Thanks to Zinemaldia we have been able to enjoy Hayao Miyazaki’s latest work, The Boy and the Heron. Does it live up to his legacy?
He San Sebastian Film Festival, popularly known as Film Festivalis one of the great film festivals in the world. This year’s edition came with a big surprise, The Boy and the Heron, Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film, will open the festival. The expectation of the return as director of one of the co-founders of Studio Ghibli It has been very high and it has been a miracle that you got tickets to be able to enjoy the work. Ticket sales barely opened and they were practically already sold out.
Miyazaki released his latest film in Japan without any marketing campaign. There were no trailers, no images or anything, just the title of the movie and still It has been a complete success. After passing through the Japanese country, the trailers and images have already been published, but luckily, I have been able to enjoy the film without having seen anything of it, except for a couple of images. The works of the master Miyazaki have always caused a sensation, as this 82-year-old man has always proven to live up to his legacy. And we can assure you that this new film will not leave anyone indifferent. Of course, this review will be free of plot spoilers.
As a curious fact, the film is based on the 1937 Japanese novel How Do You Live?, by Genzaburo Yoshino.
The essence of Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli intact
They say that wine improves with the passage of time, we can say that a similar thing happens with Miyazaki. Director of The boy and the heron It takes us back to a fantasy world where we will see the author’s usual themes, but also new ones, as well as messages that we should all take into account.
We are facing a work that talks about mourning and acceptance of death, which is not the end, but a new beginning, but it also shows us the message that we do not have to become cruel and lying characters.. Legacy and love also have their importance. Of course, we will also see the director’s usual themes such as childhood and the Second World War. cWith all this we are faced with a somewhat dark story, but one that also has its bright and beautiful moments. The film is a pure expression of Miyazaki-Ghibli. Age has not taken its toll on his mind, his imagination and ideas.
Nothing will be said about the story, but I assure you that it is impossible not to be moved throughout the film. A very deep script that does not treat the viewer in a derogatory manner and that tries to explain everything based on dialogue, here we are faced with a mature story where the expressions, the shots, the landscape and even the music (the piano is wonderful) tell a story. The Boy and the Heron is a highly recommended work to review in order to find all the details that this film hides.
Even though it contains a lot of symbology, it does not become heavy, it is enjoyable for both young people and adults. Like other works by the author, the film seems timeless and perfect so that it can be understood by all kinds of generations from different cultures. Although it is important to warn that it may not be for very young children, the film has slightly disturbing moments that may make children scared. Some parent has had to leave the room because their child had started crying during some scenes, you have been warned.
In today’s anime world it seems that the story does not matter as much as the animation, sometimes it feels that the script is nothing more than an excuse to flex technical muscle and delight us with beautiful images. In The Boy and the Heron this problem does not exist, the story is solid and stands on its own, but on top of that the animation is also spectacular, well you have a film by Hayao Miyazaki.
The magic of animation
It seems that classic animation is no longer so fashionable. In the last year, we have had great animated films like Spiderman: Crossing the Multiverse, Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem o The First Slam Dunk that have amazed with their modern animation. The Boy and the Heron shows that the classic never dies and that it still has room to amaze the world. If you blink or look away from the screen, you will lose hundreds of details. The film is an explosion of fantasy and the fact that it opens the San Sebastian Film Festival shows the admiration one has for Miyazaki in the industry and the respect that animated films have earned.
Highlighting only the animation would be unfair and unrealistic, since what is truly Amazing are the designs of the settings and the different creatures that we will see during the two hours that the film lasts. Any beast or creature, no matter how ugly or beautiful, is impressive and has amazing details. The settings, as usual with Miyazaki, demonstrate an authentic love for nature. From the grass in a garden, through a forest to the sea, everything exudes magic and peace. In this work there are two elements that stand out above the others, fire and water (closely related to life and death), the animation of these two elements is amazing.
In any other film, many details would be overlooked because they are not given much importance, but not in a Studio Ghibli film. Something as absurd as mud that rises when you step on the ground or jam after being spread on bread is hypnotic. Everything in this work exudes tremendous affection for what is being done.
Is The Boy and the Heron a masterpiece?
No one can leave indifferent after watching this film, The Boy and the Heron is another work to add to the list of the best Studio Ghibli films. Miyazaki once again demonstrates that there is no one like him to tell stories full of human emotions, framing everything in a beautiful and fantasy world where nature always plays an essential role. Many should learn that it is possible to move the audience so many times in a period of two hours.
I dare not rate The boy and the heron as a “masterpiece” since I consider that they are words that should not be used lightly. But I can assure you that Hayao Miyazaki is still in top form and that this is one of his best works. Of course, it is a film that must be enjoyed in the cinema, because when you leave the theater, it is difficult for you to feel the same as when you arrived.
The Boy and the Heron will be released in theaters on October 27 in Spain.