As I said in my post on 5cm Per Second, Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo, aka Children Who Chase Lost Voices, was a disappointing movie. Many people have written about Makoto Shinkai being “the next Hayao Miyazaki”, but this movie makes me hope that those people are wrong. The reason being that Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo feels exactly like a Miyazaki film, but without any kind of heart or soul. It just feels like a copy, through and through.
It has the supernatural fantasy elements(not just sci-fi like in some of Shinkai’s other movies), it has the lonely girl main character and the mysterious boy who she befriends. It has a separate magical world, a malicious antagonistic organisation and themes surrounding nature and war. It’s like a heap of Laputa with a hint of Nausicaa and Mononoke-hime, or vice versa, or something. And that’s disappointing, because I think Shinkai is great at doing his own thing, and his own thing is sufficiently different from most other movies. Of course, I can’t know the real reason behind why Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo was made, but I think it was a waste. Even visually, a department in which Shinkai’s films famously excel, picking a fight with Studio Ghibli is maybe not the best idea. I do think Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo looks better than Laputa and Nausicaa, but only because those movies are pretty old. Mononoke-hime, on the other hand, is much closer, and arguably more visually interesting, at least in my opinion.