KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE
Written by Jason Flick
March 17, 2010
For the past week, I have had the opportunity to review four films by legendary Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki. As I round up my reviews of his works I leave one of my personal favorites, Kikiís Delivery Service, for last. This was the second Miyazaki film that I ever saw growing up easily fell in love with its country girl to the big city charm. But more importantly the Kikiís Delivery Service 2-Disc Special Edition DVD is a film that shows that if you want to succeed in anything that you must first believe in yourself.
Kikiís Delivery Service tells the story of Kiki a 13 year old witch in training and her journey to become a great witch. An old family custom dictates that all witches-in-training must spend a year away from home to practice their trade. This is a film not only about Kikiís quest to find a skill that she is good at but also her journey into womanhood. Kiki finds a large costal city and quickly finds that she may not have found the right place to start her journey. But her luck soon changes as a friendly act gives way to the start of an air delivery service based out of her new friend Osonoís bakery.
After settling in Kiki makes friends with artistic Ursula and adventurous though rather overly curious Tombo. As time goes on the young witch-in-training realizes that while she loves to fly, it isnít really fun anymore as she makes several tough deliveries. On top of her delivery work Kiki tries to fit in with Tombo and his friends especially when she is invited to the aviation club that Tombo is a part of. For a girl that is growing into a women this also an important time in her life where boys come into the picture. Miyazaki touches upon this briefly within the film when Osono sort of tricks Kiki into delivering something to Tombo.
The main message of the film is simple summed up by John Lasseterís words. That if you believe in yourself then you can do anything that you put your mind to. This is a lesson that Kiki must learn as something unfortunate happens to her very way of life. It will take help from her friends and a dangerous event to set her straight again.
Of the three films released alongside Ponyo this is my person favorite. A lot of this has to do with Miyazakiís ability to create fantastic stories. Though this film wasnít originally Miyazakiís own due to complications he did a remarkable job taking over and creating this masterpiece. The real-life locations that he used are delightfully mixed together to create a new and exciting world. I also like the way that Miyazaki modeled Kiki after the producers own daughter. The characters are lovable and among my favorite.
Kikiís Delivery Service is the newest of the three films released and the picture quality shows in this 1.85:1 widescreen presentation. There isnít as much film grain that you normally see when older films are transferred to DVD. The characters are well designed in classic Miyazaki style and the colors are vivid and lush. As I mentioned above did the director did a great job blending cities such as Stockholm, Visby and San Francisco. The way he took some of the best parts of each and created a whole new place is fantastic. I also like the artwork that Ursula does in the film particularly the large canvas painting. I honestly wouldnít mind having that hanging up in my living room.
Kikiís Delivery Service features a mixture of music ranging from calm melodies to the upbeat jazz pop heard in the opening credits presented in remastered English Dolby Digital Surround Sound. I really like the filmís various cultural themes throughout the film that are beautifully created by Joe Hisaishi as well. The movie not only features wonderful music and great sound effects but a good voice cast. This film features a young Kirsten Dunst and Matthew Lawrence as well as Debbie Reynolds, Janeane Garofalo and the last Phil Hartman. I really liked Kirsten and Philís performances in this film and I think they played well off each other. Like the previous Miyazaki films that I reviewed you can listen to Kikiís Delivery Service in its original presentation, which is exceptional as well.
The Kikiís Delivery Service 2-Disc Special Edition DVD contains numerous special features including a look into how the film came to be, his inspiration for the story and the real life locations that came to be what you see in the film. Included on the second disc is a look at The World of Ghibli. Here you can see the work that went into other Miyazaki films. This is a rare look into one of the finest animation studios in the world and should not be missed. Each copy of Kikiís Delivery Service 2-Disc Special Edition DVD comes with a collectible lithograph that features the box art for the film.
Kikiís Delivery Service is one of my favorite Miyazaki films. It has memorable characters, a great story and I love the varied architecture that you see in the film. But more importantly I like the message that this film contains. We can do anything if we set our hearts to it and believe in ourselves. This is the only way people like Miyazaki and Lasseter got to where they did. You can pick up the Kikiís Delivery Service 2-Disc Special Edition DVD for around $20 dollars at most retailers. If youíve never seen a Miyazaki film or even if you have then you should pick this film up as soon as possible.