Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Grave of the Fireflies Movie Review

A tragic film covering a young boy and his little sister's struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.

Synopsis from

Overall Review:
    Grave of the Fireflies, destroyed my heart and soul. This movie is beyond sad, but it really works. The sadness of this movie fit in well with the plot line. This movie takes places during WW2, when the Allies are bombing Japan. Inevitably, every possible tragedy that could occur conflicts the two main characters. I have a love-hate relationship with this movie. I hated it for a while, but when I thought about it later I realized that this movie was powerful enough to move me.
    I'm a sucker for animated films, especially films by Studio Ghibli. Some time two or three years ago, I decided that my sister and I would watch as many Studio Ghibli films as possible during summer break. My Dad had told us he didn't want us watching the movie because it was too sad. A year or so later, I decided to revisit Studio Ghibli and watch Grave of the Fireflies. Then I felt the need to review , because JC just reviewed a sad movie that was set during WW2.
    If you like sad movies, this is your movie. I don't really have a preference for what kind of movies I like to watch. As long as I feel some kind of emotional change, I'm satisfied with this movie. Although this movie is sad, it brings WW2 in the eyes of the Japanese alive. You can really feel the pain and anguish of the people in this movie. Each person's lives are affected in one way or another. You know that the main characters are not the only ones suffering, which makes it even sadder. Every person has their own story and motives if you look into it more, including the Aunt.
    The characters are all great. They make mistakes and really suffer from the consequences. The main characters, Seita and Setsuko are both really well written. Seita just wants the best for his little sister, Setsuko, but is too proud to admit when he does something wrong. Setsuko really feels like a small child and it makes you feel bad that she is stuck in such a horrible situation. And as always, the animation was top notch.
    Everything from the color choice to the animation of the characters themselves was beautiful. The darker color patterns really added to the sadness of the story and bright colors were like rays of light in the darkness. The animation was fluid. The angles and perspective were well done as well. The english voice acting was great, too.
    I don't really care for the dubbed vs. subbed debate. I prefer dubbed, because I find it hard to draw while trying to read subtitles, but that's just me. There are some anime or movies I absolutely can't watch dubbed though, such as No.6, but there are dubs I really love, such as Code Geass. Anywho... Back to Grave of the Fireflies. The dubbing was nice in this movie was great as always in Studio Ghibli movies. The voice actors had a lot of emotion, when they speak. You could really feel the anguish that the characters are feeling. The ending was fitting for the movie as well. This movie took me on an emotional roller coaster and recommended it for people who enjoy sad movies, animation or anything about history.

Don't continue to read if you don't want to be spoiled --

       It is simple: survive. Seita has to figure out how to keep himself and his little sister afloat. I don't have much to say about the plot. It progresses nicely and the situation continuously gets worse and worse. At the beginning, their mother dies and then they run away from home. Just when you think things are turning good, they take a turn for the worst. Surviving isn't a very original plot, but Miyazaki takes the idea and propels it forward. Even though it's not original of a concept, Miyazaki does make it feel new and fresh. I would give the plot a 9.

        It's hard to dislike any of the characters in this film (besides the people who are bombing Japan, which are the Americans) Even if a characters seems to be acting selfishly, they probably are not. For example, the Aunt, who seems cruel to Seita, actually is suffering herself. (I had to think about it for a while but) I think it was correct for her to act, so meanly to Seita, because he really wasn't doing anything to help the war effort. He was just camping out at her house and eating the food that she and her working family could be eating. She kept on telling him to help, but he refused.
       Seita and Setsuko both feel very real. It made me want to cheer for the characters the entire time. Normally, I want to jump into a movie and yell at the characters to do something, because everything they do seems illogical. During this movie, I felt just as at a loss as the characters did. The choices they made all had their reasons to it, and when they were stuck living in a war bombing shelter (thing) I really didn't know what else they could do. Setsuko is cute, too.
Setsuko is the kind of kid you want to pick up and hug. She's a child; a good child at that. It's hard not to like her, and it really made me sad, (major spoiler alert) when she died at the end. I would give the characters a 10.

The beginning was the end. I didn't realize that until ten minutes after the movie ended... The ending was very fitting. A sad ending to match with a sad story. I was seriously crying. Especially when my Dad came in and saw Setsuko's spirit playing happily in the garden. He said, "Oh, it looks like she's okay now!" Dad, no; it's not okay. She dead.
So basically they both die. After Setsuko's death, Seita succumbs to depression, starvation and sickness. He dies in an area surrounded by other people his age, who are in similar situations, which just makes it sadder. It makes it sad, because you know that his story is not anything too special. There are children just like him who didn't have a chance to have their stories told. Yes, it's a sad ending, but it seems very fitting. I spent a lot of time wrestling over the idea of there being a better ending, but in real life, not everyone gets their happy ending especially during wartime.
It gives you a good idea of what happened during WW2. There was no sugar coating, just harsh reality. Really harsh reality. Another part that struck me was the Mother's death. (Not really part of the conclusion, but it was the mother's conclusion to life)
She died burnt so badly that you could barely tell what she looked like. She didn't look any different from the corpses. After her death, she was unceremoniously dumped into a grave. The image of her dead body did make me recoil in shock... Overall this was a really emotional movie and I don't recommend it for a person who is not ready to take the heavy storyline. I'd give the conclusion a 10.

Overall Rating: 9.67

Formatting will be the end of me,

P.S. Formatting's better now. - JC <3

No comments:

Post a Comment