It is the world of man, not beast, that makes this coming-of-age movie most touching.
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Hosoda brings emotional depth to what could easily have become a formulaic martial arts saga. Instead, Boy and Beast is a bracing tale of two flawed individuals who find the love and discipline they need to assume their rightful places in their respective worlds.
The style isn’t necessarily inferior to Studio Ghibli—it’s just different.... But once the shift in plot occurs to add drama, the visuals change as well.
The Boy and the Beast might not quite have the storytelling sophistication to win over every adult, but for teens and tweens in the midst of their own coming-of-age stories, it has the potential to be a wondrous eye-opener.
A huge success in Japan, this thrilling, if overlong, epic from director Mamoru Hosoda (Wolf Children, Summer Wars) is part "Karate Kid" and part Japanese folklore.
Rising to the challenge of delivering a rousing finale, Hosoda does sock over a spectacular climactic battle on and below the streets of Tokyo with imaginative aplomb.
There are elements of The Boy And The Beast that undoubtedly reinforce the promise that Hosoda holds: it’s a treat to look at, is inventive in spots, and will probably be eaten up by younger viewers. But it ultimately proves both narratively unsatisfying and emotionally lacking.
Though it piles all sorts of emotional baggage onto a series of already-tired believe-in-yourself cliches, Hosoda’s over-complicated script has the virtue of expressing itself less via words than it does through truly spectacular set pieces.
For answers, prepare to sit through two hours of complications, though you will probably figure it out before the spectacular ending.
Mamoru Hosoda's The Boy and the Beast works with many common anime tropes but doesn't find anything new to say about them.