Thursday, May 3, 2018

[Review] Mary and the Witch's Flower

From director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Mary and the Witch's Flower is a delightfully animated fantasy adventure that bursts and flourishes with wonder and bemusement.

Mary lives in the country with her sweet great-aunt Charlotte. It's a nice life, but she's simply bored -- itching for something, anything exciting to happen. One day she follows a mysterious cat into the forest where she finds a rare plant nicknamed "The Witch's Flower" and an old broomstick with strange powers. Then, she's abruptly whisked away to a hidden school of magic.

It's a curious, intriguing, and transportive tale -- especially as Mary continues to confront her bewilderment and discover the secrets of this newfound world -- where campuses in the sky, talking mammal professors, exotic creatures, flying carpets, and magical spells and potions exist. Full of weather and wildlife, the animation style is crisp and fruitful with vivid and earthy colors -- embracing nature and relishing in everything that grows. It's all so immaculately detailed -- from the moss on trees to the fog in the atmosphere to the bricks in the buildings.

If this premise all sounds very Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter-esque, that's because it is (the film is actually based on a 1971 book by Mary Stewart called The Little Broomstick, though). And much like these aforementioned stories, Mary begins to find out that this magical place also houses some dark secrets and questionable leadership, and she must take it upon herself to get to the bottom of it.

During the last act, things get a bit convoluted and chaotic, and there isn't a huge emotional payoff that you might be hoping for. But overall, Mary and the Witch's Flower is a cool little journey.

( 7.5/10 )

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