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The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness DVD Review

The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness DVD

Animation lovers and film buffs will find much to admire about “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness.”

When it comes to animated cinema, Studio Ghibli is unquestionably up there with the likes of Disney. Time and time again, the studio (which is known for beloved classics such as “My Neighbor Totoro” and the Academy Award winning “Spirited Away”) has produced imaginative and profound works of art.

Now, as most of you know, the master of this “kingdom” is director Hayao Miyazaki. While he hasn’t directed every film the studio has produced, the visionary creator has certainly helmed the majority of their major works. More than that, however, Miyazaki is essentially the figurehead of the famed studio. I bring this fact up as the documentary film “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness” is very much about Studio Ghibli AND Hayao Miyazaki.

Despite running an excessively long 118 minutes that could have easily been trimmed down, the free flowing ‘Kingdom’ is nevertheless an engrossing documentary feature film that was shot amidst the production of “The Wind Rises” and “The Tale of Princess Kaguya.” The film primarily explores the day to day business/production operations that take place at Studio Ghibli while also giving us a glimpse into the life of the eccentric Miyazaki. Whether he’s working on drawings, talking about his art, trying to meet deadlines, discussing his intentions for “The Wind Rises,” or waxing about philosophy and his future, the mindset of the legendary filmmaker never ceases to fascinate.

Of course, Miyazaki is not the ONLY person that is in the film. Producer Suzuki and a large number of employees are also interviewed here. In fact, we even get to see how they work with Miyazaki in some instances. The only puzzling aspect of this documentary is that making of Kaguya is hardly focused on here. It is mentioned on a number of occasions, but the actual production of that film (and the staff working on it) is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps they refused to be filmed?


Presentation: Widescreen. How does it look? The documentary was incredibly well shot so it shouldn’t be a surprise that this transfer is high quality.

Audio Track: Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1. How does it sound? Perfectly adequate.

* “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness” trailer and other GKids trailers.
* “Digest Short Film”- Less of a short film and more of a collection of footage.
* “Ushiko Investigates!”- A 32 minute extra told from the POV of a cat (Ushiko) that lives at Studio Ghibli. The featurette is essentially a behind-the-scenes look at the studio operations.

Overall Thoughts: Having an appreciation of Studio Ghibli is necessary to see “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness,” but it certainly helps. Fans of the studio and Miyazaki will certainly be thrilled to see where the magic happens while also getting a closer to look at Miyazaki’s own creative process. Check it out.

April 28, 2015 - Posted by | DVD review | , ,

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