So disclaimer, I have never seen a Studio Ghibli film. So seeing the Boy and The Heron was definitely an experience. But a good experience. Obviously the animation was outstanding and the fantasy setting was incredible. The story was...odd, but easy enough to follow for a first timer. It definitely did make me want to go finally see Spirited Away, so I'll tackle that soon enough. Here's the breakdown.
Stellar beyond compare. In an ever changing world of animation styles it was nice to go back to a classic. Visually magnificent without breaking the Ghibli mold. The first 25% of the movie was just incredible to see, it was so peaceful (except the dead mom hospital fire) that I actually definitelly totally fell asleep once or twice. But when the movie gets to it's rising action is when the animation goes into crazy mode. The environment turns into a stellar landscape of pure fun and imagination that really had me hooked on each frame. Seeing this movie is worth it for the animation alone. Also totally worth seeing it for the animation of the Parakeets, my favorite villains in anything ever.
The Voice Acting
We saw the sub, so I can't remark on the dub (yet). I will say, however, that the acting in the sub was phenomenal. BIG shout out to King Parakeet for killing his lines. What really drew me to this movie was the cast for the dub, I'm hoping to see it soon so they better add more showtimes! The dub has Christian Bale, Robert Pattinson, Dave Bautista, and many many more A lsiters. A very well performed sub if I've ever heard (read) one. Also as a country we need ot embrace subtitles a lot more, I wish more foreign movies would release in US cinemas, shoutout to Godzilla Minus One!
Wild, weird, and probably important on a spiritual level I didn't understand. The story is essentially is the main character going into a different world to find his new mother, while encountering strange and dangerous creatures. I'm pretty sure there's layers of deeper meaning, but I just kept laughing at the parakeets. So while I am sure it's a beautiful story, I was there for the incredible animation and moments of humor. It was a bit on the longer side too, clocking in at about two hours, which felt just a little too long. The beginning of the movie is slowwwwww enough to make you sleep, but in a calm meditative peaceful way. The rest of the movie (last 75%) picks up speed fast, but that comes with more chaotic and confusing plot points. But once again, parakeets with knives.
With a wild story and beautiful animation, The Boy and The Heron is worth seeing in it's original Japanese language.