KIKIS DELIVERY SERVICE
(Majo no Takkyubin)
Kiki's Delivery Service is based on a series of Young Adult books by Eiko Kadono, which began with Kiki's Delivery Service/Witchs Delivery Service (1985) and consists of a further five follow-ups between then and 2009. The same books also served as the basis of Hayao Miyazakis anime film Kikis Delivery Service (1989). The Miyazaki film has such a celebrated reputation that it must have been exceedingly daunting for Takashi Shimizu to come along and essentially create a live-action remake.
I had problems with Takashi Shimizus version of Kiki's Delivery Service. One of the biggest of the biggest of these is not actually the films fault. Rather it was that the film was not a success or widely available and so the only copy I was able to find to watch was one that had been dubbed into Russian. This necessitated importing a set of subtitles that were intended to translate it to English from the Japanese. Listening to the entire film seemingly narrated by the same two male and female voices is not a process recommended to improve your sanity.
The Miyazaki version of Kiki's Delivery Service soars with a magical emotional uplift. Miyazaki is a master of genteel tenderness. You feel heartbreak when Kiki starts to lose her powers and the ability to talk to Jiji. The live-action version pales by comparison. It is a banal, cute film that is pitched down to a young audience, which is never something you could say about the Miyazaki version. Miyazaki created a beautiful painterly village as surrounds (which he had based on a trip to Sweden); Shimizu creates a cartoony unreal village that looks more like a childrens theme park. Miyazaki crafted things with a sweetness and tenderness; this is a film featuring kids engaged in slapstick races through the village after stealing Kikis broom.
Trailer here (no English subs):-