Mary and the witch’s flower, a recent anime movie released in 2017, it is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi(the youngest director to direct a movie in the Ghibli Studio) and based on The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart . This is a debut movie produced by Studio Ponoc, an offsoot of Ghibli founded by the former stalwarts of Ghibli like Yonebayashi himself. This movie is revered by the masses for reviving the art of Ghibli, when handdrawn animation is dying in the favor of 3D CGI Animation.
Movie Details-Plot/Synopsis, Voice cast
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi( an academy awards nominee)
It is PG rated and available on Netflix to stream.
It’s summer, schools are closed and there is no other kid left in the town except Peter(Louis Ashbourne Serkis), who teases her. The bored, friendless Mary(Ruby Barnhill) tries to help other through chores, but she repeatedly messes up. She finds a cat, and follows it into the forest, where she discovers a magical fly by night ,a rare flower which only blossoms in every seven years and a little broomstick. Then she flies to the Edon College of Witchery, run by Doctor Dee and Madame Mumblechook(Kate Winslet) with a warning on the gate, Any Imposters will be transformedPlot/ Synopsis and Voice Cast(English)
Plot of the movie looks good at the first glance, even when it feels inspired in bits and pieces from other Ghibli works(there is no denying the fact Yonebayashi has worked on the Ghibli movies like Spirited away) First few minutes of the movie looks promising, as she shows some traits of character development, we are treated with beautiful landscapes of the town, and it’s own enchanting forest. Soon this very first act turns into a lackluster slow burning act and rather boring. So the question is what actually went wrong, It seem to get buried under the burden of it’s own big and rather ambitious concepts, as everything big and ambitious falls apart. The Endor college, or Hogwarts, it hooked me for some time, but it lacks the charm and it is not magical either. For whole time, they just brags about classes, magic lessons, parades, fests, magical sports like a clickbait. I would have liked to know more about the witches but what it does is barely scratching the surface and I even doubt there intentions. Magical creatures are not impressive either they just seem like Pokemon replicas. So the movie has concepts but no intentions to explore them.
Little Mary’s character is charming yet impulsive, her portrayal as someone with weak nerves and then next moment she is a prodigious witch, this provide enough depth and contrast to her character. Dib and Gib, the cat couple are not just the essential plot elements. Young Peter brings the necessary humour, along with emotional depth to the movie. I liked the portrayal of Madam and Doctor Dee, it is like any other menacing character straight out of a classic kids movie, but Principal Mumblechook is the one who steals the show for me.
Thankfully, In the second half they focus on handling the mess they have created without introducing more concepts. And you just watch it without any protest as they try to pull together a logical ending. So the second half is where this movie glitters and this is when it switch on the Spirited Away mode. The only thing that remains constant is the animation, this is where the promise lies, a promise of a bright future. Nisimura, producer of the movie, he said,
Yonebayashi who already excels at dynamic painting, sealed his specialty and can draw trivial emotions. But as a producer, I want to see dynamic animation, so I decided to do a fantasy with a cheerful girl moving around”
Despite having so many flaws, it has been able to bewitch the viewers and critics alike with it’s charm. It stands tall with a surprising Fresh Rotten tomatoes. But the question is if the survival of the art is all what we want, and minimalistic downfall of quality in other aspects is acceptable or it is just a humble beginning.
Overall, it’s a pretty and interesting movie about magic and courage, kids will really enjoy it. While you can endure it’s beauty and little excitement while ignoring other pitfalls.