April and the Extraordinary World
April and the Extraordinary World (2015) is a good adventure film that is quite rare to see these days. Although it covers many topics including, it is never bogged down and never goes exhibits the typical science is evil cliche. While watching, I felt this had a Ghibli vibe to it.
In this short form, I explain where I find the Ghibli tropes or vibes. As a Ghibli fan, I have seen majority of its films to have the right to mention its similarities or tropes.
I like Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) and I like cats, thus I like Gigi although he may not be a vital character. When I saw the talking cat, Darwin, I made the connection.
The similarity ends when the animal sidekick becomes a vital character in relaying information, getting in unreachable places and possibly saving the world from annihilation. This talking black cat strangely raises the bar for what sidekicks can accomplish.
Along the same lines, the protagonist seems like an older Kiki specially when she gets her pink dress. Similar only to a dress as our protagonist is smarter and less moody although the romance could have been removed.
Spirited Away (2001) is a masterpiece, the quintessential or representative Ghibli film. Weirdly, is it a thing to take the parents away or turn them into pigs?
The strange thing is that the parents are meddling or planning on their own, meaning they are not irrelevant. In a way, the parents exist or their presence is felt in the story.
I consider Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) as a Ghibli film although it predates the founding of the studio. When the lightning cloud and various flying machines appeared, I can't help but think of the original wind rider.
It is not that air planes exist but how they make the world more magical like with the lightning plane or airships.
Castle in the Sky (1986) is a good film in their repertoire but nothing I would cry about. When the snow globe of our protagonist was injected with the serum, I thought about the magical stone pendant.
The snow globe became magical or imbued with power to bring life through the elixir of science. This notion ends once it is known the old elixir does not work but the new, a fake-out.
Howl's Moving Castle (2004) is a classic specially the magnificent soundtrack. When I saw the Meta-Mansion, I was looking for Calcifer.
The similarity ends since there is no flame spirit and it is only used once and is destroyed. In a way, the castle or house is not a character.
Several other references exist but I hope these points show how this film made me think of Ghibli tropes and themes. These points do not belong exclusively to Ghibli, it also can be alluded to Disney. Even if the film is a hodgepodge of tropes and variations, it is still a film on its own. I highly recommend watching and supporting this rare adventure film even if you haven't explored the cinematography of the great Studio Ghibli.