-Boy and Heron-Review Summary: Hayao Miyazaki-S latest gets unanimous praise after international premiere.

Hayao Miyazaki's "Boy and Heron" premiered internationally at the Toronto International Film Festival last week, and Western critics are starting to chime in on what may be the director's last feature.

The review can prove a key factor in how the boy and Heron play with a wide US audience. Die-hard fans WILL SEE REGARDLESS, but Studio Ghibli has boldly refused to make any PROMOTIONS for THE FILM, and its US distributor, GKIDS, has BEEN MINIMALIST IN ITS PROMOTIONS. There's a short teaser, some stills, and a vague synopsis written in the form of a poem:

A young boy named Mahito

yearning for his mother


Where death ends,

and life finds a new beginning.

A semi-autobiographical fantasy about life, death and creation

A tribute to friendship,

from the heart of Hayao Miyazaki.

In the spirit of keeping audiences almost in the dark, we tried to be as spoilers-free as possible in this review summary. It contains only snippets that do not contain plot details.

We read over 1 dozen reviews, checked over 1 dozen scores, and they were all full of admiration for the film. There were some thorny issues – overly complex and complex words appeared more than once – but in each case, critics were willing to overlook the shortcomings

The most common virtue cited in the critique is that the film is visually stunning. There are no unkind words in the reviews that we saw about the animation of "Boy and Heron", and many reviews say that it is the best in Miyazaki's films.

Here's a closer look at what critics say about Miyazaki's new effort:

ブライアン-タレリコRogerebert.com If we compare this film to other works by Miyazaki,

The Boy and Heron clearly play on themes that Miyazaki has explored previously with echoes such as Spirited Away, Neighbor Totoro and Howl's Moving Castle, but this is not just the biggest hit. It is the work of an artist that reflects on his career. Without ruining anything - and I'll go deeper with a full review when it's released on May 12 - this story is a film that simultaneously conjures up the life of Alice and Miyazaki in the Wonderland of acceptance, redemption, and creation.

The vulture Alison Wilmore pointed out the difference between the boy and Heron and Miyazaki's previous work, but justified and explained it:

The boy and heron, straddling the adorable (a white clump creature called a balloon-bulging walla walla) and the dark (a parakeet soldier looking for fresh meat), had a dream. The logic is not attractive. But what makes it most convincing is how real and magical are equal beings. The magical universe may be a means of evading reality that is on fire, but it's not without its own ugliness, and if the boy and heron out by those trying to escape ultimately feel less universal in their emotional appeal than Miyazaki's past work, it's because Miyazaki is working on something very specific.

Variety's Peter Debruge I enjoyed this film but wanted it to deviate more from Miyazaki's formula:

True form, Boy and Heron are unpredictable, but it is also within the realm of Miyazaki's previous works, comforting and slightly disappointing. He has not done anything to smear the filmography. Nor did he expand it in the way that Spirited Away did. The Heron is an unpleasant yet detailed character, up to the Guano he left in his wake. This contrasts with dozens of rudimentary, semi-anthropomorphic parakeets - pink, green, yellow and blue birds with beaded eyes and bulbous nostrils. (These are not Ghibli creatures People will get tattoos of anytime soon.The film is full of visual ideas, from a flock of frogs to a busy maid who becomes a warrior pirate on the other side, but it mostly reminds us of how close our world is already to what Miyazaki has been weaving for the last few years.

In Indiewire's review, David Ehrlich wrote:

If the wind rises and is a vulnerable piece of self-examination, the boy and heron, by contrast, are poignant pieces of self-exclusion. Once again, Miyazaki questions the purpose of artistic creation in a pernicious world, but this time he seeks it. Why do we do something, and how do we find the power to do it, when everything seems to crumble before our eyes - when Miyazaki knows the answer.; He would not have felt the need to devote the twilight years of his life to a painstakingly animated film that he feared could not be ended before his death by war or other means - a waste of time on the whole project.

David Rooney of the Hollywood Reporter was laid to the floor by the movie animation:

We've come to expect Transfix images from Miyazaki, a holdout champion of hand-drawn animation who has mostly been a fan to CG. They have resisted the dominant shift of the form, other than for enhancement purposes. But even by his own standards, the boy and the heron look amazing, from the lush landscape of its main rural setting, to the fields of flowers in the breeze to the gentle rays of the morning sun peering over the architectural grandeur of the hero's house.

Virtually all perfectly framed compositions have a painterly background so gorgeous in their colors and textures that they invite the viewer to get lost in them, there is a strict attention to detail and movement in the foreground from the art, all of it harmoniously stitched into a flowing visual narrative where strange elements cohere throughout.