movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Watched on a movie night with Greg, Nicole, John The Canadien, and of course Carolyn.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Mother endangers child’s life by driving recklessly and then abandoning him at home during the middle of a hurricane.

PEOPLE: Directed, written, and co-edited by renowned Japanese talent Hayao Miyazaki, creator of Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Nausicaa, and My Neighbor Totoro.

We watched the Japanese-language version, so we did not hear the English-dubbed voiceover work of Cate Blanchett, Tina Fey, Matt Damon, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, Laraine Newman, Lily Tomlin, or Jess Harnell.

QUIRKS: Underwater fantasy world meets modern boring real world: Boy meets fish, fish becomes girl, boy falls in love with girl.

VISUALS: This was a great movie to watch in 1080p. HD arguably improves animation even more than live action, allowing you to see all the small, crisp lines which comprise each frame. Watercolors are employed to create a childlike feel, and the animation style is absolutely different from other Miyazaki films. In short: Very good animation, even if it may seem simple on the surface.

MORALS: Not sure if there was really a unified moral to the story, other than love saving the day. It was just one of those interesting adventures. If you are a mother, perhaps you should drive better than the mother in this movie. :) And not leave your kid alone in the middle of a hurricane…

BAD STUFF: It is more directed at children than Mononoke Hime, Spirited Away, or Howl’s Moving Castle. Some consider the animation style to be worse, simply because it is different, and uses watercolors. (They’re wrong.)

CONCLUSION: A fun, childish anime about love and the ocean. Despite not being aimed at adults, our group of 5 adults and 0 children all really enjoyed it.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 3.5/5 stars, but I’ll call it a “low 4-star”. IMDB: 8/10. I’m bumping it up to 8/10 based on visual appeal. (“+1 visual bonus”)
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
John The Canadien: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10. (He talks about the movie some on his blog here.)
Greg Z: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10. “It was fun, worth watching. I’m easy to please with movies usually.”
Nicole Z: Netflix: 3.5/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10. “It was pretty entertaining, a real trip; I’m giving it 3.5 b/c it left a lot of questions unanswered, and a few holes in the plot. But it was fun to watch. Guess one really shouldn’t think to hard about it. :)”

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.9/10, Netflix: 4.2/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.9/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: Animation connoisseurs should watch this.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The Little Mermaid has its slight similarities, since it was the film that inspired Miyazaki in the first place.

MOVIE QUOTE: Noriko: I’d let a fish lick me if it’d get me out of this wheelchair.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Ian really liked it, and reviewed it here. Dave O really liked it too (“It is such a remarkably simple and beautifully told story that didn’t rely on cheesiness of any kind.”). Daniel H and Cindy Lee both enjoyed seeing it in NYC. (more…)