kurenai no buta)
the first hour of this film make up one of my favorite hours in cinematic history. the story is sleek and imaginative, the animation as great as one would expect from a ghibli film, and the characters overwhelmingly compelling. the final 30 minutes fall apart for me almost completely. i still think the final act is ok, but is so far below the standard set by the rest of the movie. it becomes more juvenile, more silly, and far less compelling, and it takes the film down quite a bit. overall i really do love this film and believe it to be worth multiple viewings for the first hour alone.
11
Kiki's Delivery Service 1989,  G)
Kiki's Delivery Service
even in the fantastical miyazaki gives us a realistic female character, something more true to life and down to earth than the princesses we normally get from animation with female leads. this film is a bit more reductionist than some of his better known films, and it moves a bit more slowly, but the story plays out as a bit of an allegory to the experience many of us have when looking at real life for the first time. the conversation between kiki and the girl at the cabin in the woods towards the end is something that just about all people can relate to, and it puts this film and life in general in genuine perspective. not as provocative as some of miyazaki's best films, but still good.

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