I'm a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki – I especially love “Porco Rosso”. Now that he's semi-retired, his son, Goro Miyazaki, seems to be filling his animation shoes.
Apparently, his earlier film, “Tales From Earthsea”, was not a big success. So, now he has a new feature film that's he's presenting as an Oscar contender. It's called “From Up on Poppy Hill”. I went to see it last week, but was disappointed in the film.
First off, the animation was very pedestrian, like a Saturday afternoon TV special, and the backgrounds looked like painted photographs, with no inspiration or artistic feeling.
But the story was even worse. It's about a teen high-school girl who has a crush on a boy, and they save an old building together. There's no magic or visual fantasy. It could have been shot in live-action, to much better effect.
Apparently, Hayao was responsible for help with the screenplay, and also producing – but I hope that in the future Studio Ghibli can live up to their reputation of making wondrous imaginative animations.
I give “From Up on Poppy Hill” a D+.