Posted on August 19, 2012 AT 12:35pm
If you are looking for something that is a little more “family friendly” then look not further than Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror. The movie is about a 16 year old girl named, Haruka, and her journey to find her lost hand mirror that her deceased mother had given her. She goes to a shrine to leave and offering and ends up on an unexpected journey. Along the way she discovers the importance of cherishing the things you love, even your memories and gains a new relationship with her father.
Oblivion Island is a land were neglected things go. The neglected items are collected by small masked creatures, and taken to magical world where they are turned into useful items. It’s lorded over by “The Baron” and mirrors contain an extra special magic in Oblivion Island. Haruka finds herself in Oblivion Island after following a strange creature, Teo, that she saw swipe her keys while she was at the shrine. There is an important lesson to be learned in this movie, and that is to take care of the things that are important to you whether they are physical or intangible and to not judge others unfairly.
The animation style was mixed and intriguing. While much of the movie was decidedly computer animated, there were moments when it looked like a painting. I found the mix of textures gave the movie less of a computer-generated feel. Oblivion Island itself was wonderfully rendered in bright colors and a mishmash of discarded things, dutifully recreated. It made me want to visit Oblivion Island. I was fascinated by the imagination it took to create this world made entirely of found objects.
The voice-acting and music were delightfully done. Though at first I thought Haruka was a spoiled brat because that was how she was portrayed but the voice actress did a great job of transitioning Haruka into the caring girl she really was as the story progressed. You began to care about Haruka and wanting her to succeed in finding her mother’s hand mirror. You could feel her attitude change just by the tones of the voice acting. All the characters were well cast, even the bullies. It is always amazing what a difference a good voice match makes to an animated movie.
My main issue with Oblivion Island was it did not feel complete. While it told a good story I felt the it was a little lacking. I would have liked to know more about The Baron and why he was in the position he was in. It was not completely clear whether he was liked or hated, though we all know Teo did not like him. I was left with questions about the world of Oblivion Island. The story overall was good and my kids had no problem following what was going on. It reminded me of the fairy tales I was told when I was a kid, very nostalgic.
Summary: It could have used a little more comic relief. Not all movies need comedy but since this appeared to be a family film, the little relief from the tension would have been good for the younger viewers. Sometimes being too intense for an entire movie can be too much for kids. I didn’t find anything that I would consider too frightening for younger children unless you happen to have an extremely sensitive child.
- THE GOOD: Family friendly, good story, and well scripted.
- THE BAD: Too tense.
- THE UGLY: Story needed more “flesh”.
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