THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA (Theatrical Release Japan 2013)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 3.4|5.0 Starsììì

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya—quite imaginative with great animation—fails to fill out its storyline well. The film reminds me of Tomm Moore films where background story is assumed, but without cultural knowledge it is not clear why events are proceeding in the sequences presented and why these sequences are important. Meaning becomes lost. Hayao Mirizaki and his son Goro in their Studio Ghibli films are successful partially because of the universal appeal and understanding of the storyline. This film needs universal appeal.

Storyline

The story is about a middle aged Bamboo Cutter (voice of James Caan), the Bamboo Cutter’s Wife (voice of Mary Steenbergen), and a small girl the Bamboo Cutter finds in a bamboo shoot while in the forest cutting bamboo. The Bamboo Cutter takes the small girl home to show her to his wife. When the wife takes the girl into her hands, the small girl instantly grows into a full size baby. They call her Princess and travel to find a wet nurse, but the old bamboo cutter’s wife develops her own milk and is able to raise the baby into a young girl. The young Princess (voice of Caitlin Leone) grows faster than the other children who begin calling her Little Bamboo. Her father, the Bamboo Cutter, finds a bamboo shoot full of gold and then later finds fine fabrics that shoot out of another bamboo shoot. He uses the gold to buy a house in the city and hires Lady Sagami (voice of Lucy Liu) to tutor and educate Princess in the ways of royalty. Princess misses her mountain friends, but she settles into her training and when it is time for her to receive her new name, an old sage gives her the name of Princess Kaguya due to her beauty. Suitors court her, but she is not happy and prays to the Moon, her former home, to allow her to come back. She returns to the Moon and the story is over.

Additional Thanks

Good Work for Director Isao Takahata. Thank you to Executive Producers Kôji Hoshino and Frank Marshall for making the film possible. Additional characters/cast include: Princess Kaguya (voice of Cloë Grace Moretz), Sutemaru (voice of Darren Criss), Prince Kuramochi (voice of Beau Bridges), Prince Ishitsukuri (voice of James Marsden), Lord Minister of the Right Abe (voice of Oliver Platt), Me no Warawa (voice of Hynden Walch), and The Mikado (voice of Dean Cain).


Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Maybe. Do research first so the storyline can be followed.

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Ben Meyers

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