The Boy and the Beast (2015)

The Boy and the Beast Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The Boy and the Beast Movie Review

The Boy and the Beast is a 2015 fantasy anime film directed by Mamoru Hosoda. It is a pretty good, if disappointing movie.

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You can’t tell which one’s the master anymore

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The Boy and the Beast Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

It is about a lonely orphan boy who stumbles into the beast world and is taken as a disciple by one of the beasts who is as lonely as he is and the film basically follows the relationship between the two. And that relationship is naturally the highlight and the heart of the movie and is pretty strongly developed. I also liked the drama elements in the second half and the conflict of the main character and his life in both worlds is really well explored.

What I didn’t like here is the movie’s lack of identity. I really didn’t like that third act. Well, I respected the animation and some of the visual choices were original there, but the emphasis on action and spectacle bothered me as the film was mostly a fantasy drama before and suddenly delved into blockbuster territory. Hosoda mixed too many things in here and the mish-mash did feel odd at times.

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The Boy and the Beast Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The character development isn’t the strongest, but is pretty good nonetheless. Ren is a somewhat typical, yet very well realized protagonist and Kumatetsu is easily the highlight as he is such a likable beast. The two are great together and their relationship is heartwarming. But unfortunately all of the others are pretty forgettable and Ichirohiko’s plot arc did feel a bit abrupt and underdeveloped.

The Boy and the Beast has a usually exceptional animation. The character designs are strong, especially those of the beasts whose looks I really liked. But the scenery is so good and some of the camera movements were absolutely magnificent, especially during action sequences. I didn’t particularly care for the action here, but it is undeniable that it was well executed. I especially liked the wide angle shots of the crowds of people. And some of the streets were just gorgeous to watch.

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The Boy and the Beast Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

As for the other technical aspects, the score was good, though sometimes a bit odd in its choices. The direction from Mamoru Hosoda is expectedly strong and the voice acting is excellent. The fantasy elements were the finest as well as the drama ones with the action stuff coming in at the last place, at least for me. But I did really like that whale near the end as it was gorgeous to behold and so authentic. The entire movie is sometimes derivative and too oddly mashed together, but you can’t deny that there were some definite flashes of originality here, especially in the visual department. The pacing is also really good and the film’s running time is never long despite lasting for 2 hours. The story is epic and it demanded that much run time. I also liked its humor and its light tone at times and watching the two goof around was amusing. But the realism present in its dramatic second half is also really respectable and I really liked the clash between these two worlds, especially in the protagonist’s head. The dialogue is also pretty good, but I wanted for a bit more emotion as the story demanded it. All in all, The Boy and the Beast is a bit of a disappointment in the director’s awesome filmography, but as a film on its own, it is pretty good nonetheless.

The Boy and the Beast has awesome and sometimes quite inspired animation, excellent main characters and their relationship, some really good and superbly executed scenes and good themes, but the film is still far from Mamoru Hosoda’s best works owing to its lack of identity in its odd mixture of plot elements which is most evident in its action oriented finale which is well executed but a jarring choice for this movie.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 2010s, 2015, Animated, ANIME, Fantasy, Foreign, Japanese and tagged , , , , , , .

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