Friday, September 13, 2013

From Up On Poppy Hill - a WONDERFUL movie!

 No Spoilers - just some RAVE impressions of From Up On Poppy Hill, an EXCELLENT movie that EVERYONE should watch! Whatever you do before watching this movie, do NOT read the back cover description and especially do NOT read the booklet included with the DVD until after watching the movie!

From Up On Poppy Hill is based on a manga of the same name that came out in 1980, the screenplay was co-written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by his son, Goro Miyazaki (and is light years ahead of Goro Miyazaki's debut Tales From EarthSea, which I couldn't even finish). All you need to know about From Up On Poppy Hill is that it is set in Japan, 1963, and is primarily about two young characters, Umi and Shun and... (watch the movie and let the story unravel without knowing anything else and your From Up On Poppy Hill experience will be all the richer!).
Here's another poster that was used in Japan upon the release there of From Up On Poppy Hill, illustrated by Hayao Miyazaki. This was released briefly here in the U.S. theatrically earlier this year, but somehow I never saw it (don't know if it made it here in Vegas), but when I saw that it was being released on DVD, being a HUGE Miyazaki enthusiast (he's my favorite filmmaker), I had to get it. Before watching it, I really hadn't heard much buzz about it at all, so I was just expecting a good little movie. Well a few minutes into From Up On Poppy Hill, I knew that this was going to be a favorite and besides it being my favorite movie of the year, it ranks up there with another favorite Studio Ghibli movie, Whisper of the Heart (please look that up and watch it if you haven't already) - actually, the only reason that Whisper of the Heart edges out From Up On Poppy Hill for me is its excellent use of John Denver's Country Road song (which is sung in Japanese and  is part of the story in Whisper of the Heart), but the music in From Up On Poppy Hill is excellent too, as are its characters and plot. There's nothing fantastical going on in From Up On Poppy Hill, as it's basically a people story set in the real world, but movies like this show that there is plenty of magic and fantastic things in our everyday world. As many of you may have heard, Hayao Miyazaki has said he's retiring from film-making and his The Wind Rises (now playing in Japan and set to open in the U.S. at the end of this year) will be his last movie, but with From Up On Poppy Hill, it looks like his son is now ready to continue to steer Studio Ghibli into the future.

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