By: Kaitlyn McKay, Columnist
“The Tale of Princess Kaguya” takes place in ancient Japan, where a middle-aged bamboo cutter (James Caan) discovers a small girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) the size of his palm inside of a bamboo shoot.
Believing that she has been sent from the gods, the bamboo cutter and his wife (Mary Steenburgen) decide to raise her as their own. As the child rapidly grows into a young girl, her father comes across gold in a bamboo shoot and takes her to the capital, believing that it is the gods’ wishes to make her into a genuine princess.
The girl is given the name “Kaguya.” Despite being the center of everyone’s attention, Kaguya becomes increasingly unhappy when those around her try to force things upon her under the pretense that it will make her “happy.”
Story-wise, the film follows very closely with its source material, “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter,” one of Japan’s oldest folktales. Anyone familiar with the tale will know how the movie ultimately ends.
The most impressive and most notable thing about the film is its animation. Studio Ghibli’s films always have impressive animation, but “Kaguya” takes a step back from their more traditional anime style, and moves more toward a watercolor style that is beautiful to look at. “Kaguya” is a quiet and slow-moving film, but still pleasant to watch. That said, the title character herself is not that interesting; Kaguya is too perfect of a character. In a sense, that is what she is suppose to be – a perfect, celestial princess – but the attempts to humanize her fall a little flat because she never comes off as a particularly warm or caring person.
“Kaguya” is just okay; it’s decent, and any animation fan should watch it, but it’s not the best that has come out of Studio Ghibli.