Thursday, July 21, 2016

[Review] The Boy and the Beast

Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda charms and tugs at the heartstrings with this fantastical animated tale, The Boy and the Beast.

An angsty orphan named Kyuta (voiced by Aoi Miyazaki) stumbles into Beast World--a realm inhabited by anthropomorphic mammals. There, he meets a bearish warrior named Kumatetsu (Koji Yakusho), who takes the boy under his wing, er--furry arm. The two develop a 'father I never had / son I never had' relationship, and train together for an impending battle against an evil force.

It's a familiar dynamic, but an endearing one nonetheless. The story is a testament of strength, courage, confidence, learning, teaching, and unconventional bonds. As Kyuta transports back and forth between beast world and the real world, plenty of soul-searching occurs--along with some melodramatic moments (the good kind) of forgiveness and acceptance, reunions and departures.

The great animation is crafted with hair-thin lines, smooth tertiary colors, and lush layers of depth. Sprinkled in are some pretty scenes of blossoming trees, sunsets, and enchanting illusions. The climax erupts in an epic sword fight and some cataclysmic action sequences of luminous proportions. All of the imagery is assisted by a beautifully elegant musical score. I also need to mention the tiny little critter that hangs out with Kyuta--it's never really explained, but the thing is adorable.

I think some time could've been shaved off of the film's two-hour length, but I'm not complaining too much, because The Boy and the Beast is rewarding in the end.

( 8/10 )

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