Much has been made of Studio Ghibli’s recent production halt on August 3rd following the retirement of director and founder Hayao Miyazaki. However, it seems that we will still be enjoying another Ghibili work soon, at least in America. Directed by one of the studio’s co-founders, Isao Takahata (probably best known as the director of Grave Of The Fireflies), The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a retelling of a famous Japanese myth. The story is about an old couple who find a girl in a bamboo stalk and raise her as their own. However, when she is older she must deal with her destiny and confront her troubled past (presumably the past that led her to end up in a bamboo stalk).
The animation for this film isn’t what I’m accustomed to from a Studio Ghibli film. I’m mostly familiar with Miyazaki’s work, and when I think of his films I think of the lush backgrounds and landscapes that fill out every single one. He is a man who is very in touch with nature, and I think that showed through not only in the stories he told but also in backgrounds he had drawn.
The animation here looks much more stylized. I think it fits the subject matter, as the drawings look something like the illustrations you might find in a children’s folktale book. While not as detailed, the animation, from what I can tell, pairs well with the type of story being told and conveys a folktale feel.
As usual, Ghibili has also managed to get a great voice acting cast for the American version. The father and mother from the tale will be voiced by James Caan and Mary Steenburgen, and the princess will be voiced by Chloe Grace Moretz. I look forward to seeing (or hearing) these actors bring the parts to life for English audiences. While there is certainly something to be said for the accuracy of subtitles, I do think that quality dubbing can often make a film more engaging, since I don’t have to spend any of my brainpower taking in words on the screen. Maybe I’m just lazy, but personally I feel that it lets me enjoy all of the other aspects the film has to offer.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya will reach our shores on October 17th. With the future of the studio being rather unclear, I’m pretty psyched to be able to see another Ghibli film. Hopefully there will be more to come in the future.