The last two films that I have seen in the theater have a lot of similarities. But they also have some distinctive qualities that make them unique as well. Those films? They are When Marnie Was There and Inside Out
Both are animated features. Both feature young females in prominent roles. Both have great voice casts. And both are done by the best in animation (Studio Ghibli and Pixar). They both tell compelling stories and are both worth the price of admission.
The differences speak to the art of animation, it’s past as well as it’s future. When Marnie Was There, being a Studio Ghibli film, is more in the traditional ink and paint animation style. Studio Ghibli has done some computer animation, they are most known for their traditional animation style (as well as telling great stories). Pixar, on the other hand, has been known for it’s cutting edge CGI animation and Inside Out shows that off.
The stories the two films tell are also different in the sense of source material. Inside Out is an original IP (intellectual property), which was a staple of Pixar films in the beginning (though you can’t fault them for sequels like Toy Story 2 & Toy Story 3). When Marnie Was There is based on a book written by Joan G. Robinson.
Probably the one thing that stood out to me, now having watched both films was this. When Marnie Was There is the end of an era. It has the distinction of being (as of right now) the last feature film released by Studio Ghibli. With the retirement of co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, news was released that the studio was taking a “hiatus” from feature films. If this does end up being the last Studio Ghibli film, then they went out on a high note. Inside Out, on the other hand, is the first Pixar feature film to be released in theaters in two years. Anticipation was high prior to it’s release, and it has met (and some cases exceeded expectations). Depending on how good The Good Dinosaur does come Thanksgiving, Pixar could have another resurgence.
Having seen both films, I can say two things. 1) I enjoyed both of them and the stories that they told. 2) If I had to choose which one I enjoyed more, I would have to say When Marnie Was There. Granted I saw When Marnie Was There at the historic Belcourt Theater in Nashville and I am a huge Studio Ghibli fan, but for me that story resonated more with me. I’ll say it was a very bittersweet feeling I had watching that film know that it could be the last Studio Ghibli film I see in a theater. Those films never got the wide release in the States that other animated films get (though there were a few exceptions).
Given the box office that Inside Out had its opening weekend, I’m sure you have seen it (or are planning on seeing it). But I would hope that if there is a theater in your area that’s showing When Marnie Was There that you check it out as well. Both are great films (animated or not).