14 May 21
Richard E. Grant, Kacey Musgraves, Dan Stevens, Taylor Paige Henderson
Over the last four decades, Japan's Studio Ghibli has brought us such animated wonders as My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away. With its latest feature film, though, the internationally revered powerhouse is striking out into new and uncharted territory.
Up until now, Ghibli has been synonymous with meticulously hand-drawn, 2D animation. For Earwig And The Witch, however, the studio moves for the first time into computer-generated, 3D animation – a bold and in some ways revolutionary development for a studio whose output has accrued a passionate and dedicated fan base around the world.
The good news for Ghibli fans is that Earwig And The Witch – based, like Howl's Moving Castle before it, on a novel by English author Diana Wynne Jones – has all the invention, fantasy and humour one associates with the studio's movies. Allied to that, though, is an additional layer of technical sophistication that will have the likes of Pixar and Dreamworks looking nervously over their shoulders.
At its heart is the eponymous Earwig (Taylor Paige Henderson), a mischievous orphan who is less than thrilled when she is taken in by a selfish witch and her mysterious companion, The Mandrake (Richard E. Grant). On learning she is to be little more than a skivvy, our plucky heroine teams up with a talking cat (Dan Stevens) to cast some spells herself – which will hopefully help her discover what happened to her missing musician mother (Kacey Musgraves).
From its pulse-pounding opening car chase to its heartwarming conclusion, Earwig And The Witch delivers everything you want from a Ghibli picture and a whole lot more. Prepare to be spirited away all over again.
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