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A young girl named Kiki must leave her home for a year to begin training in witchcraft. She leaves on her broom, but first says goodbye to her friends and family. Kiki then begins her new life with her trusted cat Jiji.
Cast & Credits
Let’s get things straight; Ghibli Studio’s film is still superior in every way. But this version is also quite enjoyable. Unlike what the general audience might think, this isn’t a remake of the 1989 animation; it’s actually based on the original novel. As a consequence, many things are entirely dissimilar from the animated version. The character and the general climax were untouched but once Kiki arrives into the village, almost everything goes into a different way. This is considerate as a positive point since Shimizu didn’t try to copycat Miyazaki’s version. The little witch still tries to find her way into the world as she goes through puberty and deals many conflicting emotions. The thing about Kiki’s Delivery Service that it inserted stimulating subplots. Of course, it’s not that all of them were successful but it was enough to distinguish itself from the Ghibli Studio’s version.
Koshiba Fuka who played Kiki was convincing acting wise but that doesn’t apply on the aging criteria. She didn’t look like a 13 year-old in any way. However her co-star Hirota Ryohei was very believable as Tombo, he definitely shined better than the main character in this version. Some other characters were altered but it wasn’t very serious.
The CGI could be acceptable but the talking cat looked so fake that my eyes got hurt. Shimizu Takashi, better known as one of Japan’s horror films master decided to go with a family production this time and he did rather well with his angles and settings, if only the CGI was better handled.
-You like to see another version of the outstanding Miyazaki piece.
-You like family films in general.
Do not watch this if:
-You’re looking for a replicate.
-You dislike live action adaptations.
Kiki’s delivery Service is an okay family film. It differs from Ghibli Studio’s iconic animation even if it shares the same concept.
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Anyways, onto the main review. I've watched the Ghibli version many many years ago. What comes first isn't always better. This is just my opinion, but this live action adaptation is in no way inferior to the anime. They're both different in a good way. So, I'll break down the review into the following categories:
1. CHARACTERIZATION: I thought the Kiki in this movie was much more believable than the anime. In the anime, Kiki has always been a good girl who loses her power b/c she saw how spoiled humanity can be sometimes. In this movie, Kiki is a real human girl/witch with something called an ego --- she has that youthful pride that we've all experienced all too often when we were younger. As a result, she gets humbled and temporarily loses her powers. There is your realism. The anime portrayed Kiki as a 100% good girl, which isn't realistic. Everyone has imperfections, and this movie clearly showed the main protagonists' to us.
Also, they portrayed Osono as a very human character in this movie, who comes off as a really compassionate person towards Kiki in the way she encourages Kiki to never give up by urging her to take on the next job . In the anime, Osono comes off not as a person but a flat two-dimensional plot device whose purposes were to give Kiki shelter and give her the idea to set up a delivery service. This movie characterizes Osono so much more. She's like a surrogate mother to Kiki rather than just a Landlord/lady.
And let's not forget Tombo. He's more than just some pretty (nerdy) boy that needs saving by dangling from a broken blimp. I won't spoil it for anyone, so let's just say that Tombo is a lot more manly in this movie. Actually, he (and the baby hippo and the singer lady telepathically and Osono's encouragement) were the ones who saved Kiki's conscience. Kiki only saved Tombo with her mother's wound-healing medicine, which any passerby could have done. Nothing like in the anime where Kiki was the only one who could have flown to Tombo just in the nick of time.
2. THE CGI. For a low budget production, I thought the SFX was incredible. If you want to see really bad CGI, look no further than the upcoming Batman v Superman movie trailer. The parts where CG Batman tries to evade CG Superman's wrath looks to me like utter shite compared to the worst CG in this movie. I really thought CG Jiji could exist in real life, b/c a witch's cat is no ordinary cat! Forget that movie poster at the top corner of this page. Jiji looks nothing like that in the movie, he's got more fur textures and better lighting. Also, the flying sequences are really well done. The only part where I could visibly tell it was green screen was at the title where she's flying infront of the gigantic moon, and the light from the moon made it so.
3. THE STORY. I thought it was a refreshing change from the anime with fleshed out ideas. Parts where teenagers played pranks on each other to get even had me chuckling. Heck, I even think some of the story changes were even genius, such as ferries only come around on a set schedule, which is why they need a witch to delivery stuff between islands. In regards to delivering a baby hippo towards the climax, what can I say, the hippo was one of the four (the others are Tombo, singer lady, and Osono) who redeemed Kiki, so it's all good! It didn't feel like a plot device but rather something which advanced the story and Kiki's character! It showed her determination to complete her apprenticeship b/c she decided to become a witch ever since she could remember and flying was the only magical ability she'd cared to cultivate.
4. REWATCH VALUE. I rewatched the anime maybe once or twice so far. That's how much rewatch value that anime had! I've already skimmed over certain key scenes a few days after watching this movie. If I were to hold an annual movie-a-thon, this would be one of my top choices to add on the list for indefinite screening unto the n-th anniversary of such movie-a-thon!
5. HUMANITY. This is a made-up category, but important nonetheless! This is perhaps the reason why I gave this movie a 9.5 and not say a 7! I believe that a movie or work of fiction is special when it touches your heart. For me, it was the bicycle riding scene. Do you remember the first time you mastered riding the bike? For a kid watching this movie, it would be something trivial as they've probably only learned to ride a bike recently. But for someone a bit older it certainly brings back memories of us being bipeds (literal) on wheels for the first time ever in our lives using manpower! This movie brought back a certain fond memory of mine --- I was literally a kid again while watching this movie, which certainly isn't a bad thing!
In summary, movies are meant to entertain. No matter how critically acclaimed something is, if it doesn't entertain, then it's got no purpose existing. This movie definitely entertained and so it does exist!
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