“[The CGI] simply looks very fake most of the time–which is so sad because the flying sequences of Kiki on her broom are so very, very good.”

by Martin Hafer

Sometimes a movie debuts and you wonder why they bothered making it in the first place–such is the case with a new remake of the Studio Ghibli film Kiki’s Delivery Service. The original film was a cartoon from famed director Hayao Miyazaki–and it’s undoubtedly among his finest movies. The animation is lovely—very fluid and with a wonderfully odd town that looks a bit like Japan and a bit like Europe; it’s filled with flying machines and zeppelins! But, the story really works well because the story (originally written by Eiko Kadono) is so enjoyable and sweet. So why remake a film that is nearly perfect in every way?! And, why change the story when it was already quite magical?!

Kiki’s Delivery Service
Directed by
Takashi Shimizu
Cast
Tadanobu Asano, Rie Miyazawa, Machiko Ono
Release Date
November 2014
Martin’s Grade: B

The basic story is the same. Kiki is a 13 year-old witch, who, according to tradition, must leave her town and live in a strange non-magical town for a year while she practices her magic. Needing a job to survive, she uses her flying broom to create a delivery service–hence the title of the story. However, on several points it’s different–and sometimes not for the better. Instead of trying to inspire and befriend an artist, Kiki does the same with a famous singer who has lost her voice–this change really didn’t bother me.

And, I could understand using a town that looks like Japan since it would be awfully expensive to create the sort of world in the original film…though it loses something because of this and the lack of flying machines and zeppelins.


But, a whole new plot involving an injured baby hippo is a serious detriment–mostly because the CGI for the baby is pretty awful by today’s standards. It simply looks very fake most of the time–which is so sad because the flying sequences of Kiki on her broom are so very, very good. More importantly, however, this entire plot just seemed unnecessary and took up a huge chunk of the film.

So am I saying that this new live-action film is bad? No. I am sure people will enjoy it. But why watch it if there is a much better version already available and already seen by many as a timeless classic?