Cold takes: Frozen 2 and Knives Out

New Warhorn Media post by Nathan Alberson:

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[I’m pretty sure this is the correct episode…]

I had a similar experience to Jake with another Miyazaki movie.

Last year or so I read an article about how Hayao Miyazaki movies are more feminine in nature. Especially in the way the stories are resolved. Not through a climactic conflict, but through some sort of relational tactic. I can’t find the article, sorry.

I thought that was interesting. I’d seen a number of these movies, and I didn’t remember them being very endearing. Maybe I can watch one with my 6 year old and 3 year old…

The most recent of these movies I’d watched was Spirited Away. That was 10+ years ago, and I do remember it being a little freaky in parts. That left Ponyo and My Neighbor Totoro.

Ponyo was the Disney-fied Miyazaki movie. I remembered something about a bubble girl and a flood. My Neighbor Totoro has huge fluffy bunny things and a giant cat bus. Cat bus it is!

I ordered the My Neighbor Totoro dvd from Amazon, made popcorn, popped in the movie, and… Oy! Hey, that’s an abandoned shrine. These girls are praying to the forest spirits. And look! The fluffy-bunny-forest-spirit-things are dancing to make the trees grow…

I guess, when I first watched these movies, the Japanese culture elements were simply part of the story. When reading my preferred genre was fantasy, so I think I had a way of compartmentalizing the “strange stuff”. But now it’s about my kids, and all the weird crap being poured into their heads.

My daughter is 6, and I don’t think any of the movie stuck with her. However, it seems a little too early (or I’m to cowardly) to have that particular conversation.


Unlike Jake, I let my mom take 2 of my daughters to Frozen 2 the day after Thanksgiving. When telling me about the movie afterwards, my 4 year old daughter said to me:
“I don’t think you would like it. The girl part was awesome, but the boy part was kind of dumb.”


One aspect I like about the Miyazaki films is that the characters are more dimensional than most American movies. The best character always has something of a slight flaw. The worst character is never completely beyond redemption. Obviously Miyazaki is not setting out to convey a Christian message, but I think his characters reflect the complexities of real people well.

Miyazaki also does not write male characters as idiots. Haku, Howl, and others are great male characters. The dad in My Neighbor Totoro is respectable and respected by his kids - something you would never see in a US film. There are definitely pantheistic subplots that the careful Christian thinker needs to check their conscience over. I simply talk about them with my daughter and reason through them. Wouldn’t judge anyone for simply avoiding them. But pound for pound, I think Studio Ghibli presents far better fare for kids than anything out of Disney since the 1960s.

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