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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

The Boy and the Beast movie rating: yellow light

The Boy and the Beast yellow light

Orphaned human child travels to another world to become warrior apprentice to a grumpy monster, and it’s a same-old hero’s journey with nary a twist to surprise you. A few instances of gorgeous and magical imagery cannot make up for the lack of genuine emotion or a fresh story. Strictly for devoted anime fans.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): not much of an anime fan

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

(My Ratings posts are a quick way for me to share my reaction to a film. This post will be updated if/when I ever write a review. Feel free to discuss the movie in depth in the comments section.)


yellow light 2.5 stars

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The Boy and the Beast (2016)
US/Can release: Mar 04 2016

MPAA: rated PG-13 for some violence and language

viewed on my iPad

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • Jonathan Roth

    Sorry to hear that. I’ll certainly be watching this because I really like Mamoru Hosoda’s other films, and any fim with animal-people is right up my alley.

    (Speaking of, I’m eagerly awaiting the Zootopia/Zootropolis review. :D )

  • I can’t post for weeks yet on Zootropolis, so don’t hold your breath.

  • Jonathan Roth

    Well, I’ll just have to take heart in the green light then.

  • Danielm80

    The sad thing is: Zootopia is a thinly-disguised allegory about race relations, and yet the cast is about 90% white people. Gorgeous animation, though.

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  • Selma Goran

    If you’re interested in an anime film with a more coherent story, female characters, and depth and meaning; go see ‘Only Yesterday’. It was recently re-released with an English cast, namely Daisy Ridley from Star Wars.

  • Josh Leitzel

    *rolls eyes*

  • Josh Leitzel

    I will never truly understand the “not much of an anime fan” mantra. It’s just a medium of which stories are told. It’s not a genre or anything. It encompasses all genres and honestly, digging deep enough is bound to reveal plenty to like for people of various preferences and tastes. You don’t hear people claiming that they’re not “Western television fans.” Sure, there’s a lot of garbage too, but you know, the 90% law. Although Japanese animation does have specific production traits that differ from the norm elsewhere in the world, so I guess I can understand if those tendencies turn some people off.

  • It’s just a medium of which stories are told

    And it’s a medium that I don’t much appreciate.

  • Why are you rolling your eyes?

  • Josh Leitzel

    Because of Danielm80’s entire comment, essentially.

  • Josh Leitzel

    I can understand not personally being into it, but it does deserve a certain, basic level of appreciation. Especially with auteurs such as Mamoru Hosoda, Shinichiro Watanabe and Satoshi Kon existing within it.

    I don’t consider myself much of a fan, I just appreciate talented and passionately produced entertainment. Even if my respect can outweigh my own enjoyment of it.

    Hell, The Restaurant of Many Orders is a Japanese animated short film, yet most people would never know from first glance or judgement because of their own preconceived ideas of what anime “is,” or is supposed to look like. It doesn’t make any sense, honestly.

  • Bluejay

    But, MaryAnn, you DO recognize good anime when you see it. You’ve reviewed several Studio Ghibli films very favorably, and you’ve enthusiastically praised Satoshi Kon. Maybe it’s not necessarily that you don’t appreciate the medium, but just that you don’t think a lot of stories told in that medium reach Miyazaki/Kon standards?

  • If you would like to engage in conversation here, then please, you know, engage in conversation.

  • but it does deserve a certain, basic level of appreciation.

    Why?

  • Maybe it’s not necessarily that you don’t appreciate the medium

    No, it’s that the tropes of the medium — like the style of animation — are not something that generally appeal to me. That doesn’t mean that some movies can’t overcome my aversion. But few do.

  • Josh Leitzel

    Isn’t it obvious? The works of those gifted few deserve at the very least an ounce of respect for their talent, influence and artistic vision alone. Not to mention how much other, notably western, media has been influenced by the likes of Kon, Oshii and Miyazaki.

  • Saying I am not inclined to a particular genre or style does not deny anyone any respect. I am sharing with you my mindset as I go into a film. That’s it.

  • Josh Leitzel

    Well a lack of appreciation is essentially denying respect.

    Animation doesn’t have an official “style.”

  • Bluejay

    She has praised Kon and Miyazaki’s works. She’s given them more than an ounce of respect.

  • Bluejay

    claiming a lack of appreciation is essentially denying a level of respect.

    Really? I’m not a football fan. If a football game came on TV I’d change the channel. But I’m aware that football requires skill, strategy, grit, hard work, and thousands of hours of practice. Football players are capable of physical feats I could never do, and they have my respect. But it’s not my thing and I’m not inclined to watch it. It is absolutely possible to not be into something and still respect it.

    MaryAnn is admitting her bias upfront, which few reviewers are honest about. That gives you information about where she’s coming from and helps you decide whether you find her review useful. If it’s not useful to you, move on.

  • Animation doesn’t have an official “style.”

    Anime does.

    I am done explaining myself to you.

  • Josh Leitzel

    No, it doesn’t. It may have a predominant style/aesthetic, but as already said, there’s hardly an official bible in place that requires it all to look stereotypically “anime.” There is a lot of visually unique stuff out there beyond the typical late night industry that crowds the market. Like the previously mentioned Restaurant of Many Orders. The method of “limited animation” that grew to wide use through the 70’s is the only aspect that could mostly be considered universal. And even then, there are exceptions.

    “I am done explaining myself to you.”

    That’s fine, you never had to.

  • Bluejay

    No one ever claimed there was an actual anime bible. But as you yourself just admitted, anime has “a predominant style/aesthetic,” a “typical [style] that crowds the market,” and a “method… that grew to wide use through the 70’s… that could mostly be considered universal.” So anime DOES have a TYPICAL look that people can find appealing or unappealing, depending on their taste. Yes, you point out exceptions, but no one ever said there weren’t any exceptions. And MaryAnn HAS reviewed several works of anime very favorably, mostly by the masters you mention. So, really, what are you arguing about?

  • Danielm80

    Here’s an interesting, fairly technical article on the differences between Japanese and American animation and how they came about. It has very little to do with the discussion above, but it’s fascinating, if you happen to be fascinated by animation or by cultural history.

    https://wavemotioncannon.com/2016/01/08/why-over-sixty-years-of-animation-history-still-remains-obscure/

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