Mary is an ordinary young girl stuck in the country with her Great-Aunt Charlotte and seemingly no adventures or friends in sight. She follows a mysterious cat into the nearby forest, where she discovers an old broomstick and the strange Fly-by-Night flower, a rare plant that blossoms only once every seven years and only in that forest. Together the flower and the broomstick whisk Mary above the clouds, and far away to Endor College - a school of magic run by headmistress Madam Mumblechook and the brilliant Doctor Dee. But there are terrible things happening at the school, and when Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to try to set things right. Based on Mary Stewart's 1971 classic children's book The Little Broomstick, Mary and The Witch's Flower is an action-packed film full of jaw-dropping imaginative worlds, ingenious characters, and the stirring, heartfelt story of a young girl trying to find a place in the world. Featuring the voices of Ruby Barnhill and Academy ...
Animation meets Ghibli-level expectations, story.. not so much.
Studio Ponoc, heir apparent to Studio Ghibli, makes a decent start with Mary & the Witch's Flower.
Animation is lush and gorgeous to look at, and is very reminiscent of the work we're used to from Studio Ghibli - and as anyone who's familiar with Ghibli's work can tell you, that is a pretty high bar to meet. I saw the English dubbed version, and the voice acting was excellent as well - especially Ruby Barnhill as Mary. Background score was quite good too.
Story, however, was a bit disappointing. Not saying that it was bad, it just felt a bit devoid of heart and there were quite a few plot holes which were hard to overlook. Character motivations were hard to explain, and the wizarding world Mary stumbles into feels empty, though it is supposed to be a thriving world. Then again, I complain because I was expecting something of Ghibli standards.
It was a fun movie to experience, and I'm glad Studio Ponoc exists - not only because I expect bigger and better things from them in the future, but also because something as beautiful as the tradition of Ghibli animated movies needs be kept alive.
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