Renowned Japanese animator and Studio Ghibli chief Hayao Miyazaki has twice announced his retirement. But you can't keep the man from his art, and Miyazaki now returns with another masterpiece in the making, The Boy and the Heron. The movie has been confirmed for a December release in the UK and the latest trailer has arrived. (Scroll to the end to watch it.)
The legendary creator of Spirited Away and countless other Studio Ghibli classics now brings us another delicate and visually ravishing fable. It centres on a young boy named Mahito Maki who discovers an abandoned tower in his new town and enters a fantastical world with a talking grey heron.
It sounds like classic Studio Ghibli territory, openly crossing the boundary between make-believe and reality to fashion a powerful statement on man's connection with nature and the limits of one's own imagination. The title is borrowed from the 1937 novel of the same name but otherwise is a completely original creation.
The film is slated to be Miyazaki's last, although we've heard that before. If it's true, then The Boy and the Heron will be a genuine historical marking point, capping off one of the most astonishing careers in the history of animation.
The movie screened at the recent BFI London Film Festival where it received critical acclaim. Sci-fi Now writer Katherine McLaughlin lauds the movie as "a masterpiece", adding: "If this truly is Miyazaki's swan song then it's one hell of a goodbye – an exquisitely crafted animation packed full of imagination, humour, tenderness and all pieced together by the erudite hand of a filmmaker reflecting on life and death in all its heart-breaking and messy wonder."
Then there's the outstanding voice cast for the English dub. Christian Bale, Florence Pugh, Robert Pattinson, Dave Bautista, Gemma Chan, Willem Dafoe, Karen Fukuhara and Mark Hamill make a formidable line-up as they bring the tale to life. Indeed, Pattinson's raspy delivery as the titular grey heron is something else.
If that's piqued your interest then feast your eyes on the trailer for The Boy and the Heron.
The Boy and the Heron is released in the UK on December 26th and is expected to be a frontrunner for the Best Animated Film Oscar. On that note, click the link below to keep up with all of our Oscars 2024 content.