Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Blu-ray Review - The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya

The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya
Director: Isao Takahata
Voice Cast: Chole Grace Mortez, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Darren Criss, Lucy Liu,
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: February 17, 2015
Retail: $34.98
Running Time: 2hrs 18mins
Rating: PG
Buy Link: Amazon

Arriving on Blu-ray today, Tuesday February 17, 2015, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment is the critically acclaimed Japanese anime The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya. The film is produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Isao Takahata. The American dubbed version features the voices of Chole Grace Mortez, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Darren Criss, Lucy Liu, Hynden Walch, James Marsden, Beau Bridges, Dean Cain, Oliver Platt, Daniel Da Kim, George Segal, John Cho, Emily Bridges and Liam O'Brien. Bonus Features include: "Isao Takahata and His Tale of The Princess Kaguya" - 86-minute documentary on the making of The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, Announcement of the Completion of the Film, Japanese Trailers & TV Spots and US Trailers.

The film has received a 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and has won several awards, including Best Animated Feature awards at the Toronto Film Critics Association, 40th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, 35th Boston Society of Critics Awards, 36th Mill Valley Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, 8th Asia Pacific Screen Award and the 68th Mainichi Film Awards. It has been nominated for Best Animated Feature Film for the 87th Academy Awards.

Based on the Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya tells the story about a bamboo cutter Sanuki no Miyatsuko (voiced by James Caan), who discovers a miniature girl inside of a glowing bamboo. He brings the girl home to his wife, Ona (voiced by Mary Steenburgen), and names her "Princess." They are shocked when the miniature girl magically turns into an infant.

As the days pass by, Princess (voiced by  Chole Grace Mortez) grows extremely fast and before long she starts hanging out with the children in the village, whom gives her the name "Takenoko" (Little Bamboo)! She develops a close relationship with her friend Sutemaru.

Her father discovers gold in the same bamboo that he found Princess in and he is convinced that she is royalty. He uses the money to help relocate his family to the Capital. At first Princess loves the idea of living in a mansion, but she quickly longs for her friends, especially Sutemaru (voiced by Darren Criss). A royal priest gives her the official name of "Princess Kaguya."

Life as a princess isn't what she had dreamed it would be and she desperately wants to go back to the mountains, but then something unimaginable happens - Princess remembers who she is, where she is from and where her destiny lies.

Despite the fact that I consider myself a big cartoon fan, I only started watching anime films last year. After reviewing several other Studio Ghibli films, I became interested in reviewing the Oscar nominated The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, which is based on the folklore The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. The animation is a little different than other animes as it has more of a watercolor style to it. Sometimes dubbed voices can feel a bit awkward, but this isn't the case for this film as the American voice cast does an amazing job, especially Chole Grace Mortez as Princess Kaguya. I wasn't familiar with the original folklore the film is based on, so I didn't know what to expect from the film. From the animation to the voices, the film is a beautiful and emotional tale from beginning to end. It is one of the best animated films ever made and I do hope it wins Best Animated Feature Film this Sunday at the Academy Awards.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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