Mary and the Witch’s Flower premieres in U.S. theaters in English and Japanese tomorrow, January 18th.
I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the Japanese language premiere in New York City at the AMC 25 in Times Square. It might have simply been because I bought the ticket way back in October, on the day they were put on sale and the fact that I have Thursdays off thanks to one of the weirdest working schedules conceived to man…but either way, this is the first premiere event I’ve gone to.
You should know that this film is something I’ve been looking forward to since the trailer came out.
The first full legnth trailer can be found here. It had all the trademarks of a classic Studio Ghibli film that originally I thought it was one. And for good reason. Studio Ponoc is filled with former Ghibli employees.
Mary is Studio Ponoc’s first ever feature film. So, naturally, this movie is a big deal. The founder of the studio, Yoshiaki Nishimura used to work as lead film producer at Studio Ghibli which I’m sure you know produced great anime movie such as Spirited Away, Princess Monoke, Castle in the Sky and My Neighbor Totoro. Several former Ghibli employees worked on Mary, including director Hiromasa Yonebashi whose last film was Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There.
So if this movie is anything like their former work, it will be amazing. The studio was founded after Ghibli decided to break away from feature films and Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement in 2014. However, in October, it was announced he was coming out of retirement to work on a new feature length film to the surprise of…absolutely no one.
Mary is actually an adaptation of The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart which was published in 1971. I hadn’t heard of it before and it doesn’t appear to be in print in the States. So I can’t comment on what I expect out of this adaptation.
The movie focuses on young Mary who is living with her great aunt Charlotte when she comes across a broomstick and a rare flower, one that only grows every seven years, in the woods. She is soon whisked away to Endor College, a school for magic where she must face untold challenges.
Based on the summaries and previews, the movies sounds like kind of a mix of Kiki’s Delivery Service, Harry Potter and Spirited Away. And that’s awesome. I love all of them. Combining them together could make something really great.
And it seems like Nishimura and Yonebashi are sticking with the traditional, tried and true Ghibli formula and style. I have no issue with that. Ghibli films are successful for a reason, and if they’re stepping away from making feature films why shouldn’t someone else step up to the plate? And why shouldn’t that someone else be a former Ghibli employee?
I really wanted to write this preview because I doubt I’ll be able to write a review in time for Sunday’s deadline. But, I felt like I should write something beforehand because of how big a deal this movie is, how much I’ve been looking to this film and how much I have to say about it already.
If I don’t get a review of Mary done in time, you’ll be treated to a review of the greatest superhero movie of 2017, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.
And that’s the scoop!