Have you ever been watching one of the fine animated films from Studio Ghibli and thought to yourself, “Man, I really wish I could light this Djarum Black or start a small brush fire while showing off my appreciation for My Neighbor Totoro?” I know I have. Well now you can add a little flair to your smoker’s/arsonist’s lifestyle with these new Zippo lighters featuring notable characters from Studio Ghibli’s storied resume of films. Show your friends you still pine for Princess Mononoke, or that Ponyo and The Cat Returns remain unfairly underrated. Hit the jump to find out where you can buy them, along with more than 25 images of the various lighters for sale.
With Pixar’s Brave opening this weekend, Disney recently held a press junket in Scotland where I got to interview some of the cast and filmmakers. The film centers on Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), a young girl who accidentally sets loose an evil curse when she wishes for the freedom to escape her restrictive life. But the big news about Brave is that it’s Pixar’s first film with a female protagonist and their first fairy tale. I imagine in won’t be their last. Brave also features the voices of Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane, and Julie Walters. For more on Brave, here’s all our previous coverage and four clips.
During my interview with John Lasseter we talked about the technical challenges of Brave, the challenges Pixar will overcome in the future, his favorite Studio Ghibli film, if there’s a chance Pixar and Marvel could make a movie together, and limited art prints. Hit the jump to watch.
On Friday, Mondo will release two prints for Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro by Olly Moss because of course they are. They already have licenses for Pixar, DC Comics, Star Trek, and eventually everything else you love or will ever love. The Totoro poster coincides with the start of the IFC Center’s Studio Ghibli retrospective. Mondo is also planning to release a poster for Miyazaki’s Porco Rosso.
The folks who pick up some Totoro greatness should know that their money will go to a good cause (an actual good cause, not getting an awesome poster for yourself). Mondo and Studio Ghibli will donate all profits to Ghetto Film School, a non-profit organization of educators and students who share of storytelling and filmmaking. Hit the jump for the press release and more details on the poster and its variant. The posters will go on sale at a random time on Friday. Be sure you’re following @MondoNews for the announcement.
Earlier this year I was able to do a Hayao Miyazaki retrospective through Netflix DVD rentals, but his films lose their cinematic scope on the small screen. Characters in My Neighbor Totoro (tied with Spirited Away as my favorite Miyazaki film), Castle in the Sky, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind soar through the air through massive landscapes and it would be wonderful to see these movies in theaters. Thankfully, that opportunity will come to New York’s IFC Center beginning December 16th when Studio Ghibli and distributor GKIDS do a 15-film retrospective, which will include Miyazaki’s films. The retrospective will run until January 12th, feature new 35mm prints, and will run both subtitled and English-dubbed versions.
But it gets even better. GKIDS plans to bring the retrospective to Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Toronto, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and other major markets in early 2012. Fingers crossed one of those markets is Atlanta. And even if it isn’t, GKIDS is also planning limited releases of select Studio Ghibli titles, many of which have never been released theatrically in the US. If these movies swing by your city, make sure you check them out. Hit the jump for the full press release and list of movies playing in the retrospective. Advance tickets can be purchased at gkids.com.
Along with attending Comic-con and E3, visiting the Studio Ghibli Museum in Japan completes the Holy Trinity of Geek Pilgrimages. The interactive museum, only nine years old, is a testament to Studio Ghibli’s popularity in Japan and around the world. The museum, designed by Ghibli head Hayao Miyazaki, is a bit on the small side—only two hours to fully explore—but since it is such a popular attraction tickets are often sold out for as much as a month in advance. After waiting said month I was finally able to go to Inokashira Park in Tokyo and experience it for myself. Hit the jump for more.
Deceptively simple and sweet, Hayao Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service has still managed to linger in the hearts of movie lovers, and now it’s finally gotten the proper DVD treatment it deserves from Disney and Studio Ghibli.
Kiki, voiced by a young Kirsten Dunst in this Western version of the story, is a 13-year-old witch who – as is the custom – is sent to live away from her parents for a year to figure out what her talent is. Kiki eventually settles on Koriko, which resembles a seaside European village in the 1950s, and sets up her titular delivery service.
Hit the jump to find out why I still think the first Ghibli/Disney collaboration is the best one, and what kind of extras make this special edition worth buying.
In a movie world in which it seems like everything we see will be in 3-D (and I’m not exaggerating one bit there), there are really very few better reminders of how beautiful old-fashioned storytelling can be than in the still extremely charming films of Hayao Miyazaki.
Out now on DVD from Disney and Studio Ghibli are special editions of Kiki’s Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky and My Neighbor Totoro. Totoro, more than any Miyazaki movie, just perfectly captures his ability to view the world through the eyes of mischievous children, and Totoro himself gave the studio its signature mascot.
Hit the jump for a review of the special edition DVD release of My Neighbor Totoro.