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(The Disneycember logo is shown, before briefly showing clips from My Neighbor Totoro, before now showing clips from Kiki's Delivery Service)

Doug (vo): Everybody's gonna have a film that just connects with them for some reason they can't entirely explain. For many, that movie was My Neighbor Totoro. For me, it's Kiki's Delivery Service. In a sense, they're very similar, not a lot of story, not a lot of action, just sort of a laid back setup with a touch of the supernatural. But for some reason, this really grabbed me and hooked me a lot more than My Neighbor Totoro did, and that's especially impressive when you're given the age that I saw it. I was a junior in high school when I first saw this, and I didn't want to see any of this prissy stuff. "What? A little witch with a big bow flying around, not casting spells, but instead, delivering bread to people? Oh, come on! Give her a machine gun or something. I'm a stupid high schooler! That's what I want to see!" But even with that prejudice going in, I saw this on TV and...surprisingly kept watching it. Even for as cutesy and simple as it was, something about it just really drew me into it, to a point where at the end, I found myself really loving it.

StoryEdit

Doug (vo): The story centers around Kiki, of course, played by Kirsten Dunst. She's excited because she's at the age where witches can set off on their own and try to find their own identity. They leave the family, find a place to live, and try to see if they can work in the real world. She flies to a town far away, where she eventually gets a job as a delivery girl. Accompanied by her snarky cat, voiced by Phil Hartman, the movie just follows her around as she does sort of typical girly things: make deliveries, chat it up with friends, talk about boys, all that good stuff.

ReviewEdit

Doug (vo): And once again, that's kind of all there is to it, just watching the simple life of this little witch. I really love how Miyazaki's worlds are just so accepting of these fantastic supernatural elements. They just live in a world where witches are normal. "Okay, whatever. There's a witch flying around. Hi, how are you doing?" But at the same time, they still ask her questions and want to know things about her. It gives a very clear understanding of how they're accepted into this world.

[The film's characters are shown]

Doug (vo): Kirsten Dunst is absolutely perfect as Kiki. It never feels forced, it never feels like she's playing the role too young or too old, it seems like the perfect age. All the side actors are great, too. The only one I might have an issue with is Phil Hartman as the cat. I don't know, it's not bad, but there's always something about his cynical sense of humor where you're not sure if he's really taking the role seriously or not. A lot of people can find that even funnier, but I don't know. Sometimes, it seems a touch off-putting to me, but then again, that's also kind of the character, so I'm up in the air about it, but it doesn't distract too much for me. I can see how people would enjoy him.

Jiji the Cat: Your room is nice, but let's take your mother's.

Kiki: You're no help.

[The climax is shown]

Doug (vo): If I did have a problem, it's, once again, kind of like My Neighbor Totoro, there's kind of a forced climax at the end. This one's even bigger than My Neighbor Totoro, because it's, like, this great big action scene. And on the one hand, yeah, you have a character that can fly around. It kind of makes sense to do something a little action-oriented, but it just kind of comes out of the blue. It's kind of different from the rest of the feel of the movie and, I don't know. It's not bad, I guess. I just sort of feel like, "Couldn't you have cut that out and leave sort of the very low-key tone alone?" But then again, doesn't every movie kind of need an ending and a third act to build some conflict and drama? I don't know. There must have been some other way to do this. It's not terrible, it's just a touch unfitting.

[Clips mostly focusing on the flying scenes are shown]

Doug (vo): But the rest of the film, like I said, is just enjoying the very simple, but likable, life of this little girl. You get to know the town, you get to know the neighbors and the side characters and, of course, she gets to fly around. And the flying shots are wonderful. I don't know what it is, but something about the way Japanese animation does flying scenes, they're very well done. There's not even any CG used here, and yet, somehow, you really feel like she's in the air. Something about the angles and the movement they get, I'm not sure what the magic formula is, but they got it nailed. Somehow, they animate it so that you feel the weight of the character that's actually flying, and I don't know how you do that, but they found a way. Look at how she drops here. You feel the gravity in that scene.

[Various clips resume showing]

Doug (vo): Like I said, I'm not entirely sure why I like this one more than My Neighbor Totoro, but something about it really did grab me. Maybe it's because she does explore a little bit more, and she does have to travel. But at the same time, you get an idea about how this world works and how people accept witches and...yeah, you almost kind of want to live in this world. It seems so simple and relaxed that you really enjoy being there. You kind of want to sit with this artist and talk about what she's painting, you kind of want to help this old lady bake something for her granddaughter's birthday, and you really get bummed out when the daughter actually doesn't like the thing that she bakes. You're just like, "Come on, you spoiled little brat! What's wrong with you? She worked really hard for that! You ungrateful little bitch!" [Sighs] You see what I mean? Somehow, I get really wrapped up in these tiny little problems that's going on in this town and with this one girl, but, screw it! I'm with her! It's like just sitting through a little bit of real life, and yet, somehow, with this supernatural character. It's such a weird combo, but for whatever reason, it really works. I can't even think of any other words to describe it except...delightful. It's just friggin' delightful. I love being with these people, I love being in this town, I love flying around it, and I liked seeing it from the point of view of this wide-eyed adventurous innocent. She's just friggin' adorable. I love it when she gets a package delivered, I love it when she gives that one chef a hug for making that little delivery sign out of bread, I love it when she laughs when they almost got killed riding that weird fan-bike thing with that weird inventor boy, and, just...I can't help it! It's just irresistible!

Final thoughtEdit

Doug (vo): So, like I said, if you're not a fan of these kind of stories that, well, don't have much of a story and mostly just atmosphere and character, you probably won't get that sucked in. But me, I enjoyed every minute of it. I love that they feel they didn't have to stick to the formula or a three-act structure, that they could just show a little bit of life being lived. Sometimes, just experiencing what somebody is going through is more exciting than being told what they're going through. You get more sucked into a world when it feels more real. Every alley doesn't always have these three-act structures or these clever lines. Sometimes, it's just a little bit of life playing its way. Films like Bambi, Winnie the Pooh, Christmas Story, The Sandlot, they all knew that, and I think Kiki does, too. For me, it was the perfect little adventure that made my appreciation of Miyazaki a lot bigger.

[A scene showing Kiki flying in the sky is shown]

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