With rumours about Studio Ghibli’s hiatus, and even possible closure, it seems all the more relevant to appreciate the quality of their films. While Disney was certainly the game-changer, Ghibli has films that only become more complex and insightful as one gets older. In The Tales of Princess Kaguya, not only do we get the Japanese flavour of a Disney Princess, but also, after nearly 15 years, we see Isao Takahata, finish his next animated splendour. Takahata is often considered the number 2 to Hayao Miyazaki, but whereas the head Ghibli honcho has retired after The Wind Rises, this director is still at the drawing board at 79 as he revives Japan’s oldest fairy tale yet.
The original 300 was a film drowning in as much cheesy splendour as there was blood. Seven years on and 300: Rise of an Empire is the unnecessary sequel, or “sidequal”, that tries to deliver that same ham-fisted entertainment as its original, albeit without the same director, cast or Zack Snyderisms that forged the first one. From the same creators as Sin City (another film with an unwanted sequel this year), this battle-bonanza depicts everything that happened off-screen in the first film with the Athenians. What Noam Murro fails to realise however is that the Athenians were off-screen in 300 for a reason. (more…)