11 February 2006

Grave of the Fireflies

You know when a movie starts with one of the main characters dying and seeing a mirage of his dead sister, it really can't end happily. Regardless, I enjoyed the movie "Grave of the Fireflies" by director Isao Takahata. Netflix recommended this one to me too, and after seeing that it won Best Animated Feature at the 1994 Chicago International Children's Film Festival, I knew it was worth a watch.

As I said, this isn't a fuzzy warm feeling movie, so if you want something to watch for giggles some friday night, this isn't it. Grave of the Fireflies takes place in mid- WWII Japan, where Setsuko and his sister Seita are struggling to survive amongst the air raids, lack of food and stingy relatives after their mother dies and their father disappears off to war. This is no story of triumph as you can tell from the introduction of the movie that both of the characters die. This is a story of pure struggle, and illustrates the frightening condition of Japan during World War II in vivid detail.

"Grave" actually reminds me a lot of "Life is Beautiful" (La Vita e Bella) by Roberto Benigni. Even the remedy of the war being over cannot save some people from a cruel death...

As for visual experience, the animation was surprisingly good, detailed, and moving. The music wasn't anything particularly special but complimented the movie well. The plot was engaging (I wanted to yell out to the characters a few times), and the characters themselves were convincing and vibrant. Definitely an "A" overall to "Grave of the Fireflies". Worth a watch, especially if you're into World War II stories.

Plotline: Excellent
Characters: Very Good
Music: Good
Animation: Very Good


Blogger Chelsea said...

Agreed. I was home sick one day and saw that my sister had this movie, so I decided to watch it thinking "Oh it'll make the day go by faster." Fast forward to the end credits and I'm laying in bed sobbing. It was very well made, though.

4:19 PM  

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