Whisper of the Heart DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

An interesting movie that gives us a decent "behind the scenes" look at it's creation.
  • OVERALL
    4.0
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
An interesting movie that gives us a decent "behind the scenes" look at it's creation.
THE BAD
Nothing.
THE FEATURE
Whisper of the Heart is another film from the brilliant minds of Studio Ghibli. I am reticent to try and fully explain this movie as A) I think that wouldn't do it justice and B) I am not sure that I can. These films all start off in very unassuming ways. They seem like regular movies. Then, at about ten to thirty minutes into the story, something magical happens and the film favors ideas and emotions eschewing a narrative plot altogether.

This tale follows a young schoolgirl who is taken on an adventure where she will discover what she is truly meant to be. This is the best way I can describe this film because it takes so many turns along the way, that I honestly feel I need to see it a few more times in order to make a better assessment. That said, I think viewers will be very taken by Whisper of the Heart and all it has to offer.
THE EXTRAS
Behind the Microphone

We are treated to a look at how the voices for the American version of this film were recorded by Brittany Snow, Courtney Thorne-Smith, David Gallagher and Cary Elwes. As I have said before, I enjoy seeing the actors create their voices because they really seem to let go and allow themselves to become expressive in ways that they usually aren't. On top of this, these actors also talk about their roles, why they wanted to voice these parts and what they hope to bring to the animated characters.

Original Japanese Storyboards

I love this. In fact, I don't think I have ever gotten a Studio Ghibli DVD that didn't have the movie's storyboard set to the film's soundtrack. For aspiring animators, this is a priceless "bonus feature" if for no other reason than they get to see the nuts and bolts of how this movie was made. I am not saying you have to be an aspiring artist but I am sure that that helps when what you are watching is essentially static images.
THE VIDEO
Widescreen 1.85:1 - Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions. More than any other animated movies I have ever seen (and this includes the Pixar movies), I don't think any are as lush and as indepth as those that we get from Studio Ghibli. Whisper of the Heart looks great. Everything about this transfer seems to have taken great care to preserve this movie's rich look and tones. Great work.
THE AUDIO
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Sound in these films is just as important as the images. In fact, the whole film has this airy feeling throughout it. There is a general sense of amazement that while obviously intended by director Yoshifumi Kondo, seems like it overcame the creators in the same way it overcomes the viewers.
THE PACKAGE
The front cover of this disk features Shizuku and Seiji who are the main characters in this story. This image is so rich and evocative that I think it will immediately grab people's attention. The back cover features another image from the film, a description of what Whisper of the Heart is about, a "Special Features/Technical Specs" listing and a cast list. Disney has economically packaged both discs in this set in a double tray amaray case. This DVD is like an animation school in itself.
THE FINAL WORD
I may not totally understand the films that Studio Ghibli makes, but I feel a true sense of wonderment in my confusion. I know that people generally have a hard time with films that they can't get their heads around, but as I have said before, I think the films from this company express ideas more than anything else. As a result, movies like Whisper of the Heart can be viewed in many different ways and subsequently, one can get a different interpretation each time out.

While this vagueness may put some viewers off, for those that are willing to take the journey, I am sure that they will find Whisper of the Heart very satisfying.

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