Aside from watching “Astro Boy” as a child, and more recently occasionally browsing at the Channel 10 Breakfast cartoons, I’ve never really had much of an interest in, nor experience of watching Japanese animation. And I guess the only reason I went to this was because it was the closing night of the Sydney Film Festival and there was the associated prospect of boozing and schmoozing.
Actually it was with some dread that Damien and I went to see the movie. I’m not a great fan of fantasy and – with the exception of The Simpsons – I’m not a fan of animation. I didn’t like Futurama. I don’t understand why there are rows and rows of those animation DVDs at the shops. Truth be told, it’s because I’m not a great fan of fiction. Anyway, a couple of drinks under our belts and we settled down.
Almost instantly I was encaptured by the movie which, incidentally, was being screend with the film’s producer in the audience. The animation was beautiful and the story enchanting. Like many fantasy works, it was a story dealing with love and an epic quest. The good natured and self-aware humour of the movie also made it appealing with its living “fire creature” and the “bobbing scarecrow” providing many moments of great laughter. The central character, however, the old woman, was the character which gave the film its humanity.
Although the film has been released in America with voices dubbed by the likes of Christian Bale and Lauren Bacall, we watched the original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles. Odd, eh?