Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022: The Secret World of Arrietty (2012) by Starry Traveler’s Road

Welcome back to Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022 as we continue with the second week of entries. Today’s guest is one of my own childhood friends who has slowed down on her blogging recently but always drops by with a review for the blogathon every year. Her blog, Starry Traveler’s Road now focuses on her every day things from opinions on certain societal things in Montreal to her crafts and other mom adventures and even shared some of her jewelry making progress.

This year she shares a review on The Secret World of Arrietty, a Studio Ghibli film. Remember to head over to check our her blog!


Review: The Secret World of Arrietty (2012)

Despite all the chaos going through our lives, Bun Bun and I are back with a movie review! It was refreshing to just spend time together to reconnect. It is also fun to continue our yearly tradition especially she is now in first grade and understand the world a bit more. HUGE thank you to Kim and Drew for hosting us for the Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022!

The summary as written on IMDb (https://m.imdb.com/title/tt1568921/

Fourteen-year-old Arrietty (Bridgit Mendler, Saoirse Ronan, and Mirai Shida) and the rest of the Clock family live in peaceful anonymity as they make their own home from items that they borrow from the house’s human inhabitants. However, life changes for the Clocks when a human boy discovers Arrietty.

Let me start by saying this movie is an adaptation of Mary Norton’s The Borrowers which is still on my book list. We watched the original Japanese movie (2010) with English caption. I took the time to read every line as we go since none of us understand Japanese and Bun Bun can only recognize sight words. We watched it over two evenings as we started on a Sunday and she had school the next day. It was a bit difficult to determine where is the best place to stop if you cannot sit through the whole movie. On Monday night, we watched the rest of the movie.

I am very proud to say that this is the FIRST movie that Bun and I saw without her running away to hide when things got scary (she did not like the housekeeper). She cried a bit when the characters had to say goodbye. From what she told me, she really liked Arrietty due to her personality and flowery bedroom along with the cat whose appearance reminded her of the cat bus in My Neighbor Totoro. Bun Bun did say that she would like to watch it again someday which tells me she did enjoy it as not many movies get on her “let’s rewatch” list.

As for me, I enjoyed the movie and hope to eventually find time to read the book soon (Bun is not huge on bedtime stories. Or else, I would read to her and use it as an opportunity to discuss the difference between movie and book). It was interesting for me to finally notice a pattern on how some male characters and female villains are portrayed in movies from Ghibli Studio.

I liked the dynamic between Arrietty and Shawn (Sho in Japanese), the male character, especially how they cared for one another. The graphics and music are great by Ghibli standards too!

This is it for Bun Bun and my movie review! We hope you enjoyed it!


A huge thanks to Phoebe for dropping by with a review of The Secret World of Arrietty!

Head over to Drew’s Movie Reviews for the last guest entry for the blogathon!

See the full list of the blogathon updated daily HERE.

Ultimate Decades Blogathon Kick-off: Spirited Away (2001)

Welcome to the sixth annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon..well, the part 2 of it. Yesterday, my fantastic co-host Drew kicked off the Ultimate Decades Blogathon with his kick-off review of Bridesmaids. Today, its my turn to share my first pick as we kick off this blogathon with a slightly new format working with the decades ending in a different digit than an entire decade. As the first one, it suitably starts with years ending in 1. There’s a lot to look forward to for the upcoming entries.

First, let’s get this part 2 released as I share my review of Studio Ghibli’s 2001 Academy Award winning animated film, Spirited Away.

Spirited Away (2001)

Director (and writer): Hayao Miyazaki

Voice Cast (English Dub): Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Suzanne Pleshette, David Ogden Stiers, Susan Egan, Paul Eiding, John Ratzenberger, Bob Bergen, Tara Strong, Rodger Bumpass

During her family’s move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts. – IMDB

After much consideration, Spirited Away is an animated movie well worth a mention as it is the movie held onto the highest grossing film in Japan until 2020. It also won the Academy Awards as the only non-English and first handdrawn animation to win the Best Animated Feature award. For someone like myself that grew up with Hayo Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, it almost feels like the movie that acted as the perfect stepping stone for the world, especially those unfamiliar with anime, to finally get to know Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki.

There’s a lot to love about Spirited Away. It really does embody a lot of the trademarks and drawing style of Hayao Miyazaki as all the characters are drawn in a familiar way especially when it comes to the old lady roles, they always feel fairly similar to each other. Spirited Away is about a little girl who wanders into a world of spirits and basically goes on an adventure to rescue her parents and escape this world. This world can be mistakenly wandered in during the day but at night, the river floods the path and what they thought was an amusement park turned out to be something completely different. With a huge bathhouse as the main building and streets with stall after stall of food that spirits busily chomp away along with the colorful and odd world of the interior of the bathhouse from its boiler room to the bathhouse rooms and the big boss’s headquarters plus so much more, Spirited Away is a beautifully constructed world with so much to explore that offers a glimpse at the fantasy imagination and creativity that Hayao Miyazaki has to offer. As we follow Chihiro (or later known as Sen) go through the building looking for the job, there’s a sense of how big this world is which makes it rather impressive plus the clientele of the bathhouse are unique types of spirits.

There is an array of interesting little creatures and spirits to meet and a story that actually surfaces later on as a little twist. There’s no doubt that other than the story itself, the characters are a real star here whether its Chihiro who has to remember her name after she turns into Sen in this world or the witch Yubaba that runs this bathhouse right down to Kamaji in the boiler room and Sen’s friend Lin who works with her and especially Haku, a dragon that is Yubaba’s henchman. No Miyazaki film’s fantasy world is without its fair share of odd creatures whether its a giant baby or heads hopping around right down to another form of soot monsters (we saw them first in 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro) and so much more. Plus, the spirits themselves also have some interesting encounters that design especially for the two big parts with the Stink Spirit and another spirit No-Face who grows to have a liking for Sen.

Paired up with Joe Hisaishi’s music, Spirited Away is definitely a fun little adventure. Fantasy, magic, spirits all wrapped up into one. What makes it stand out is not only the colorful art and design and world building but the characters that they meet. While the bathhouse is a starting spot and has its own story as a foundation but the story that stems from there also adds a sense of mystery. Is it the best Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli film out there? That’s definitely debatable however, it is the movie that takes the first step for the world to know this amazing film studio with an creative director Hayao Miyazaki.

For further reading, you can check out my list ranking of Hayao Miyazaki’s work HERE.

That’s it for the kick-off post! Tomorrow we start off over at Drew’s Movie Reviews with the first guest entry. For the full list of entries, updated daily during the blogathon, you can find it HERE.

Sunday Lists: Hayao Miyazaki, Directed Films Ranked

Hayao Miyazaki List

January 5th marked the 78th birthday of one of the best Japanese animator and filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki. I don’t watch a lot of Japanese stuff in general but I grew up with Studio Ghibli films so some of these hold very close to my heart. There is this fantastic magical and fantasy world that he manages to create.

With that said, there is no better way than to kick off this year’s first Sunday Lists with a list of Hayao Miyazaki’s Directed Films ranked from what I think is the best to the the not so great ones, because lets be honest, there is no worst. Even the last choice here wasn’t a bad film just didn’t execute as well as the others or connect as well with me.

There are a few films not seen yet. The list will be updated over time.

*Only full feature animated films DIRECTED by Hayao Miyazaki has been included here*

1. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

my neighbor totoro

My first Miyazaki film in my memory is My Neighbor Totoro and it has never stopped being my favorite. I know the movie almost by heart, the Cantonese dubbed version dialogue almost all memorized. Its about family and its charming. The little girls are adorable and the Totoro super cute. There are some heartwarming moments and some hilarious ones as well. It balances light-hearted and heartbreaking moments. Its cute and serious in equal measures. Plus, how do you beat a CatBus? You just can’t!

2. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

kiki's delivery service

I love cats and witches. Kiki’s Delivery Service is a well-rounded film as well. I remember there was a phase in the early stages when I had some crappy blogging server somewhere that I had used Kiki has my name. Watching this one when I was a kid was a ride for sure. Witches weren’t evil, they were nice and helpful. This one is  fun little trip full of charm whether its the people that Kiki meets on her deliveries or her learning how to be independent.

3. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

howl's moving castle

Howl’s Moving Castle is based on a children’s novel which actually diverts quite far from its source material a fair bit especially when interpreting Howl’s character. However, maybe it has to do with this being the first Miyazaki film that I saw in theatres and the enchantment that comes from the big screen but this is one film that I love watching over and over again. Because of that, this film is filled with charm. It does get a tad dark and scary here and there but its so magical as well.

4. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)


Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind that makes me think about how Miyazaki is quite before his time in story telling as you can see how this film set the bar for his career, whether its the female characters he uses or the world that he creates. At the heart of it all, Nausicaa is about a world that has fallen apart environmentally and Nausicaa is trying to find a way to revive it while at the same time, nature has revolted in an unexpected way and she needs to find a way to solve the mystery of what happened. Its such a beautiful film. The only reason its placed lower is because its one that took me a second or third viewing when I was older to fully appreciate its message and its story.

5. Spirited Away (2001)

spirited away

Spirited Away is what put Miyazaki on the map along with Studio Ghibli. Its quite a feat when we think about it. In fact, there is so much to love here. I like this one a lot also. It has dragons and fantastical creatures and some pretty hilarious moments intertwined with a story about reuniting family, gluttony and life in general. Its colorful and beautiful and there are such charming array of characters wrapped up in this one story.

6. Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)

laputa castle in the sky

I know a lot of people who would put Laputa really high up or even consider this one their favorite Miyazaki film. I don’t disagree with that at all. Laputa: Castle in the Sky is beautiful, especially once we arrive at the castle in the sky and all the events that happen from there on out.  It has a cast of silly bandits and a gentle robot and the castle design itself is so detailed and intricate. The only deal is that I’ve never been prone to watch this one a lot but I always enjoyed it whenever someone puts it on.

7. The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

castle of cagliostro

I saw The Castle of Cagliostro because of a blogathon a few years back when it was looking at a debut of a director. I always thought Miyazaki started out his career with Nausicaa but before the existence of Studio Ghibli, he had created The Castle of Cagliostro adapted/based on the Japanese manga Lupin III. Its crime and comedy mixed together for this film and boy is it an adventure. The debut of Miyazaki is a fine start. There are its flaws with this one in terms of storytelling and pacing but there is still a ton of heart and charm.

8. Porco Rosso (1992) Review


Porco Rosso is a film that never quite caught my attention despite some of my friends enjoying it immensely. Having used it for the Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022, it definitely has the charm and shares the love of planes that Miyazaki has. At the same time, it takes it in a different side of pirates involving seaplanes which adds some uniqueness to the whole story. It does have a decent balance of humor and remains mostly entertaining and there are some little elements that are used later in Miyazaki’s career and discusses a more profound topic of hope in humanity.

9. Ponyo (2008)


Ponyo is something like Miyazaki’s version of The Little Mermaid fairy tale story which takes a little fish girl who becomes human and meets a little boy. Its so adorable and imaginative. It takes this angle of making the creative angle of the tsunami and then links the whole story together. It is actually quite clever.

10. The Wind Rises (2013)

the wind rises

I saw the premiere of The Wind Rises at TIFF a few years back, the same year that Miyazaki announced his retirement in 2013 (of course, now we know that he has decided to not retire and is working on his next film). Putting aside the ridiculous couple next to me who sobbed the entire movie from start to finish who was incredibly annoying, The Wind Rises is a passion project of  Miyazaki’s and you can see it by the subject he chooses to take as he tells the story of World War II engineer who designs the fighter aircraft. His love for aircrafts and his country and his admiration for Jiro Horikoshi is all highly visible in his work. My issue here is that I don’t share the same admiration and for that, the story falls a little short of what I liked. Its not a bad film in any means because the animation, the visuals, the character designs and the music all work well. I just failed to connect with it but that is the risk of making a passion project film.

Not Seen or Can’t Remember

Conan The Future Boy: The Big Giant Robot’s Ressurrection (1984)
Princess Mononoke (1997)

How would you rank Hayao Miyazaki’s film?
Which one of his directed feature films is your fave?

The Random Chat Show: We Laugh, We Cry, and We Get Angry about Manipulative Movies

Check out this week’s podcast for The Random Chat Show. David, Melissa and I talk about a ton of random things and eventually go into a discussion about manipulation in movies.
Hope you enjoy! Happy Saturday!! 🙂

That Moment In.com

Podcast runtime: 30 minutes. This week on the Random Chat Show, Melissa wonders why she can’t play video game characters in different games, David talks about bad sex, and Kim gets us going on movies that are super manipulative, which leads to a heated debate about how Rose denied Jack a chance to live after the Titanic sank. Plus, top three sidekicks! It’s all Random.


View original post

TMI Podcast: The Random Chat Show: The All-Time Greatest Animated Films Ever. Period.

That title! We’re asking for some talk about this one 😉

We’re back with this week’s That Moment In Podcast presenting our segment: The Random Chat Show.  This week we’re talking about animated films. What inspired this? Finding Dory trailer, the upcoming theatrical release of The Good Dinosaur and the already released The Peanuts Movie. We’re going to talk about our impressions of the trailers.  Then, we step back into nostalgia and talk about our Top 3 greatest animated films growing up.  We have a new random segment thrown in the mix and Melissa has a DIY for you.

Enjoy! I promise its tons of fun! 🙂

What are your favorite animated films when you were growing up? Did we talk about a few that you enjoyed? 

Opinion Battles Round 10 Best Anime

Check out Round 10 of Opinion Battles! This time we’re sharing our choice of Best Anime. It seems like Studio Ghibli’s movies are taking a lot of the spots here. My choice is My Neighbor Totoro. Head over there to see the other choices and drop a vote! 🙂

Happy Monday (or Labor Day, if it applies) everyone!

Movie Reviews 101

opinion battles

Best Animé

When it comes to animé we have had some of the most beautiful animated movies of all time, usually coming Japan we have decided to pick the our favourites from the amazing cinema that just doesn’t get the praise or chance in mainstream cinema.

So far we have only ever done Best of films but for the next Opinion battles we are going to pick Worst Sequel, if you want to take part email moviereviews101@yahoo.co.uk by 20th September 2015

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)castle

I have to pick this one because even though I do feel certain films could be more complete films but this one could easily be the most fun I have had watching an animated movie. The action adventure side is so perfect for animation while the comedy is nailed down brilliantly. To further my case for this…

View original post 1,399 more words

Genre Grandeur – Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) – Tranquil Dreams

Check out my entry for April’s Genre Grandeur over at MovieRob’s for the genre, Dystopian movies. My choice, after some thought goes out to the 1984 Miyazaki film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

Having the chance to rewatch any Miyazaki movies is always a joy. This one holds a special place in my heart and this future world is one that sends us an important message possibly even more relevant today about the environment and our world than back in the day when this was released 🙂



For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Dystopian Movies, here’s a review of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) by Kim of  Tranquil Dreams

Thanks again to James of Back to the Viewer for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s Genre has been chosen by S.G. Liput of Rhyme and Reason.  We will be reviewing our favorite fantasy/sci-fi animated movies (non-Disney or Pixar) . Please get me your submissions by 25th May by sending them to animated@movierob.net  Try to think out of the box! Great choice S.G.!

Let’s see what Kim thought of this movie:


nausicaa of the valley of the wind poster

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Voice Cast (English version): Alison Lohman, Patrick Stewart, Shia Lebeouf, Uma Thurman, Edward James Olmos

Over a thousand years has past since the “Seven Days of Fire” has destroyed the world.  Human civilization can now only survive in…

View original post 672 more words

Breaking Emotions Blogathon: Breaking Love

breaking emotions blogathon

Can you believe its already the last set of emotions for Mettel Ray’s Breaking Emotions Blogathon? I can’t! Because that also means its nearing the end of the month.  The fact that I’ve managed to get all of the previous emotions done has actually surprised me.  With all the writing and craziness right now (I’ll fill you in later), its been rather unbelievable in both a good and bad way for this November.

Canada may be done with its Thanksgiving but I heard its the American Thanksgiving so I figured I should stick with only Breaking Love.  Plus, I don’t think I can think up 3 scenes that I truly hate that much.  Maybe anything with Rob Schneider *eye twitches* and I’m not about to go there.  So yes, its Thanksgiving and I’m staying happy and trying to bring some awesomeness to your life too and breaking love.  You can check out the details of that right HERE!  Maybe you’d like to break love too (its a good thing, ok?)

I’m looking for scenes that you love and adore until the end of time, scenes that just pop up in your mind while walking to the store and are just simply awesome. What are the scenes that you love the most?- Mettel Ray

Lets do it! 🙂 I tried to do it in some form of countdown but they kept shifting in my mind so I just gave up!


City of Ember – Opening scene/A Way Out

City of Ember

Following the clues

City of Ember

Is this the way out?

I know that two scenes but I’m horrible at choosing.  I chose 5 movies as is.  Any of these movies, I could’ve easily pulled out 5 scenes and just use it for the blogathon.  City of Ember is fantastic.  Its fun and even though, I’ve watched it so many times I know what happens when, I always sit around mesmerized by the beauty and detail of the city, the hunt for clues and just the sweet, sweet happiness in discovering a way out.  I love the scene of when they think its just darkness outside but then they see their first sunrise.  Its about those small things in life that we take for granted.  I love it: the excitement, the adventure and staying hopeful. I actually reviewed this movie earlier today so you can check it out HERE if you’d like! 🙂

Howl’s Moving Castle – Meeting Howl

I’ve seen almost all of the Miyazaki flicks.  I had to put on something animated because that defines me: Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, especially Studio Ghibli. Thats why it won over choosing a scene I love from Disney.  Miyazaki is an amazing director and storyteller. His animation is close to flawless and to me, the first time I saw a Studio Ghibli movie on the big screen was Howl’s Moving Castle.  Sophie meeting Howl was possibly one of the best scenes when he takes her for the first time on a walk on the sky to escape.  Christian Bale has a sexy voice, ok? Made it even better.  Plus, I personally remember whispering to my best friend in the theatre that if only there was such a handsome man in real life. It was enchanting and magical, a great start for an even more awesome movie. And you thought I would pick My Neighbor Totoro, eh? 😉

Hugo – What is Your Purpose?

I’ve heard that Hugo has a lot of dispute as to how many people like it or not. I loved the movie from start to the finish.  The score was awesome, the adaptation was beautiful and Asa Butterfield is a young talented actor or carried his role really well.  Plus, it actually gives justice to the book itself that it was adapted from.  Why did I pick this scene? It was a no brainer.  I love the quote.  I love the situation that it was said and the meaning behind it all.  It brings a deeper hopeful meaning to finding the purpose of our life.  That quote pops in my head whenever I feel like my life is going nowhere.  I can’t be a spare part, right? DEFINITELY! 🙂

Step Up 3D – Moose dance sequences

I hope the videos work since there wasn’t any embed link.  Step Up franchise is awesome not because Channing Tatum and his current wife in my book.  Ok, ok, I admit that Channing does have a nice bod but then I would’ve picked Magic Mike. Just saying… The first Step Up was possibly the best in script and inspirational.  However, for me, my love and repeated viewings goes to watching Moose (Adam Sevani) on screen. His dance sequences lights up the Step Up flick (and franchise) and seeing as he is one of the main characters in Step 3D, it seems appropriate to choose it.  I have probably 4 other dance flicks I could’ve chosen but for me, this one really is awesome! Love it to bits 🙂

Pride and Prejudice – Bewitched

Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite movies. I probably watch it at least 4 times a year.  I think I’m actually due to watch it soon.  This is a super romantic scene and its set so nice with the sun blazing in and just makes me all giddy and joyful.  I’m a romantic, and a hopeless one at that. I seriously thought about doing this whole post with this movie but then I’d think, I’d just overdose you all.  So yes,  “you have bewitched me body and soul” equals my love for this scene.

There you go! Scenes I love aren’t necessarily the best movies in the world but they do merit my love for different reasons. It warms my heart, relaxes my body or charges up my energy.  Whichever it is, I’ve watched them tons of time.  These are just the ones I found came to me first but as I wrote this I have about 15 other scenes to put in. Tough choices…

What are scenes that you love? Ones that you love so much that you’d never get sick of it or those that your mind thinks about randomly?

Thank you to Mettel Ray for hosting an amazing and awesome Breaking Emotions blogathon! I loved it! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! 🙂

Debuts Blogathon: Hayao Miyazaki – Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

I had the fantastic opportunity of being part of the Debuts Blogathon hosted by Christ at Terry Malloy’s Pigeon Coop and Mark at Three Rows Back. Its about picking the first film of a director and looking at how they have evolved as a director compared to the films afterwards. My obvious choice was Hayao Miyazaki‘s Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro.

Have a read and hope you enjoy it 🙂 Remember to check out both of their blogs and read the other blogathon entries!

Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop


Today’s post in the Debuts Blogathon, hosted by myself and Three Rows Back, comes from Kim at Tranquil Dreams. Kim’s blog covers a wide variety of stuff, not just films, which makes it a really excellent, eclectic read. Here she’s tackling the legendary Hayao Miyazaki and his debut feature, Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro…


Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

Hayao Miyazaki`s debut Lupin the Third:The Castle of Cagliostro was the only movie that was not affiliated with Studio Ghibli however, it was good enough to get him involved with bigger project. The Castle of Cagliostro is about Lupin, a 3rd generation thief that encounters with his partner a pursuit of a girl that they end up saving and losing again.  However, she leaves behind a ring with a goal symbol on it that Lupin recognizes associated with the Castle of Cagliostro…

View original post 874 more words

Part 1: Animated Halloween Movie Marathon

Welcome all to October! I know that I’ve already done a few posts already but let me welcome you to the official start of Halloween month.  Sure, I can’t go out for trick or treating anymore but I do go to Halloween parties and my brain is frantically looking for my next costume…although I have a few ideas, its how to put it together cost efficiently that going to be hard.  Our party topic this year is Famous Characters.  Any suggestions?

Its the first time I’m putting a theme to a month, but I thought it would be cool to get some extras going on here other than the challenges and random reviews.  Remember when I did Top 10 Romantic Comedies for Valentine’s  Well, we’re getting more of that, but Halloween version.  This time, I have a bit (just a bit!) more time to research and plan, I’m going to do this in 3 parts.

I was going to do the hardcore, straight up horror movies first but seeing as this weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada, I decided otherwise.  I’m going to choose something more family-oriented. Its going to be on my Animated/Children Halloween Movie Marathon.  I haven’t had time to really rewatch all the movies.  I really tried though!  I’m doing this in a realistic way, where its just movies that I own up to now.  As it was a sudden decision to do 3 parts, I’ve been binge watching this list, just so the reviews are a bit more accurate.

So lets go! (They are in no particular order of preference but the order in how I had watched them)


1) Garfield’s Halloween Adventure (1985)

Who doesn’t love the lasagna-eating lazy orange feline?  I sure do, even though I’m in my twenties now, I still love him.  Garfield was one of the first comics that I ever read and I think that I actually watched most of it.  It was also his holiday movie collection that I had replaced on DVD first.

This movie was around 20ish minutes and its suitable for kids. Its right at the core of Trick or Treating.  We have a gentle mix of candies, ghosts and light-hearted fun, kind of jazzy music at times.  I don’t know what happened to cartoons but I sure miss Garfield.  C’mon, as much as Garfield picks on Odie, he’s still the cutest, sweetest dog and always Garfield’s best friend.  These cartoons are fun and easy to watch.  At the same time, its simple and quick.  Perfect for children and family watching and exactly the reason why it was the first one I picked out of my movie collection to start off Halloween month.

2) KiKi’s Delivery Service (1989)

As much as this isn’t about Halloween, the main girl is a witch so it qualifies.  We all need to find more time to watch Studio Ghibli movies, right? I think so!

The story is about a 13 year old witch called KiKi who goes into obligatory independent training for one year.  As she learns to take care of herself, she shows her adventures, good and difficult times, as she makes her living with her delivery services.  With her, she has her black cat to accompany her.  Its a fun movie with charismatic characters, nice plot and beautiful animation.  To match it all up, Miyazaki productions always beautiful background music.  Overall, its a  heartwarming coming of age story.

“We each need to find our own inspiration, Kiki. Sometimes it’s not easy.”- Kiki’s Delivery Service

3) Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

Disney is entering the house! Yeah! This movie is a wild animation ride as its a Mary Poppins-like type of movie where its with humans along with animated characters.  Talk about imagination.  I’m not sure how many people out there know about this one.  I only picked this up last year sometime around Halloween.  This is how the story goes: Its set during the World War II in England and the children in London are evacuated to the country.  Three children, Charlie, Carrie and Paul, are assigned into a house with a woman called Miss Price, to learn eventually that she is an apprentice witch.  Together, with a conman, they go off on a enchanted flying bed to look for an ingredient in a faraway place for a spell that could save the country.

Its a fun imaginative ride filled with some songs.  David Tomlinson is also in this one.  For those who don’t know, he was the one who played Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins. I loved him in that role.  This one is quite different but he just plays a more sly, free-spirited man.  The witch is played by Angela Lansbury, who we know in another more recent Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, doing the voice of Mrs. Potts.

4) Casper (1995)

This is one of the newer additions to my movie collection.  You don’t want to see how I reacted when I saw it on the store shelf.  I LOVE this movie when I was young.  I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t like it as much, but turns out it hasn’t changed that much in my mind.  This movie, like the Bedknobs and Broomsticks is also mix of human and animated characters.  The story is different though.  A paranormal expert, Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman) and his daughter Kat (Christina Ricci) are hired by Carrigan, the successor of a mansion, to get rid of ghosts that have been living/haunting it.  Carrigan hires them because she needs to evade the ghosts to find the hidden treasure. While at the house, Dr. Harvey and Kat meet 4 ghosts.  One is Casper, the friendly ghost and the other 3 are Casper’s mischievious uncles, Stretch, Stinkie and Fatso.  Its how their stories unfold with Dr. Harvey trying to help send back the ghosts, Carrigan trying to get her treasure and Casper trying to just make a friend with Kat.  Its a mix of humor and fun times.  Its an alright animation but does fit into Halloween perfectly.

5) Hocus Pocus (1993)

This movie starts off three centruies ago where a town who hung the Sanderson sisters, 3 witches who killed a little girl.  These witches left the world with a curse that a virgin that lights the black flame candle  will wake them from the dead  Flash forward to 1993, we meet Max and his sister Dani who are new to town.  On Halloween night when Max takes Dani to go trick or treating, he meet up with Max’s classmate Allison, and ends up visiting the ancient house of the 3 witches, which is ta museum.  There Max lights the black flame candle and in turn, wakes the sisters.  So starts the hunt by the witches to get back the spell book that they stole, so that they can whip up the potion that will give them eternal life instead of just revived for one night.

This movie is one of my favorites Halloween movies.  Thats because its hilarious and an exciting adventure.  The oldest of the sisters, Winifred is played by Bette Midler and she is one of my favorite actresses.  I just think she’s amazingly funny.  The other sister, Sarah, is played by Sarah Jessica Parker who does the whole dumb blonde role but does it rather decently.

6) The Black Cauldron (1985)

I had to put a Disney in.  I could choose The Nightmare Before Christmas but I watch that as part of my Christmas marathon (is it weird to do that?).  So I chose The Black Cauldron.  This animation is about young boy called Taran, who is an assistant pig keeper.  This pig, Hen-Wen holds secret powers where he can reveal what others don’t know.  The Horned King is trying to take over the land as they speak and they find out that the Horned King is looking for the Black Cauldron, which is a Cauldron possessed by demonic spirits and if unleashed, will be capable of evil things in the world.  Taran is then sent to hide Hen Wen so that the Horned King does not find out through her where the Cauldron is.  Its here we embark on an adventure and Taran is joined by a dog Gurgi, a princess Eilonwy and a ministrel called Fflewddur Fflam.

I always felt that Halloween should be filled with fantasy and magic so this fit right in there.  Its a fun little adventure.  I don’t think a lot of people actually enjoy it but just a fun fact, I learned that Tim Burton actually had originally designed some characters for this animation which was later turned down.  At the Tim Burton exhibit, we had the opportunity to see some of those drawings and designs and it was pretty awesome stuff.  Too bad it wasn’t added in.

7) Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

The next little TV classic that I watched was Charlie Brown.  Its about 20 minutes long about Linus’ belief in the Great Pumpkin and how it rises from the pumpkin patch.  The Great Pumpkin chooses a pumpkin patch to visit every Halloween.  It will choose the most sincere one.  No one else believes him and decides to go Trick or Treat and afterwards, to go to Violet’s party.  Snoopy, of course, dresses up as well and uses his fantastic imagination.  Its a cute, short animation joined with little laughs from all the Peanuts characters: Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Sally, Linus, Schroeder, Pigpen, etc.

I love Peanuts movies.  Even though they are short but just like Garfield, its hard to replace their value in my heart.  I think its just getting older is making me more and more nostalgic? I don’t know but I’m enjoyed it thoroughly and I’m sure that others will also.

8) The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

Another Disney classic based on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow using the characters of The Wind in the Willows.  I think the last time I watched this one was on the Disney program showing Disney movies every Sunday afternoon/evening about 15 years ago or so.  For those unfamiliar of the Wind in the Willows characters, we have Mr. Toad with his friends Rat (a water rat), Mole and Angus MacBadger (a badger).  We start where MacBadger calls in Rat and Mole because Mr. Toad with his horse is destructing property all over the place and he needs them to help stop him.  Thats just the start of the adventures we are to join into.  After Mr. Toad’s adventures, we get introduced to Ichabod Crane in a second story and his wish to capture a girl’s heart and the Headless Horseman’s appearance.

This is a classic and one very much worth watching.  It has nice dialogue and its entertaining to watch, the animation is pretty nice and there is very nice music to match the story itself.  Definitely worthy as a Halloween watch (or any watch for that matter).

9) Corpse Bride (2005)

Had enough of classics yet? We’re finally in the 21st century! Corpse Bride is a Tim Burton movie paired with the voices of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Emily Watson.  To me, this one is more fitting than Nightmare Before Christmas.  As usual, it has a darker tone than other animations.  I love Tim Burton and equally love both Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.  So you can imagine that its a complete pleasure to watch this one.  Its a mix of fantasy and musical.

The story of the Corpse Bride starts with Victor (Johnny Depp) who is to wed a young lady called Victoria (Emma Watson) and goes into the forest to recite his wedding vows.  He chooses right above the grave of a dead bride, the Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham Carter) and put a ring on her “finger”.  The Corpse Bride assumes this as the final marriage and considers him as her husband.  She takes him to the underworld where we meet the funny dead characters from skeletons.  How does he get out of this?  Will he be able to go back to marry Victoria?

Its definitely a good choice even though it may not be Tim Burton’s best work.  It has its mix of skeletons, maggots, corpses and the meeting of the dead and human relationship.

10) Coraline (2009)

I’m saving the best for the last.  I LOVE this animation. I can’t imagine how much I love I can express.  I saw this at home with my best friend and even for her, she was a bit shocked at how creepy it got.  Does it suit completely for children? I’m not completely sure but it has parts where its enjoyable enough that its for at least adolescents.  The animation and the story was just captivating, simply captivating.  The characters and the voices were fantastic.  The only two people I knew for the voices was Dakota Fanning, who did Coraline and Teri Hatcher, who plays her mother/Other Mother.

The story is one thats really creepy.  It starts out with Coraline who moves into a new neighborhood.  She is generally neglected by her parents who are both writers and don’t spend too much time on the family part.  She wanders off and meets Wybert and also a mysterious cat.  One day as she’s exploring the house, she finds a secret door.  Later on at night, she crawls through it and enters another realm with her dream family.  The Other Mother takes especially good care of her and cooks her wonderful food, while her Other Father is a pianist and treats her like a treasure.  What happens after you will see for yourself if you haven’t seen it yet.  This movie is very captivating.  It keeps you wanting to know more.  Its also accompanied by a lot of charming characters as her neighbors in the same building.  Upstairs she has a man called Mr. Bobinsky and downstairs, two elder women who used to be stars called Miss Spinks and Miss Forcible.  They pack in a good few laughs to liven up the darker tone sometimes.

There you have it, my movie marathon for animated/family movie marathon.  I actually started watching it after work on Wednesday and finished up tonight.  Its so that I can give you all a nice review and more accurate description and my sentiments about it.  This list originally only had 8 movies but since today I crossed the border to the States and visited Plattsburgh with some friends for a while and found some good movie deals, I managed to add in Charlie Brown and Ichabod Crane.

Hope you enjoy it and if you get the chance, check these out! They are some fun movies.  Not all of them are top of the line but it works for the holidays.  Some pack in some good laughs, some are a bit darker, some adventurous and a few of them are classics.  Definitely worth your time.

How about you? Do you do any family-oriented movies? Would you change some of my movies? Any that you’d suggest?

As for the next part, it will be up by next weekend, so remember to come back if you enjoyed this one! I’m going to build it up a bit and turn up the intensity.

To my fellow Canadian friends reading, Happy Thanksgiving!