Favorite Movies of 2014 – Part 3: “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya”

You know why it took me so long to update this series, especially when it comes to “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya”, directed by none other than Isao Takahata? Oh, what’s that, you don’t know who Isao Takahata is? You know what…just watch “Grave of the Fireflies”.

No, I’m serious. Watch “Grave of the Fireflies”. Right now. Run, walk, rob a library (don’t do that), do ANYTHING just to see “Grave of the Fireflies” for the first time. If your spouse, co-worker, friend, neighbor or pet notices a certain change in mood after you have seen it, don’t mind them, for they understand. They’ve seen “Grave of the Fireflies”.

Ok, now that you’re back, if you thought THAT was a doozy, “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya” is actually a bit more fantastical than that. Thankfully, it is no less devastating, observant, beautiful or ambitious. “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya” is a standout in a year that has actually seen a lot of pretty damn good animated features (“How To Train Your Dragon 2” and “The Lego Movie”, to pick just a few). It stands out not just because it proves that, “2D animation is not dead!” (I mean, come on, have you seen Zone’s parody work lately, or…ok, too much information), it also proves how animation can express things that most “live-action” movies can only hint at.

But like what I said about, “Grave of the Fireflies”, what I say can barely encompass the strength, brains, sensitivity and beauty. It hits a few snags along the way as it tries to go outside of its scope with some…questionable uses of CGI imagery (not distracting, just…noticeable), but the power of everything else allows the movie to shine because it trips on its own feet occasionally. Yes, that seems odd. How can the flaws of a movie make it stronger? Well, they do simply because of the movie’s overall approach both in aesthetics and also character development. It approaches both components in seemingly simple yet layered ways, and even at it’s most plot-driven, it still feels light but by no means is it a pushover. Here is a movie that, for the most part, just lets elements hang and sway of their own accord, and the animation…oh, god, the animation. It seems simplistic, but the moment one sees it in motion they notice a lot of thought going into portraying trees, humans, animals…seriously, just look at this shit. Richard Williams wishes he could do shit that amazing.

Just see this movie. However you can. Yes, I know, you just got gut-punched by “Grave of the Fireflies”, and you’re not sure if you can take any more. Trust me. Just take one more beautiful gut punch. This is Takahata’s last movie…it’s for your own good.


Next time: Nightcrawler…or, more like skin-crawler, because fuuuuuuuuck.


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