Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) Review


Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Majo no takkyūbin
Japanese: 魔女の宅急便

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Based on Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono

Minami Takayama
Rei Sakuma
Kappei Yamaguchi

(English Dub Voice Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Janeane Garofalo, Matthew Lawrence, Brad Garrett, Debbie Reynolds, Edie McClurg)

Running time: 102 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service.


My Opinion:

Version Watched: Japanese with English subtitles & English dubbed version

Well, I already reviewed My Neighbor Totoro on Tuesday so I figured I’d do this one today & will try to review Ponyo tomorrow. I guess this will then be the week of the most “child friendly” Studio Ghibli films (of what I’ve seen so far). 🙂

Kiki’s Delivery Service is one that has really grown on me. Like I mentioned in my Totoro review, I often like a movie even more when I get to see it through a child’s eyes & see how much they enjoy it. Kiki’s is fun and very innocent – it’s a great film for young kids (especially girls). It’s easily the most “Western” of the Ghiblis I’ve seen so, for those of you who’ve been reading these reviews and are still not sure about watching a Ghibli film due to some of them being a little strange, this movie may be a good introduction. It’s not the best Studio Ghibli movie if you’re comparing it to the more “worthy” films they’ve made but I know some bloggers here on WordPress have a lot of affection for it as I think it’s one that some of you youngsters grew up with. I know that I’d absolutely adore it if I’d seen it at a young age.


The story is very simple: a 13-year-old witch must go out on her own for a year to make a life for herself & gain independence. Kiki takes along her talking cat Jiji & ends up living above a bakery where she helps the owner by flying on her broomstick to quickly deliver the goods to customers. She makes several new friends, all of whom help Kiki to find herself & to fit in.


The story is about girls growing up & gaining independence and confidence as well as dealing with feelings of self-doubt. These are great themes for young girls but it’s also such a fun movie that the very young will enjoy just watching Kiki fly around on her broomstick and talk to her adorable cat. Kiki is another strong female role model from Ghibli but as she’s so young she’s unsure of herself at times unlike other characters such as Nausicaä & Princess Mononoke. It makes her feel more human & realistic. In looking for pictures for these Ghibli reviews, I of course see loads of cosplay photos and I’ve seen more girls dressed as Kiki than any other character so far so she’s obviously very popular. I do love her look of a simple black dress, big red bow, broomstick & cute black cat. 🙂


Subtitled vs Dubbed:

I figured I’d mention this like I did in my review of Howl’s Moving Castle as I’d have to say that the English dubbing for Kiki’s Delivery Service is my least favorite of the dubbed Ghiblis I’ve seen. The majority of the characters aren’t too bad and Kirsten Dunst’s Kiki is tolerable, I guess – she just talks way too fast and doesn’t really suit the character that well. However, my main issue was with the cat! I watched the subtitled version first and absolutely loved the cat. He’s funny & has a little bit of an attitude (in a good way). In the dubbed version, he’s voiced by Phil Hartman and he ad-libbed a lot. I found the cat much less likeable and with a little TOO much attitude in this version. Hartman did add some pretty funny lines and I’m sure kids really like his version fine but it just didn’t work for me. Plus I think, as Kiki’s is a far less strange film and has a very straightforward story & characters unlike other Ghibli films, the one thing that keeps it feeling at all Japanese is the original language. In English, Kiki’s Delivery Service almost feels like a Disney movie. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing… These are small complaints, though – I think it’s a very sweet film but, if you don’t have kids and want to watch this one yourself, I highly recommend the subtitled version over the dubbed.



Kiki’s Delivery Service is probably the most kid friendly of all the Studio Ghibli films and a great one for young girls as it has a very realistic female role model. It’s for the young as well as the young at heart. It is aimed more at girls than some of the other films but certainly worth a watch for true Ghibli fans of all ages. It doesn’t have the “magic” of My Neighbor Totoro but it’s still a lot of fun. Do yourself a favor if you’re an adult watching it without a kid, though, and watch the far superior subtitled version.

My Rating: 8/10


Singin’ In The Rain (1952) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Kelechi of Confessions From A Geek Mind. Thanks for the review, Kelechi! Now let’s see what he has to say about Singin’ In The Rain, IMDB rank 86 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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Every time I watch Singin’ in the Rain it always leaves me with a smile on my face.  Why?  Because this is the greatest musical ever made.

 It’s a bold statement from me considering when you have so many fantastic musicals – Cabaret, The Wizard of Oz, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Grease, Mary Poppins etc.  Yet nothing really compares with Singin’ in the Rain.  It’s a masterpiece.

 “Well, we movie stars get the glory. I guess we have to take the little heartaches that go with it. People think we lead lives of glamour and romance, but we’re really lonely – terribly lonely.” – Don Lockwood

 Singin’ in the Rain tells the story of Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), a famous film star of the silent movie era.  From his humble beginnings he has worked his way to the top alongside his best friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O’ Connor).  From the outside, Don seemed to have it all – the fame, attention and the perfect off-screen relationship with fellow actress Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen).  But it’s all a lie and an encounter with aspiring actress Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) brings him down to Earth.  But with Hollywood transitioning over to the talkies, Don has to make changes both professionally and personally for the sake of his career and happiness.

The beauty of Singin’ in the Rain comes down to the plot.  It’s easy to overlook but Singin’ in the Rain is a celebration and tribute to a forgotten past.  The character of Don Lockwood represents the hundreds of actors who had made their success and fortune during the silent movie period.  They captivated the screen with their Hollywood good looks and their theatrical performance. At first the audience was sceptical of cinema because majority were theatregoers. Kathy Selden’s comment between herself and Don as she drives him home illustrates the perception divide between theatre and cinema – “if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all”.   Yet audiences couldn’t get enough of the medium and everything changed in 1927 with The Jazz Singer, the first film with synchronized sound.  It was a groundbreaking achievement with audiences flocking to the cinema to embrace the new technology and the studios took note.  Now every movie they made had to have sound.  Every cinema had to be upgraded and equipped so they could stay up to date with demand and attendances.  There were hiccups along the way (which was comically demonstrated in the film) but the impact of sound was significant.

During this transition, actors who thrived during the silent era suddenly had to change and adapt. No longer could they get away with their good looks and theatrical performances – they had to sound the part.  Some actors became stubborn, thinking talkies wouldn’t last.  In the end, the result was conclusive.  Those who adapted (like the fictional character Don Lockwood) continued in the business and found a new lease of life.  Those who couldn’t or stubbornly refused to take part in the transition, their careers declined which is where Lina Lamont, a shallow, calculating yet dim-witted star probably ended up.

Ultimately this film gives you a unique perspective to cinema history without you realising it!

Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously. Moses he knowses his toeses aren’t roses as Moses supposes his toeses to be.” – Don and Cosmo

I look at Singin’ in the Rain as a time in Hollywood when movies were movies.  Films you know they simply don’t make anymore.  Where you look at the cast and all you can see is talent, whether it was singing or dancing.  Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’ Connor are simply brilliant.

Gene Kelly has a lovable charm with his ‘melt like butter’ smile.  His comic timing is perfect, especially when he’s interacting with his best friend, Cosmo.   In the early scenes with Kathy (a character who is feisty yet honest), Gene’s on-screen chemistry and attraction with Debbie Reynolds is believable.  Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont adds the comedic touch – beautiful to look at as long as you don’t let her speak!  A selfish character you love to hate and yet her tongue is blessed with wicked lines.

The dancing is off the chart.  Technically brilliant and never missing a beat, it’s completely mesmerising, hypnotic and breathless.  I dare you to watch Cosmo’s “Make ‘Em Laugh” if you think any different.  It’s full of positivity and high energy that has been rigorously rehearsed again and again until perfection.  Most shots filmed in one take that could give the tracking shot from True Detective a run for its money.  The music is simple, melodic yet memorable, always capturing the feel good spirit of the film.  When the two elements are mixed together you have a deadly yet seamless combination (with an added bonus of comedy).

The core reason for that is because the central focus is love.  Singin’ in the Rain is an emotive experience.  That feeling inspires the songs, the dancing and the dialogue. Whether its love for a special person or a friend, a love shared through laughter or love for the things you do, Singin’ in the Rain naturally ticks all the boxes.  It emphasises that it can make you a better person and without it you would be like Don and Lina – empty and lonely.  So when Don sings the title song, his love with Kathy is more than just words.  It’s something you can’t express in writing so he chooses the only way he knows – he dances and he sings…and probably caught hypothermia in the process!  But it doesn’t matter because the feeling of love is greater than any force imaginable.  That’s why this dance sequence works and why it’s the most cinematic and iconic moment in film history.

While the Oscar winning film The Artist took a page out of Singin’ in the Rain, in the end you are swept up in the magic of this film.  Not only does it pay tribute to cinema history, this film is history – one that will be treasured for the rest of time.

I can’t think of a better film that will make you feel on top of the world.