Review: 'The Boy and the Heron'

The Boy and the Heron
Posted on 01/03/2024
The Boy and the HeronReview: 'The Boy and the Heron'
Noah Shin
Staff Editor
[email protected]

Poster used for the theatrical release of The Boy and the Heron

The Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki recently came out of his retirement after a 10 year hiatus. He did this in order to make his newest feature film, The Boy and the Heron. It tells the story of Mahito, a child grieving the loss of his mother, as he encounters a mystical heron and travels to a different world through a mysterious tower linked to his family’s history.

Miyazaki, often regarded as one of the greatest living directors, has been directing since the 80s and has created 11 feature films, all of which have had commercial success and critical acclaim. However, his 12th film, The Boy and the Heron sadly does not deliver a story of the same quality as his previous work.

A characteristic of many of Miyazaki’s films has been his world building which allows viewers to immerse themselves into foreign worlds. Unfortunately, this aspect of The Boy and the Heron is lacking. The world Miyazaki has imagined is clear but lacks depth. Locations are not fully explored, ideas are not fully developed, and characters are not given enough screen time for the audience to develop a connection with them. Because of this, the audience is left slightly detached from the events of the film.

However, The Boy and the Heron has amazing visuals, possibly the best Miyazaki has ever done. The animation and visual design of the world, heightened by the masterful score and sound design, may be enough of a reason to see this movie, even with its flaws.

While The Boy and the Heron is definitely not Miyazaki’s best work, it is definitely not a bad film and is still worth a watch in theaters. I give it a 7/10.
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