It seems like just yesterday that a new Studio Ghibli movie was gracing our shores and now we have a trailer for another new Ghibli joint. (We aren't complaining.) This new film, "From Up on Poppy Hill," like February's "Secret World of Arrietty," was written and conceived by Studio Ghibli's Walt Disney equivalent Hayao Miyazaki but not directed by him. Instead, this new film was directed by Miyazaki's son, Goro, who last helmed the studio's beautiful but confounding 2006 fantasy epic "Tales from Earthsea." Thankfully, this new film looks way more down to earth.
The new trailer, based on a popular manga of the same name, centers on a group of teens that attempt to stop a local business developer from demolishing their school clubhouse. Instead of veering into "Goonies"-style wackiness, though, "From Up on Poppy Hill" looks like a more somber, earnest affair, with the kind of homespun lyricism Miyazaki's father is so well known for.
Quite frankly, we can't wait to see this one (we loved 'Arrietty' too), but we might not have a chance before the year's up. Apparently, it will only be screened for Los Angeles-area critics sometime in November, in an Oscar-qualifying run, before opening wider in the United States in March of next year. It would be a huge bummer if we had to wait, but some things (like new Studio Ghibli films) are totally worth it.
It's also interesting to note that this is the first Studio Ghibli film since the late nineties to not be distributed domestically by some arm of the Walt Disney company. The company acquired the rights to the studio's films due to the strong urging of John Lasseter, who even back then had a huge amount of pull within the company and is a self-admitted Miyazaki freak (he has a huge cat bus in his office at Pixar and snuck a Totoro plush into the cast of characters of "Toy Story 3"). Since then Disney has been quietly releasing the Studio Ghibli films, some wider, some smaller, but always with a fair amount of marketing push (and accompanying home-video follow through). Also: the store in Japan in EPCOT is stocked with amazing Studio Ghibli bric-a-brac.
"From Up on Poppy Hill," however, will be the first film released by GKIDS, a specialty animation arm that released the Oscar-nominated "A Cat in Paris" earlier this year, among others. As part of their new Miyazaki deal, they will also be releasing many earlier Studio Ghibli films, for the first time ever, in their original Japanese language (Disney would always record new dub tracks, often supervised by high-ranking Pixar folks or people like fantasist Neil Gaiman). It's exciting to be sure, and even though GKIDS won't be able to give the movies the release and push that Disney could, at least they will be seen in a much purer form. We say yay!
The 0:40 mark, lol . . . surrrrprise!