KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE (Majo no
Region 2 (UK) Edition - Reviewed by Andy Davidson
Kirsten Dunst, Janeane Garafolo, Phil Hartman
The latest release in Optimumís Studio
Ghibli Collection is the 1989 film, Kikiís Delivery Service.
Based on the book by Eiko Kadono, Kikiís Delivery Service tells the
story of Kiki, a young witch who is taking her first steps into the adult
At age 13, all witches must leave home and
spend a year in a city or town so that they can learn their trade. Kiki
and her faithful cat Jiji bid a fond farewell to her friends and family
and set out to find a place where the young witch can set up shop and
begin mastering her skills. Itís a typical coming of age film, following
Kikiís first attempts at life on her own, being a stranger in a new town
and slowly gaining confidence. Of course, given the Miyazaki treatment,
the story becomes so much more. Kikiís Delivery Service bears the
typical Miyazaki characteristics Ė a young female protagonist, a fixation
with flight in its many forms, overcoming isolation and ultimately gaining
acceptance and recognition.
Like all Studio Ghibli films, Kikiís
Delivery Service is so much more than the sum of its parts; this is
not just the story of a clumsy-but-lovable young girl trying to make it in
the big, wide world. Yes, there are the usual hi-jinks youíd expect (this
is a childrenís film, after all) but this is more than the typical
Hollywood coming of age film. Unlike so many films aimed at young
audiences, there is a tremendous depth to both the story and the
characters which make it accessible to all ages. Thereís plenty of action
for the youngsters, but all the characters are superbly realised and given
time to grow. In a film which is all about growing and gaining
independence, Kikiís journey is entirely captivating; her progression from
naÔve young girl to beloved local celebrity is credible and utterly
charming. Thereís something here for everyone.
Kikiís Delivery Service bears
another hallmark of Studio Ghibli in that it is absolutely stunning to
look at. The characters, the locations, the set-pieces are all drawn with
incredible attention to detail and accompanied by Joe Hisaishiís
soundtrack this makes for a thoroughly satisfying film on every level.
Delivery Service is very much aimed at the younger end of the
audience, the maturity of the emotions it displays and the lavish and
intricate design give it far wider appeal.
Like other Optimum releases in the series,
Kikiís Delivery Service is a single disc which brings together many
of the best elements of the various releases of the film from around the
world. Thereís an interesting, but in no way comprehensive selection of
extras contained in a lavish and well-prepared special edition.
The film is presented in a near approximation of its original 1.85:1
aspect ratio. The print appears to be restored, most likely it is the same
as was used by Disney in their US edition. The picture is clear and
well-presented, although the colours do appear slightly light when
compared with the original Japanese R2 release.
The film can be viewed in its original Japanese, with English subtitles
and optional captions for the hard of hearing. There is also an excellent
English dub of the film, originally produced for the Disney VHS release of
the film back in 1998 and starring Kirsten Dunst, Janeane Garafolo and the
late Phil Hartman.
Both audio presentations are in Dolby
Digital 2.0 (at 224kbps).
As with Optimumís other Ghibli releases,
the English subtitles and captions appear in garish yellow over the
picture itself and can prove quite distracting.
The opening menu screens feature an animated Kiki flying over her new home
with some bizarrely animated clouds lingering in the background. The menu
itself appears rather blurred. Menu
screens for the disc can be found
Ursulaís Painting (2m 27s)
Kikiís mentor in the film, Ursula, is an artist. In a somewhat bizarre
extra, we get to see the painting Ursula was working on during Kikiís
Delivery Service, accompanied by Joe Hisaishiís music.
Original Trailers (7m 30s)
The five original trailers for Kikiís Delivery Service are
included, together with English subtitles. Unlike earlier releases, the
subtitles can be switched off.
The entire film can be viewed in storyboard form. Originally presented for
the Japanese DVD release, the ďAngleĒ button on your remote allows the
viewer to alternate between Miyazakiís beautiful original art and the
Studio Ghibli Collection Trailer
To give viewers a flavour of the other Ghibli Masterpieces available or
coming available, Optimum have included a compilation of trailers for the
key films in the collection. While the quality of this trailer is less
pleasing than the material on offer elsewhere on the disc, it is
nevertheless a tantalising glimpse of Studio Ghibliís wider body of work.
Aimed squarely at younger audiences,
Kikiís Delivery Service is a charming film which takes a simple story
and weaves it into something which appeals in equal measure to adults and
Optimum have prepared a solid release of
this classic although the extras are somewhat limited. The trailers and
storyboards are of course superb, but there are a couple of items which
are strangely absent, notably the introduction by John Lasseter (Pixarís
founder and the man responsible for bringing Ghibli to Western audiences)
and the Behind the Voices featurette, both of which feature on the
R1 release. However, the omission of these, coupled with the inclusion of
the superfluous Ursulaís Painting feature are the only negative in
what is overall a wonderfully presented edition of a truly beautiful film.
The Studio Ghibli Collection
Laputa - Castle in the
DVD reviewed: February 2006