Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017)

Where do I even begin? Maybe I’ll start of by laying down the context of my disappointment, which was the THIRTEEN DOLLAR weekend ticket I blew on this movie. I had put so much faith into this film, because the producers from Studio Ponoc were all from Studio Ghibli. Surely they could have done better?! I’m so disappointed. I can’t believe some people actually think that this is “everything” Studio Ghibli fans have been waiting for.

Let me tell you about Mary and the stupid flower she found. There was a very normal girl, who was bored during her school holidays. She couldn’t help much around the house so she went gallivanting around in the forest. Then she met two cats that brought her to some magical flowers, only to scream at her to not touch it. But of course, she plucked the flower. Fast forward a whole lot of useless crap, she found a broom, the cat tossed a magical flower bud at her, a whole lot of glowing juice came out of it and BAM, she is now temporarily a witch for 24 hours. She rides on the broom, soaring into the sky, headed into the middle of a storm cloud, and WHOOSH they reach a magical floating college (like Harry Potter, but Laputa). And that was the first half of the movie.

I wish I could say the second half made the first half worth sitting through/bearing with. I don’t even know what was the point of anything and everything I saw, it was useless from start to end, painful to watch, and I hated all the characters. I can’t decide if I was angry or heartbroken, insulted or disappointed.

It felt like I was watching someone sketch something, then erase it away, then sketch something else, only to erase it again, and then you repeat this cycle again a few more times, until you end with the same white paper you had at the start. In a nutshell, that’s what my experience was like when watching Mary and the Witch’s Flower.

If you strip away the beautiful artwork that made it look like the other works by Studio Ghibli, you will be left with a film that is NOTHING like what Studio Ghibli stands for. No values to be learnt, no depth to the characters, no creativity nor originality. Branding this as a “children’s film” absolutely does not justify the quality of work I see here. The art was beautiful, so WHY did they not put in more effort to the screenplay? It’s such a shame, really.

I’m very affected because I’m such a fan of Studio Ghibli, I grew up watching their films, it’s everything to me. What hurts the most is that I see a bit of Kiki, Howl’s Moving Castle, Laputa, Ponyo and Princess Mononoke in this film. There was nothing original about this movie. It felt like they took snippets of everything and smashed them together into this… thing.

It’s with a heavy heart when I say I don’t recommend this movie.