Entertainment Weekly On-Line selects Kiki's Delivery Service as Video of the Year!
- Re-printed with permission from Ty Burr, and Entertainment Weekly On-Line.
In a year in which the animation breakthroughs on the big screen involved computers and bugs (no, not that kind), the video that gave me the purest home-viewing enjoyment was a cartoon about a sweet-faced adolescent witch. Made in 1989. Hand drawn. Animator Hayao Miyazaki ("My Neighbor Totoro") has been called "the Walt Disney of Japan," and, ironically, it's Walt Disney that is finally releasing his films in this country, with new, celeb-studded English-language tracks. Still, even as the characters speak in the familiar cadences of Janeane Garofalo, Debbie Reynolds, and the late Phil Hartman, Kiki remains a beguiling fever dream of childlike nostalgia. On one level, it's as archetypal as a Joseph Campbell myth: Thirteen-year-old Kiki (Kirsten Dunst) leaves her parents to find her place in the world, ultimately settling on a coastal city that Miyazaki envisions as a 1950s Europe where WWII never happened. In another sense, it's a deeply reassuring parable of belonging. And on the visual level, it's simply astounding, like one of Hergé's Tintin landscapes unstuck in time, or a Little Nemo in Speed Racer Land. Next year Miyazaki's '97 hit "Princess Mononoke" will be released in U.S. theaters. For now, Kiki serves as a reminder in these antsy times that the best animated films are never about how the dots connect, but where they take you.
- Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly On-Line
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