Taiyo no oji: Horusu no daiboken (Little Norse Prince)(The Great Adventure of Horus) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Taiyo no oji: Horusu no daiboken (Little Norse Prince)(The Great Adventure of Horus) Reviews

Page 1 of 3
May 23, 2015
Takahata's first film is certainly a good note to start on. The story is actually deceptively interesting, though the animation is very dated. Overall, it has plenty of flaws, but you can see the early hallmarks of his unique style sprinkled throughout. Definitely worth at least one watch.
½ May 16, 2015
A vintage classic of Japanese animation, HORUS PRINCE OF THE SUN (released in America on TV as "Little Norse Prince Valiant" for some reason) was the directorial debut of Isao Takahata, the man who would go on to create classics such as GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, MY NEIGHBORS THE YAMADAS, and his recent swan song THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA. At the time of its release (1968), this was the most expensive animated film from Japan -- and it took longer to create than the average feature at the time, and unfortunately for Takahata it would be his only film as a director for his company, Toei Studios. The box office failure of this film caused Takahata to be demoted -- a rather undeserving fate for such a daring, dramatic tale. Also noteworthy is that it was the first time that another auteur, a then young Hayao Miyazaki would make his first collaboration with Takahata that would later lead to a successful partnership. Because this is a much older film, the artwork may seem a bit primitive to today's films. That said, HORUS still looks quite lavish and richly detailed for a film dating from such an era. The animation is quite fluid for the most part, save for the occasional bits of still frame panning (the only minor false note of the film). But what earns this film my highest rating is its complex, dark plot and rich characters -- a trademark of later films these two artists would display. Indeed, this tale of a Scandinavian boy who draws a powerful sword from a stone giant and matches wits against an evil ice warlord has a surprisingly unpredictable and mature edge. Action-packed, occasionally violent, but always engrossing, this is a movie that I highly recommend not only to ardent fans of Miyazaki and Takahata, but to anyone interested in "epic" folktales.
September 12, 2014
Althouh there is too much singing and some parts do drag and slow the story a bit, Hols: Prince of the Sun is nevertheless a stupendous film with a terrific opening that instantly gets you interested in the film, well-written plot, complex characters, great animation for its time, some very interesting and artistic sequences and with a lot of heart at its core. It is a wonderful grandfather to feature-length anime films, it is unfortunately a forgotten film and that is a real shame because it truly is one of the very first excellent anime productions that is certainly worth checking out.
½ August 3, 2013
Taiyou no Ouji Horusu no Daibouken (The Little Norse Prince) (Isao Takahata, 1968)

In 1968, Isao Takahata was an unknown animator who'd done a bit of TV work. He'd been approached to do a film for Japanese production giant Toei, but things had gone off the rails pretty much from the beginning; Toei and the crew working on the film, anecdotally, had an adversarial working relationship, leading to the film being released very late, being kept in theaters for just ten days, and bombing. But that aside, the film's importance cannot be understated-it was while working on The Little Norse Prince (which, despite the name, is actually based on an Ainu legend) that Takahata met an interstitial animator named Hayao Miyazaki; when Toei threw Takahata out on his ear, he took Miyazaki with him, and the two of them founded a new, independent animation company called Studio Ghibli. The rest is history.

The story centers on Hols, a young lad who comes home from a hunting trip to discover that has village has been destroyed; after the death of his father, he heads north with his best friend, a talking bear named Coro. Hols is destined for great things; in the opening scene, he met Rockoar, one of the land's gods, and pulled a sword-from-the-stone kinda deal that draws the attention of Grunwald, the god of ice, who kidnaps Hols on his journey and offers him an ultimatum: become Grunwald's ward or risk his enmity forever. Hols chooses the latter and continues journeying until he comes to another village, where he is welcomed and grows to young manhood. While out on another hunting trip, he comes upon Hilda, a homeless bard who tells Hols that her village, too, was destroyed; he brings her back to the village, and everything seems to be going along swimmingly, but soon, Grunwald starts putting the pieces into place to eliminate Hols before he can fulfill his destiny...

This is not the quality of work Takahata quickly became known for once he and Miyazaki founded Ghibli in the seventies, but the keystones of Takahata's eye for animation are all there, if not honed yet. (One also assumes there was some studio interference.) This is good stuff, cute in all the right parts, thrilling everywhere it's supposed to be, etc. It's a must-see for Takahata fans, for obvious reasons, but others who are interested in animated films (but who don't consider themselves anime fans) might want to check it out; it's another of those movies (like Hakuja Den, viz. review Feb. '13) that shows the way Hollywood and Tokyo intertwined during the early days of feature-length Japanese animation; interesting stuff, and fun to watch. *** 1/2
½ May 11, 2013
The natural process of aging in animation does little to tarnish this milestone in anime history. The story follows the simple (universal, archetipic) path of fable, with a firm grip on its legendary bases: yet even today what shines is the complex depiction of Hilda, a female figure far away from the princess in distress, showing lot of ambiguities (human and social, given the time): half mortal and half spirit, half good and half evil, half child and half woman: in that only resides a lot of the fascination of yesterady and today anime.
½ April 25, 2013
Japans finest animated film up to this point. Hols: Prince of the Sun shows off their elegant action set pieces, gorgeous animation and a finely plotted narrative.
April 17, 2013
It's old, that's for sure, but the story of the titular prince and his journey to both protect his people from evil blue man Grundewald (who seems to have a minor obsession with people resisting him), and also saving a girl named Hilda who sings haunting melodies and hides a terrible secret (but then, don't all women?). It's probably not for everyone, but if you're a fan of Studio Ghibli's output or the early films of Disney then you'll at least enjoy the more surreal moments. And the strangely alluring blue villain...
April 11, 2013
Not very good, but then again, this was before anime really did take off and become great.
September 13, 2012
This is a fun and neat movie. The animation looks old, but it has a great story. Hilda is a great singer.
January 15, 2012
The animation is a little dated, and the writing in some places was pretty cheesy. It sort of reminded me of a Speed Racer cartoon. But overall, the story was great and the main characters were pretty interesting--especially Hilda.
½ January 6, 2012
Though not to be heartily recommended on its cinematic qualities alone, "The Little Norse Prince" is a key film in Japanese animation history, being both the first modern anime, but also the film on which Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, who later formed Studio Ghibli, first worked together.
½ August 8, 2011
An anime film that was included in the Studio Ghibli box set I've been watching due to the tenuous link that some of the Ghibli team worked on it. It pre-dates any of the real Ghibli stuff by 16 years, and it shows. The animation is very basic - even stooping to still drawings occasionally during big action scenes. The characters and story are only moderately interesting too. Basically, it's good for how old it is, but not so great by today's standards.
June 21, 2011
The unofficial first Studio Ghibli film? Takahata Isao's first feature length in direction, and first to collaborate with Miyazaki Hayao, is still one of the best of the old school Toei animated series of summer films. Adapted to Ainus in Hokkaido but still keeping the Scandinavian names, it's a beautiful, exciting, and hugely adventurous work from these 2 soon-to-become lifetime collaborators. I loved every minute of it, the pure fantasy of it, even if it still looks a bit primitive by now.
½ February 10, 2011
A pre Studio Ghibli anime movie that Hayao Miyazaki worked on with Isao Takahata. It took 3 years for this movie to be made. The animation is well done even if this was made such a long time ago when anime was still in it's infancy. It's interesting to watch and it has a good storyline. The originality that The Little Norse Prince exudes is nothing short of impressive. While it may not be the greatest anime of all time, it is nothing short of being the most important and provides the seed of the greatness that was to come from Miyazaki and Takahata.
½ February 10, 2011
A pre Studio Ghibli anime movie that Hayao Miyazaki worked on with Isao Takahata. It took 3 years for this movie to be made. The animation is well done even if this was made such a long time ago when anime was still in it's infancy. It's interesting to watch and it has a good storyline. The originality that The Little Norse Prince exudes is nothing short of impressive. While it may not be the greatest anime of all time, it is nothing short of being the most important and provides the seed of the greatness that was to come from Miyazaki and Takahata.
½ January 5, 2011
Little Norse Prince Valiant is a rarely seen animated film in America and that's a shame. Those who like Hayao Miyazaki should check it out. With its stellar animation (even for the 1960's), engaging story, bursts of humor, and artistic action scenes, it deserves a proper North American release. It has one of the greatest character introductions I've ever seen: the film just starts with Horus, the title character, battling wolves with an axe. The environment of the film absolutely submerges you... it's beautiful and doesn't seem weird that animals can talk. I watched the English dubbed version, which is reminiscent of the Speed Racer cartoon. Even with the dated-looking animation, it retains its majesty. Little Norse Prince Valiant is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Super Reviewer
December 15, 2010
It held my interest. The animation isn't the greatest, but the story is pretty cool. The characters are well though out and complex. If I were younger I would have enjoyed it more.
November 10, 2010
Takahata's first directed feature is an out-and-out masterpiece. The primitive looking animation and wretched voice acting and stills and scanning of elaborate panoramic drawings (to suggest large-scale battle scenes) does not matter; Takahata hits the ground running with his first sequence (a wolf attack on a boy armed with an axehead) and develops a remarkably dark and complex story of domination, manipulation, faith and betrayal. I've always maintained Pixar is a hokey source of toothless feel-good storytelling and Takahata from his very first work onwards is eloquent testimony to just how much more superior Japanese anime was and still is in comparison.
½ November 3, 2010
Great movie!!! This is one of the first Isao Takahata movies ever made!!!
Page 1 of 3