From Up On Poppy Hill Reviews
The characters are likable, even as a surprising, life-changing turn of events stains there relationship. The subject of said mystery I will not spoil here, but I was pretty shocked that a Ghibli film would tread such (potentially) uncomfortable territory, but it's all innocent and handled really well.
The animation is really good, if a little rough around the edges at times. The film lacks the lingering establishment frames and joyous ambiance of Hayao Miyazaki's directorial efforts, and there is nothing particularly memorable on a visual level. But a low-key beauty suits the low-key melodrama of the picture.
"From Up on Poppy Hill" is a step in the right direction for Goro as a torchbearer for his father. It is flawed, it's animation not perfect, and it doesn't conclude in the most satisfying of fashions, but likable central characters, complex emotions and a tone like sunshine go a long way. Like any Studio Ghibli effort, it's well worth seeing.
While far from a bad movie, 'From Up on Poppy Hill' feels completely uneventful, especially for a Studio Ghibli flick. In a way it comes off as a much lesser version of 'Whisper of the Heart'; another idealistic boy-meets-girl devoid of the typical Ghibli magical realism. However, where 'Whisper of the Heart' managed to tell a powerfully sweet coming-of-age tale while making mundane everyday life seem enchanting on it's own right; 'From Up on Poppy Hill' instead tells an unsettlingly trite "save the rec-center" plot with Goro's direction lacking the expert eye-for-detail or youthful invigoration in order to make the ordinary city-scape exciting. One of the few times the film conjures up any of that special Studio Ghibli magic is in the clubhouse scenes.
The script by Hayao Miyazaki and Kaiko Niwa contains interesting themes regarding the idea of keeping the memory of the past alive while still looking forward to the future but Goro fails to conjure up any emotional resonance or intrigue from this simple tale. The characters are mostly forgettable; with the protagonist Umi being the only character with anything resembling depth (although far from the most engaging female protagonist that Studio Ghibli films contain in spades) and her romantic interest Shun contains zero personality. The narrative is blandly straightforward and little background is given as to why the clubhouse is so important to save from demolition (the students keep talking about how much history the clubhouse contains but we are never told any of it). There is also a plot twist that happens halfway through that could have been daringly interesting but the ensuing drama is so half-baked and the fact that it is literally retconed fifteen minutes later leaves the whole thing feeling like a cheap gimmicky soap-opera curveball (also leads to the biggest WTF moment in the film; those who've seen the movie will know what I'm talking about).
Aside from the good animation and atypical sets 'From Up on Poppy Hill' is Goro's second time at bat and things are not looking too bright. Either he needs to find his own style or has to stop making films altogether (emulating his father's style is only calling attention to all his shortcomings as a filmmaker).
"From Up on Poppy Hill" may not be one of the best animated movies Studio Ghibli has ever released.(It is so melodramatic in spots that a character actually comments on it.) But then considering how sweet and sentimental it is, it really does not have to be. Of all the lavish details, I am most fond of the clubhouse which is spectacularly rendered. Through that symbol, the movie explores not only Japan's connection to its past but also its future. All of which is done at a nicely personal level.
From Up On Poppy Hill follows a group of Yokohama teens looking to save their school's clubhouse from the wrecking ball in preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The film plot is small in scale and simple with layers of depth. At it core it is a love story, but touches on the shift from the values of the traditional old age to the modern business era, the impact of war on friends and families, and depicts the nature of living influenced by circumstances rather than one that is self-dictated. It manner of storytelling and issues presented provide realism. We could imagine these characters, these issues, and this drawn world connecting to them as much as with our own home.
The central characters are charming making even the most mundane activity enchanting. One with her calm, mature exterior hiding her damaged background longing for the previous life before the Korean war and the other strong-willed also obscure by an uncertain background that becomes clearer when the relationship becomes more meaningful. Well constructed into the central theme as well as the environment representing symbolic nature of change in both the environment as well as the citizens views of life. The characters while serving the purpose of exploring the central theme are only meant to do that. The romance and the development of the characters remain static. A twist in the couple romance could have explored a different definition of love. The twist once introduce is not a contributing factor in the story nor challenges conventional ideology on love. Not exploring the same change in human emotion in our characters as it does with environmental change.
The traditional hand-drawn style of 2D animation filled with vividly detailed and beautiful background paintings. Its detailed interiors and sublime visual portrayal of Yokohama and the coast captures the beauty of Tokyo. Mirroring a live action films capturing every detail of every object appearing more three dimensional than some computer animated films. Clever sequences of animation liven up dull scenes like climbing stairs, as the 'camera' constantly follows the characters rather than having still 'shots'. Alongside the fantastic animation is the soundtrack which is brilliant liven ups the mood. Satoshi Takebe mixes long-flowing orchestral pieces with lively, jazz-like tunes. It all adds personality to each scene without over-powering or distracting from the visual nature of the picture. Aoi Teshima 'Summer of Farewells' is a fantastic theme song, that remains in the memory well after the end of the film.
From Up On Poppy film is enjoyable that contains the same magic and enduring character found in the studio. By appearance it seems simple, but in context of viewing the film everything subtextual will hold contextual meaning. It paints the real world whether with traditional or new views of life can reflect on the same experience as our character in a wondrous outlook.
Sarah Bolger(Umi),Isabelle Furhman(Sora),Anton Yelchin(Shun),Christina Hendricks(Sacri),Gillian Anderson(Miki)
Written By:Hayo Miyazaki
Directed By:Goro Miyazaki
I've said it before and I'll say it again Studio Ghibli always puts a smile on my face. For two years now I have been watching Ghibli films old and new and no matter what I always smile. The first one I got see in theaters was The Secret World of Arrietty although while this was in theaters in my state I couldn't go because it was in a bad neighborhood where a lot of crime happens so I didn't get the chance to see this one so I had to wait for the DVD. This Ghibli is different from the others cause it dosn't have anything supernatural or un-ordinary and I haven't seen Grave of Firefly's so I couldn't take to note what this would be like,not to mention I didn't see any trailers for this particular one I just read reviews and avoided the trailers to be surprised by the movie.
The Film revolves around Umi and Shun two teenagers who might be connected. Umi puts the flags every morining as a symbol or message to her father and so does Shun at his ship. The two think they might have a connection between their fathers but are falling head over heels for one another. But through their spirits they build a small building and found out the truth.
Ghibli does it again with another piece of beauty. Umi and Shun are two really great animated characters you don't feel for them necessarily but there very likeable. There is one beautiful scene where without spoiling anything is captured in a dream. The Animation works perfect with this story and these characters and it's as beautiful as ever. I don't believe that this particular Ghbli film is up there with some of everyone elses favorites mines icluded but it is one of my favorite films of the year and of all time I give this Ghibli film a 5 out of 5.
This film was poignant and lovely. It carried the same gentle notes as Whisper of the Heart and even the softer moments of Totoro, Arietty and Ponyo.