Inside the Mind of Miyazaki


Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese animator, filmmaker, and manga artist, and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, which produces some of the most beautifully animated films of our time. Miyazaki himself is considered one of the most accomplished filmmakers in the history of animation.

Ahead of the December 8th release of the latest Ghibli film The Boy and the Heron, I thought a little dive into Miyazaki and Ghibli would be apt.

My first Miyazaki-Ghibli film (to distinguish from Ghibli films by other directors and/or screenwriters) was Spirited Away. My uncle brought it for me on DVD when I was somewhere between 10 and 13 years old, and said it was his favourite and that he thought I might like it. I remember being a little scared by all the monsters, horrified by Chihiro’s parents turning into pigs, and ultimately entranced by everything else. I was already hugely into fantasy, and there was nothing more designed to hook me at that age than a dragon-boy, a grumpy girl, and their relationship with each other.

Since then, I’ve been an avid Ghibli fan, though there are a few I haven’t watched, and one I refuse to watch simply because it’s too sad and will make me cry inconsolably.

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Cross-Platform: Games to Film

The box art of The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom

Augh! I make a post about The Legend of Zelda in different media, and now a film gets announced. And, of course, there are already countless articles from various media outlets expressing their opinions on what the film should and shouldn’t be. I could have gotten in on that! But instead, I squandered my chance to write a whole article about it by jumping the gun. I mean, I can still say my wife wants Dylan O’Brien from The Maze Runner movies to play Link, which I can see happening as LoZ director Wess Ball also directed The Maze Runner. My thoughts are that whoever plays Link better be short and preferably left-handed. The tone of the movie should be a decent approximation of the games, which are serious, but also… not? The games always ends with a battle against a world-ending villain, but Link still finds time to play minigames, get attacked by cuccos1, and torture tree-people2. So for tone… maybe somewhere between The Lord of the Rings and the original Indiana Jones trilogy? Feel free to tell me why this is a terrible take in the comments. Oh! And by the way, we have a bunch of The Legend of Zelda games in the catalogue. If you’ve missed some of them or want to try one for the first time, place a hold and give them a playthrough. Or maybe watch a let’s play3 and see what they’re all about.

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A Sofia Coppola Retrospective

The virgin suicides DVD cover

With Priscilla now out in theatres, I felt the urge to revisit director Sofia Coppola’s work. Coppola has been criticized copiously throughout her 25-year career, first as a nepo baby descending from directorial royalty (her father is Francis Ford Coppola), and second as prioritizing style over substance. My take? Being a nepo baby is fine if you acknowledge your privilege and (crucially) you are talented, and sometimes style is the substance. Or, more accurately, style reflects the substance. It takes skill to have your own visual style, and Coppola, as head Sad Girl of the cinematic world, has that in spades. She is also always reliable for a killer soundtrack, the songs not only exhibiting enduring cool-girl taste but selected for their ability to enhance a specific mood or theme. Priscilla is a continuation of Coppola’s dependable style and music choices, only missing Lana Del Rey, who styles herself after Priscilla Presley (reportedly Del Rey was approached for the soundtrack but turned it down. Too busy working shifts at Waffle House, I guess).  Below is a look back at Coppola’s most iconic work.

Coppola cemented her brand early with her 1999 directorial debut, an adaptation of the Jeffrey Eugenides novel The Virgin Suicides. It’s about as on-the-nose Sad Girl as Coppola gets, which makes sense owing to her youthful age at the time (28—which translates to about 12 in director years). The story follows a group of boys who reminisce about the enigmatic Lisbon sisters, who all die by suicide in the year 1975. The girls are young (teenagers), lithe, blonde, pretty, and incurably sad—Coppola trademarks. Her other trademarks are also fully-formed in this debut: a dreamy, hazy atmosphere combined with a controlled and even sparse sensibility, along with an impeccably curated soundtrack whose every song is deliberately used to evoke either Coppola’s dreamy style (such as the score by French dream pop/space pop band Air) or the film’s location in place and time (such as songs by Heart and Styx).  

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