Movie Review – Grave of the fireflies


Grave of the fireflies is another breathtakingly beautiful movie from Studio Ghibli directed by Isao Takahata. It is Japanese war time story narrated perfectly with every possible minute detail. From the behaviour of a fly to the behaviour of a 5year old kid, everything is flawlessly depicted.

The story is a semi autobiography written by Akiyuki Nosaka. It is about a teenager Seita and his 5 year old sister Satsuko, and their survival during the World War II, after they lose their parent. Their feeling, the fear they go through when they see the war, the people getting hurt, when they get to know about their parent demises, how they tackle it, how they take care of each other, everything is precisely portrayed. Especially the character of the kid, Satsuko is very heart touching. The character of the 5 year old, her nature and how she behaves in certain situation is so realistic, some real, non-animation movie could have missed on to that details.

The hand – drawn animations of the movie are cute enough to make you feel amused yet they are close enough to the real world to make you feel the heat of war time. Love, care, hatred, rush, fear, feeling of being alone, the guilt, it covers all the emotions.

Basically it breaks the stereotype of a typical animation movie where we expect cute main character, some gags and a typical villain to trouble him, and his escape and survival throughout. No, Grave of fireflies is not that kind of movie. If you going to watch it with those expectations please make a note that it is not one of that kind still it will surely leave a mark onto your heart. It is better than most of the war movies ever made. Well who can forget the cuteness and the impact of the dialogue “Why must fireflies die so young?”

Movie Review – My Neighbor Totoro

From the Studio Ghibli, ‘My Neighbur Totoro’, is Japanese animated movie released in 1988 and is directed by Hayao Miyazaki best known for his hand drawn animations. It’s an absolute classic with simple plot, stunning animation, serene background and adorable characters – Mei, Satsuki (two sisters just shifted to a new house along with their father) and Totoro (a spirit that lives in the woods in their neighborhood).

Story, as already mentioned, is about a family with two kids, Mei and Satsuki, their father, and mother who is in hospital, a Nanny, her grandson and Totoro – a spirit that lives in the neighborhood camphor tree. Mei is a little kid while Satsuki is elder to her. This family is recently shifted to a new house in the countryside. How these kids manages their life without having their mother around, what emotions they go through, how they react when they had first encounter with spirits, is depicted seamlessly.

The best thing about the story is it doesn’t have any villain, drama or fight. The story unwinds with the perception of a little kid, how a child sees and discovers the things around. The cute little things, laughs, dance, shouts and the curiosity of those little minds reminds us of our childhood and takes us the world of children. Soon you’ll get so engrossed in the movie, you’ll start enjoying and feeling the happiness, the joy, the emotions those kids go through.

Also, every scene in the movie is very thoughtful. Each character, background, every element has some meaning associated with it. Well you may have to watch the movie 2-3 times to get the deep rooted meaning associated with each scene.

Overall, It’s a heart warming, emotional, very thoughtful movie, must watch for every animation lover.

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Movie Review – Ernest and Celestine

Wondering why movie review? Okay, So we (1st year students pursuing Masters of Design at Department of Design, IIT Hyderabad) are given this assignment to write reviews of the movies played in the Film Club run by the students of Department of Design itself. Some Award winning movies from well known art directors are shown in the club every Wednesday at 3:00 pm at the ‘The Design Adda’.

Purpose of this whole exercise is not just entertainment; it is also to learn the art of movie making, the process and the techniques followed while making the movie and to understand every aspect of it. Yeah! Pretty excited to write the first one. I hope I’ll be able to write the reviews on Wednesday itself. So the 1st one, here it goes.

Movie Review – Ernest and Celestine


It’s a very cute 2D animated movie, rendered in soft watercolour type illustrations, that narrates the unconventional yet beautiful relationship between a mouse and a bear in the most convincing way. Use of Soft colours, stunning visuals, and perfectly timed music effects, along with cute and funny sequences in between, makes the movie a charmer. Those simple yet beautiful water coloured illustrations gives a feel like the characters from the children’s story book has come alive. Even with the simple line works and minimal strokes, the ideas are conveyed flawlessly.

The story starts with the Celestine, a cute little mouse, who likes to paint but she is forced to take an internship at dentist place. She, unlike the other mice, has this strong notion of mice and bear living together happily with peace and harmony. She is a very good painter and keeps on portraying her belief through her illustrations. Despite of other fellows from her community trying to warn her about those giant dangerous mice eating bears, her belief doesn’t wear out. Ernest is a lonely, gigantic bear. He doesn’t have anything to eat. He loves to sing but couldn’t make living out of it.
While Celestine is given a task to find out and bring as many bear tooth as she can, Ernest is hungry and looking out for food desperately. Meanwhile the search, they encounter each other. Ernest tries to eat Celestine. Somehow, with her extra charismatic argument, she manages to convince him not to eat her. How thoughts of these two creatures, who are not supposed to get along together, turns up helping each other, staying with each other and finally take care of each other is depicted very beautifully in the movie.

Overall, the movie is an eye pleasing charmer that continues to amuse the audience till the very end of the movie. No wonder the movie bagged so many awards and nominations.

Movie Poster - Ernest And Celestine