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The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Year:
2013
Country:
Japan
Genre:
Drama, Fantasy, Animation
IMDB rating:
8.1
Director:
Isao Takahata
James Caan as The Bamboo Cutter (voice)
Brian Leone as Villager (voice)
Darren Criss as Sutemaru (voice)
Hynden Walch as Me no Warawa (voice)
Chloe Moretz as The Princess Kaguya (voice)
Beau Bridges as Prince Kuramochi (voice)
Oliver Platt as Lord Minster of the Right Abe (voice)
Mary Steenburgen as The Bamboo Cutter's Wife / Narrator (voice)
Daniel Dae Kim as Great Counselor Otomo (voice)
James Marsden as Prince Ishitsukuri (voice)
Dean Cain as The Mikado (voice)
George Segal as Inbe no Akita (voice)
Lucy Liu as Lady Sagami (voice)
John Cho as Middle Counselor Isonokami (voice)
Storyline: An old man makes a living by selling bamboo. One day, he finds a princess in a bamboo. The princess is only the size of a finger. Her name is Kaguya. When Kaguya grows up, 5 men from prestigious families propose to her. Kaguya asks the men to find memorable marriage gifts for her, but the 5 men are unable to find what Kaguya wants. Then, the Emperor of Japan proposes to her.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
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Reviews
It looks lovely
"The Tale of Princess Kaguya" is a very, very familiar story in Japan. It's from a story that is a thousand years old, "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter". And, since it's a classic, there have been many movie versions of the story. Because of this, I was quite familiar with this, as I'd already seen "Princess From the Moon"--a 1987 live-action version. Unlike the other six versions of the story that I was able to find, this one is animated and it comes from Studio Ghibli--the same people who make the Miyazaki films, though this one is from Isao Takahata.

For the most part, the story you see in the film is the old tale. One day, a poor woodcutter slices into a stalk of bamboo and finds a beautiful thumb-size child. Since he and his wife are childless and have always wanted one, they are overjoyed with the discovery and raise the child. However, the same fortune that brought them the baby also rewarded them with gold when the woodcutter chopped additional bamboo. And, oddly, the child grows to normal size and becomes a lady in practically no time at all. Soon they are rich and able to give their girl the life of a princess and she's taught all manners and customs that a proper lady would need. However, it's obvious that young Princess Kaguya isn't happy in this life, as courtier after courtier come for her hand and she simply isn't interested. So, she gives them impossible tasks to complete before she'd agree to marry any of them. When they all fail, the Emperor himself comes to court her but she rebuffs him--mostly because she knows her time on Earth is drawing to a close. Where all this goes next, you'll find out if you watch the movie.

The animation for this movie is quite lovely--with a nice look that appears as if the film was made with colored pencils and watercolors. While it's more minimalistic than you'd usually find in a Ghibli film, it looks very appropriate to the Medieval Japanese period. In fact, the look of the film is the best thing about the movie. The story, as you probably noticed above, is odd--especially to non-Japanese audiences. The ending, is even odder, by the way. But the film still could have worked despite the unusual story. However, I found the pacing to be too slow and I noticed my attention waning from time to time. Not surprisingly, it's the longest film released by Ghibli to date. Had they trimmed about 15 to 20 minutes and removed the plot involving the poor boyfriend (which was not in the original story), I think the film would have worked better for me. Worth seeing for a very patient audience who is looking for something very different--otherwise a strange sort of picture that probably would offer little appeal to kids and folks wanting something light and Disney-like.

By the way, although I was not bowled over by this film, it has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. My vote is for "The Box Trolls"...a film which managed to combine both artistry and an excellent original story.
2015-02-19
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya:The original Japanese version.
When taking a look at the films which had been nominated for viewing on IMDb's Film Festival board,this was the one that went right to the top of my most anticipated list.With Studio Ghibli's Princess Mononoke being my fifth favourite film of all time,I got set to meet another Ghibli princess.

The plot:

Chopping bamboo, Sanuki no Miyatsuko a bamboo shoot and finds a baby girl growing inside it! Believing her to be a miracle,Sanuki and his wife decide to raise the girl as their own.Giving her the name "Princess" the Miyatsuko's soon find their daughter to grow at an abnormal speed,as she develops a close friendship with Sutemaru,a fellow child in the village.Cutting bamboo one day, Miyatsuko cuts into bamboo shoots of gold. Taking this as a sign that their daughter really is a "princess",the parents tear her away from the village,and take her to live in a Palace. Christened with the name Princess Kaguya,Kaguya decides to give all of the men who want her hand in marriage impossible challenges,as Kaguya looks to her past in the nights sky.

View on the film:

Based on the 10th century Japanese folklore tale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter,co-writer/(along with Riko Sakaguchi) director Isao Takahata paints the tale with exquisite water colours,giving the title a haunting atmosphere of being a fading memory. Taking the brave step of not filling every inch of the frame with a constant stream of action, Takahata expertly uses space to give the film an extraordinary poetic quality,with the royal ruby colours Kaguya is surrounded by being unable to replace the lush greens and blues of the flowers in Kaguya's former village.

Currently the longest movie to come from Studio Ghibli,the screenplay by Takahata & Sakaguchi brilliantly use the time to meditate on the emotional bond Kaguya has to her childhood home,which sails off into a devastating, melancholy final,where Kaguya's parents find their daughter to grow away from them. Along with the heart-wrenching family Drama,the writers sparkle the title with a dose of Ghibli magic weaved in the attempts to get Kaguya's hand in marriage having the touch of tall tales from the lights of The Canterbury Tales and the fragmented encounters between Kaguya and Sutemaru leaping from an earthy bond into a pure,bittersweet flight of fantasy,as the bamboo shoots open up the tale of Princess Kaguya.
2016-11-18
it's an excellent piece of animation and a great story.
The famous Japanese movie production company 'Studio Ghibli' is known mostly for Hayao Miyazaki's film resume that ranges from 'Spirited Away' to 'The Wind Rises'. Studio Ghibli continues to put out beautiful and important animated films that not only tell an amazing story, but it also touches on several political, religious, and societal issues that are relevant all over the world. And Miyazaki's films have conjured up a large global audience that has developed into a cult following that is bigger than ever today.

But this film 'The Tale of Princess Kaguya' is not a Miyazaki film. Instead, this is an Isao Takahata film and is not your typical Japanese animated film that has sleek CG animated effects or female characters that dress in next to nothing. 'Princess Kaguya' is a 137 minute film that is 100% hand drawn and is a story from the 10th century, which is called 'The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter'. Many people say that this is one of the first if not the first science fiction story ever thought up. And when I say science-fiction, I'm not insinuating aliens, space ships or far off planets with lasers. Instead, this wonderful story starts out with a middle aged man and his wife who live a quiet life in the mountains.

This man is a bamboo cutter, who uses bamboo for food, shelter, baskets, and clothing. While working in the bamboo field, he notices a strange glow from one of the bamboo trees. When he investigates, he notices a little seedling that is rapidly growing. In it is a tiny little person who is alive. He takes this small person back to his wife where it transforms into a baby girl, who grows very fast too. The bamboo cutter and his wife think that heaven sent her down to Earth to become the most beautiful princess there ever was. As she grows up fast, her parents collect gold and fine clothing from the magical bamboo tree, which he has a giant palace in the city built for her.

The bulk of this long movie shows this magical princess growing up and adjusting to her new wealthy and powerful life. Her father hires a teacher to instruct her on how to be a proper lady and princess, but the princess would rather laugh, dance, play in the fields, and sing than live a life of boredom in 10th century Japan. In addition to this being one of the first science-fiction stories, it also has a lot of feministic and women's rights qualities to it, which is always great to see.

Another big part of the story has five of the wealthiest and powerful men in Japan vying for her love and marriage, to which she has never met any of them. She sends each of them on impossible tasks to prove their love for her, but it's really a ploy to see if they truly care about her or if they just want her as a piece of property. One of the overall story arcs is the love between the princess and a young boy she was friends with when they were little, where their paths cross rarely throughout the course of this movie, but their love is still binding them together, even they are so far away.

This PG family friendly film might be too slow for most, where as anime buffs might take a stronger liking to it, but as the ending draws closer, the more bizarre the film gets, taking you out of the whole point of the story. The best parts are towards the beginning of the film, watching the princess grow up. It has such a wonderful and carefree charm about it that should make you smile. The animation is beautiful and simple and wonderfully colored. It's a real treat to see something illustrated fully by hand without the use of computers these days. The 137 minute run time is a bit long and could have played out better as a mini series, as this film is fairly episodic, but none-the-less, it's an excellent piece of animation and a great story. I just think it got away from itself from time to time and took too long to tell.
2015-08-11
Simple tale that cold have been told in one hour turned into a two hour long torture
Simple tale that cold have been told in one hour turned into a two hour long torture.

The film started out in a great way, but when they moved to the capital it started to drag on too much until the last 15 minutes of the film that were a lot of non-sense. I don't get how people get so touched and love films that have a lot of drama with a basic storyline and pointless ending.

Some nice visuals, but not stunning.

Some nice moments,but not touching enough.

Nice subject, but not a good story after all.
2015-03-17
This is not a mere Animation this is an experience
I watched the movie in Japanese with subtitle, and found it moving, touching and entertaining. Like other Ghibli productions these are not mere animations they are experiences. A kind of the movie that remains with you for a long time. Unlike Hollywood movies and animation that once the credit roles you have forgotten it. This animation takes you away from artificial shallow and politically correct world of ours that everything has a motive and or lobbied by some interest group, where humanity is sold to some faction or interest group. One of the reviewers had the temerity to mention this movie in the same sentence as Lego movie please don't. This is an accomplishment and the latter is a travesty. Don't even mention the Fem. Word in this vicinity.
2014-12-05
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Based on the tenth century Japanese folktale, 'The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter' this film opens with a bamboo cutter being attracted to a shining bamboo shoot; suddenly it grows and opens to reveal a tiny person. He rushes home and shows his with; then suddenly the tiny person starts to grow into a normal baby. There is something magical about her; the childless bamboo cutter's wife suddenly starts producing milk and the child, dubbed 'Little Bamboo' by the village children grows at an extraordinary rate as events cause a spurt of instant growth. As she grows she starts befriending the local children and believes she will stay with them forever. However her father has found more mysterious bamboo shoots; one containing gold and another containing exquisite silks; he takes this as a sign that she truly is a princess and uses his newfound wealth to establish himself and his family in the capital. Here, when she comes of age, she is given the name Princess Kaguya. She is trained in the ways of being a princess and powerful admirers who have heard of her great beauty seek her hand in marriage but she yearns for rural friends and sets her suitors impossible tasks. Eventually the Mikado takes an interest in her but again she declines… she then reveals that in a few days she must return home; not to the bamboo forest but to her true home far, far away.

Coming from Studio Ghibli's Isao Takahata it is not surprising that this film is both beautiful to look at and something rather different. The designs, which look like a mix of water colours and charcoal gives the film an ethereal feel that is entirely in fitting with the story. The story is told at a gentle, some might say slow, pace but there are bursts of energy where the animation becomes more chaotic in a way that beautifully captures the energy and emotion of the scenes. The story itself is rather melancholic; the bamboo cutter believes his 'daughter' will have a better life in the capital… and he certainly enjoys it there… but she just wants to be with her old friend and has no desire to be a princess. In many ways this makes it the opposite of many western fairy tales were a poor girl finds happiness when she meets her Prince Charming who whisks her off to a life of a princess.

In summary; I found this film to be an utter delight… a lovely but melancholy story that is beautifully told. While the story is suitable for all I suspect the gentle pace and long run time may mean it will be better appreciated by older viewers.

These comments are based on watching the film in Japanese with English subtitles.
2015-09-03
Aesthetically Pleasing, Artistically Fulfilling & Emotionally Captivating!
One of Studio Ghibli's last feature films before the legendary animation studio went on an indefinite break, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is Isao Takahata's first picture in over 15 years and happens to be an eloquently narrated, gorgeously animated & patiently paced cinema that attempts to bring on screen one of the oldest tales in Japanese folklore.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya tells the story of its titular character who was found in a bamboo shoot by a bamboo cutter who, believing her to be a divine presence, brings her home to his wife. Although this mysterious tiny girl grows rapidly into a young lady, dazzling all who encounters her, she eventually is left with no alternative but to confront her own fate.

Co-written & directed by Isao Takahata (best known for Grave of the Fireflies), this tale is crafted with precision care & elegance plus how all of it is animated brings an artistic vibe of its own. The use of colour palette, sketch-like animation & minimalist approach leaves a lasting impression, the voice performances are spot-on while Joe Hisaishi's score nicely compliments the whole narrative.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya also covers the various restraints women find themselves in every facet of life, no matter what society they happen to be part of, and exposes that without preaching. However, its 137 minutes of runtime feels a tad too long, the final act is stretched, and although its creativity is undeniably impressive, the whole story kind of lacks that immersive element, much like Takahata's earlier works.

On an overall scale, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya brims with some truly astonishing images and is another winning marvel from the acclaimed studio. It's aesthetically pleasing, artistically fulfilling & emotionally gripping and there are going to be many who will have nothing but endless praise for the manner in which this ancient Japanese folklore is illustrated on the film canvas. As for me, I do admire a number of things about Takahata's latest but don't feel any love for it. Still, I've no qualms in recommending it to anyone for it is worthy of a broader audience.
2016-01-10
Makes you nostalgic for a time past
In the first half of the movie, I wanted to join the lead character in her idyllic world hearkening of a time past, a culture past, and an animation style long since abandoned in mainstream "cartoons." Only having watched several Asian movies did it prepare me for a bittersweet second half. Having said that, it was torture sitting that long in the movie hoping for a different outcome than what we would eventually be presented. I don't know the source folk tale the movie was based on but I do see traces of the Little Mermaid in it. It just shows how universal some fairy tale themes are and how they are altered just a tad depending on the culture.

If I was basing my enjoyment just on the last half and it's length, I would give this a lower rating. However, I am basing this on the fact that Studio Ghibli continues to put out meaningful movies, ala, "Graveyard of the Fireflies." While there is a place for fantastical worlds and Disneyfied endings to fairy/folktales for the occasional escapism one needs to take in life, the source material for those Disney movies were very dark. I think it's necessary to fill one's childhood with a good balance of both because life doesn't always go how you want. There was nary a child in my showing which is a shame because I think mature children could have enjoyed this as well. The surprise in my showing was that there were so many men in the audience who did not look like they were drug there by a wife or girlfriend. Maybe they are like me with a love for Studio Ghibli and anything they do.
2014-11-03
One step closer to enlightenment
If you contemplate life and our place on this planet, then this is an important movie to watch. The animation is really beautiful and the story is thought-provoking and deeply emotional(Loved it). I sat there in awe long after the credits rolled.

Love, happiness, joy, sadness, despair, earth, mother nature, expectations, values and the whole mystery of life are some of the subjects this movie touches upon.

If you understand the message that this movies tries to convey, then I'm sure you would have the urge to get off your ass and really start living. That's how powerful it was.

Watch it. ENJOY IT! Studio Ghibli never disappoints =D
2014-12-19
A wistful and reflective work from Studio Ghibli
THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA is a wide-reaching Studio Ghibli epic done in a slow, thoughtful, and evocative way. The story is based on the same bit of Japanese folklore that was behind the 1980s film PRINCESS FROM THE MOON, starring Toshiro Mifune. The movie was directed by Isao Takahata, who previously made MY NEIGHBOURS THE YAMADAS back in the 1990s, and it has the same basic, old-fashioned animated look to it, albeit with more colour and time spent on the imagery.

For those looking for an action-packed Disney-style romp with dumb comedy, go elsewhere. Like a lot of Ghibli products, KAGUYA is a mature and reflective piece of work, more of a mood piece than anything else. The fantasy story is tinged with warmth but also sadness and tragedy; a classic coming-of-age tale with something of a depressing outcome. It might even be Ghibli's most adult film to date and it certainly connects with the viewer more than anything like THE WIND RISES; I'll freely admit to the tears running down my cheeks during a wistful song at the climax. My only complaint is that it's a little long, but that doesn't detract from the experience.
2017-01-27
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