DVD Review HTF REVIEW: "Kiki's Delivery Service" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Apr 7, 2003.

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  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    Kiki's Delivery Service





    Studio: Walt Disney
    Year: 1989
    Rated: G
    Film Length: 105 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English





    I sometimes have to stop and think about the fact
    that I am a man nearing my 40th birthday and I am
    finding myself spending way too much of my time
    watching animated films. Though I am certain that
    others in my age group would sort of look down on
    what I do with my free time, I am certainly proud
    of the fact that I have recently discovered two
    terrific animated gems that have already left
    lasting impressions in my mind.

    Up until yesterday I had never watched a Japanese
    animated film (better known as "anime"). After
    just completing Miyazaki's Spirited Away
    and Kiki's Delivery Service, I find myself
    completely enchanted by these fanciful and entertaining
    tales filled with beautiful imagery that is so
    very uncommon in domestic animated releases.

    Disney bought the rights to the Japanese animated
    classic Kiki's Delivery Service and added
    dubbing by American stars, including Kirsten Dunst,
    Phil Hartman, Janeane Garofalo and Debbie Reynolds.
    On April 15th a 2-disc presentation of the film will
    be released to DVD.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Written, directed, and produced by Hayao Miyazaki,
    this is the story of Kiki (Kirtsen Dunst), a spunky
    girl who also happens to be a witch. By tradition,
    upon reaching her 13th birthday, a witch must spend
    a year out on her own. Her year away from home
    is for the purpose of independent self-training as
    she works on developing a single magical talent.
    Along with her black cat, GiGi (Phil Hartman), Kiki
    must settle down in a new city.

    Kiki finds her way to a good sized town, and is taken
    in by a kindly baker who offers her a room above the
    bakery. In order to help pay for her boarding, she
    sets up shop as a one-girl flying delivery service.
    This sets her on all sorts of interesting adventures
    and misadventures.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Filled with some of the most stunning animation I
    have ever seen, this is a gorgeous film to look
    at. I can't tell you how many times my jaw dropped
    while looking at the film's lifelike backgrounds and
    characters that look so real that you often forget
    they are hand-drawn animated. I have never seen
    as much detail in an animated film as I have here.
    More importantly, the story seems to flow on its own
    good merits with a strong female heroine and without
    the introduction of any sort of villain or violence.


    How is the transfer?


    In a word, Stunning! There's nothing quite like
    watching animated imagery, full of vibrant colors
    that look as if they are ready to leap off the
    screen. You'll marvel at the lush green fields
    and deep blue waters that Kiki flies over. With
    full color saturation and rich deep blacks, this
    film takes on such wonderful texture. An absolutely
    phenomenal video presentation.

    [​IMG]

    Included on this DVD is the original stereo Japanese
    track and a dubbed English language track in Dolby
    Digital 5.1 stereo. I started listening to the
    Japanese track in order to get a feel for the film's
    original voice work. Audio came through with crisp
    clarity and distinct stereo separation. I then
    switched over to the film's 5.1 English dubbed track
    and found it to be a more pleasurable listen -- not
    for the fact that it was in English, but because of
    the remixed 5.1 audio. Dialogue was firmly set in
    the center channel with all the film's action
    spread across the main front channels which
    exhibited strong bass response and distinct stereo
    separation. Though surround information was being
    sent to the rear channels, most of it was drowned
    out by the stronger front audio levels. Only
    occasionally could I hear the sounds of city traffic
    or rainstorm noise in the rear channels. What really
    stands out the most in this audio mix is Joe
    Hisaishi's musical score, rich with a variety of
    musical styles and instruments. The sounds of a
    piano and full orchestra come through with amazing
    clarity, and often, extend themselves into the rear
    channels.


    Special Features


    Kiki's Delivery Service has been released as
    a deluxe 2-disc Special Edition. The film which
    resides on Disc One contains both the original
    stereo Japanese language track as well as an English
    5.1 dubbed language track. A standard Spanish
    language track is also included.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    We are now on Disc One....

    [​IMG]

    I love the enthusiasm of John Lasseter. This man
    could sell you anything in a heartbeat. Before
    the film begins, we are treated to a personal
    introduction by the Pixar director. In it,
    we get a little background information on the
    film as well as its director, Hayao Miyazaki.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Behind the Microphone introduces us to the
    voices behind the English dubbed feature, including
    a very young Kirsten Dunst (Kiki), the much-missed
    Phil Hartman (Gigi), Matthew Lawrence (Tombo), and
    Janeane Garafolo (Ursula). Each talks a little about
    their respective characters and how they dealt with
    voicing an animated film. Split screens show you
    the actors voicing in one window, while the film
    plays in the other.
    (length: approx. 4 minutes)

    There are nearly 10 minutes of original Japanese
    trailers
    that show how the film was promoted
    during its initial theatrical release. You can opt
    to play these trailers with English subtitles.

    Let's move on to Disc Two that contains one
    additional bonus feature....

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Yes, you heard right. This entire disc is devoted
    to one single effort -- that is, retelling the entire
    film using Original Japanese storyboards and
    the original Japanese language or dubbed English
    soundtrack. If you have the patience, you can watch
    this film entirely told in storyboard form. Not
    sure if this is worth the expense of an extra DVD
    disc, but I noticed that some e-tailers are selling
    this set at a $20 pricepoint, so I am not going to
    sit here and complain about it.


    Final Thoughts

    [​IMG]

    Kiki's Delivery Service is an epic and extraordinary
    tale that is not solely for children but people of
    all ages. What more can you say about a beautifully
    animated film filled with engaging characters and a
    very well told story? You should go to your local
    store and say you want to preorder your own copy.

    Ranks up there with the best animated DVDs in your
    collection. Don't hesitate to purchase this!


    Release Date: April 15, 2003


    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
     
  2. ChrisV

    ChrisV Second Unit

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    Uh oh, Ron's turning into an anime geek. [​IMG]

    Seriously, though, nice review. I'll be looking to pick up both this and Spirited Away.
     
  3. Alex_zhang

    Alex_zhang Auditioning

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    Sounds like a great movie! I was intending to pick Spirited away up and was considering picking this up (but I was deterred by the fact that it may be a children's film). Ron, you should review "Castle in the Sky" and "Princess Monokoke" as well, both great anime films by Hayao Miyazaki.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    The review sort of uploaded funny so many of you
    who read the review in its first 30 minutes of post
    probably missed the review of the AUDIO portion of
    the disc.

    The review has been fixed and revised as of this post.
     
  5. Tony-B

    Tony-B Producer

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    Another great review. Glad to hear that you are getting into anime. I found an error in the review. It's right under the first row of pictures.
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Thanks for the error alert. Damn spellchecker
    never catches those things.

    I do have Akira, but alas, it still sits
    in shrinkwrap. Honestly, I just don't have the '
    time to watch the things I want to see.
     
  7. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    Ron, if you are interested in furthering your anime watching... check out HTF Anime Recommendations which is maintained by Mr. Tony-B. He has done a bang-up job of getting recommendations from us 'otaku' over in the Advanced thread [​IMG]

    Subbed or dubbed... anime is GREAT [​IMG]
     
  8. George See

    George See Second Unit

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    Under special features you call this movie spirited away, might want to fix it to avoid confusion. Aside from that great review as always, I was definently picking up spirited away on the 15th now i might just have to pick this one up too.
     
  9. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    From a 40+:
    Cartoons rule!
    Animation, hand drawn & computer generated are great!
    Anime is fantastic!
     
  10. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

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    If I like Spirited away...I might have to give this one a chance too...you guys are gonna make me an anime geek too...I can feel it...[​IMG]
     
  11. Tony-B

    Tony-B Producer

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    HAHAHAHAHAH!!!! Welcome to the dark side, everyone! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  12. Aaron Cohen

    Aaron Cohen Second Unit

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    Is Kiki's Delivery Service a 2-disc set? I was confused because at the beginning of special features it says "Spirited Away has been released as a deluxe two-disc special edition". This is the same wording that was used in the Spirited Away review so I was just making sure the names were just flip-flopped and that Kiki's is a two-disc set as well. I'm assuming it is. Just pointing this out. I also recommend Princess Mononoke. I loved it and am planning to buy both of these dvd's based on your recommendations!
     
  13. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Ron-

    Because of your schedule, I suggest sticking to just films and not getting wrapped up in TV series.

    With that said, check out Ghost in the Shell (another anime, but more modern and futuristic).
     
  14. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I'm buying all three regardless, I"ve only seen Spirited Away in its entirety and bits and pieces of Kiki. I can't wait for my order to go through!!!

    one quibble with the review though.

     
  15. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Adam-

    It does not look jaggy on the actual disc what-so-ever. Looks like Ron caught some non-progressive frames there.

    It should be noted that one of the reasons why they do the full-disc storyboards is because of the popularity in Japan. Especially for the earlier films, Miyazaki himself drew all of them, and many he does in watercolor. They actually sell books which are nothing but the boards for his films
     
  16. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I'm in the process of trying to find the best price for the 3 film set. If anyone has any leads, give me a heads up.
     
  17. Brendan Brown

    Brendan Brown Stunt Coordinator

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    I think the jaggy nature of the pictures comes from 'nearest neighbor resizing' which wouldn't show up on live action stills, but certainly would for high-contrast animation.
     
  18. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    There is no 3DVD set. It's just a bundle that a few sites are offering
     
  19. Cary T

    Cary T Screenwriter

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    Kiki is my favorite Miyazaki movie and anime of all-time. Highly recommend picking up both Kiki and Laputa (Castle in the Sky) if you liked Spirited Away.
     
  20. Michael St. Clair

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    I really like storyboards. Having them all, synched to the soundtrack, is the best extra for an animated film I can imagine.

    I've never understood why many people look down on storyboards as an extra.
     

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