13 April 2001 | panicwatcher
The greatest movie ever made
Kiki's Delivery Service is my favorite move. I have seen it at least 10 times and I laughed and cried each time. The animation by Hayao Miyazaki is wonderful, as always. The flying scenes and scenery of the generic European city are totally convincing. I think I really got a feeling of what it would be like to fly in on a broom over and through a European city. In each city scene, I feel like it is some place I have visited in my trips to Europe.
What I really appreciate about this movie is the simplicity of the characters and the plot. There are no robots, no psychotic megalomaniacs, no monsters, no superheros, no bratty smarty kids that are smarter than adults, no evil moron adults, and no fight scenes. No one is kidnapped or seriously injured. Even though the movie a about a witch, the only supernatural acts in the movie are Kiki flying on a broom and talking to her cat.
The movie is about a young girl witch who leaves home with her cat Jiji, moves to a new town, and starts a delivery service. In her business she has some adventures and meets mostly nice people who help her out. In the process she meets a boy named Tombo. Tombo does not have any special powers. He is just a nerdy guy who is trying to build a bicycle that can fly. Tombo gets in to some trouble and Kiki helps him out.
That sounds very dull, but by avoiding the supernatural and monsters, the story is much more easy to relate to. It is a story about leaving home and starting anew, meeting people, helping people, and have people help you when you get into trouble. It is very upbeat, even when things look bleak, they work out with a little help from friends. I liked Tombo's problems trying to be friends with Kiki because they seem like the problems people really have. One of the most beautiful scenes in the movie is Tombo silently waiting in the rain for Kiki who never shows up.
This movie is full of silent beauty. When the baker's wife invites Kiki to move in above the bakery, you get the impression that the gruff but silent husband does not care for Kiki. But in a later scene you see that he has baked a loaf of bread shaped like a girl riding a broom and mounted it in the bakery window. Nothing is ever said about it, but you see how he appreciates her.
I have both the dubbed and subtitled version of the movie. They are both great. This movie is one of the best dubbed I have seen. The dubbed version has a lighter, funnier tone because of the wise-cracking Jiji. I felt I could appreciate the animation better in the dubbed version because I did not have to focus on reading the subtitles. In general the voice acting in the dubbed version is excellent. The subtitled version is also the letterbox version, so you get to see the full beauty of the animation. In some of the flying scenes, Jiji is humorously complaining about the flying conditions in the dubbed version, where the subtitled version lets you silently appreciate the beauty of flying. Due to licensing problems the dubbed and subtitled versions have different theme songs. I think both songs are great. I recommend getting both versions.