This affectionate documentary is more of a bonbon for longtime fans than an entryway for a broader audience.
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If you’re not enraptured with the work of Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and the rest of the artists at Ghibli, it may not be precisely what you’re looking for, but Sanada captures something poetic about art and creativity that could speak to anyone, animation fan or otherwise.
Sunada has managed the incredible task of editing all these anecdotes into a flowing whole, an unfettered celebration of cinema as a concoction of vision, persistence, collective faith and, of course, some canniness about how the world operates. Rather than diminishing the seventh art's magic, Sunada's documentary enhances it.
Building to an emotional wallop that’s almost on par with anything found in one of Miyazaki’s or Takahata’s films, The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness is pornographically interesting for Studio Ghibli fans; as a delicate depiction of the artistic spirit, it’s equally essential viewing for everyone else.
The documentary is hesitant to show the great work that resulted from Hayao Miyazaki's "grand hobby," never including clips from the classics referred to throughout.
This seemingly ordinary biographical documentary about the retiring animation master unfolds, at a deceptively gentle pace, into a work of immense beauty.
The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness is a great name for a documentary about Hayao Miyazaki and his animation house, Japan’s Studio Ghibli.
Sunada's critical distance makes Kingdom of Dreams and Madness the clear-eyed celebration that Ghibli's artists deserve.
Like Ghibli’s features, Kingdom is a friendly, elegiac, approachable movie. But it lacks the studio’s well-polished sense of energy and commitment.
He’s the dreamer in the machine, and if he truly is retiring, the world stands to look a lot more ordinary.