Earwig and the Witch
|Earwig and the Witch|
|Hepburn||Āya to Majo|
|Literally||Āya and the Witch|
|Directed by||Gorō Miyazaki|
|Screenplay by||Keiko Niwa|
|Based on||Earwig and the Witch|
by Diana Wynne Jones
|Produced by||Toshio Suzuki|
|Music by||Satoshi Takebe|
Earwig and the Witch (Japanese: アーヤと魔女, Hepburn: Āya to Majo, lit. "Āya and the Witch") is a Japanese computer-animated fantasy film directed by Gorō Miyazaki, based on the novel of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones. The original voice cast includes Shinobu Terajima, Etsushi Toyokawa, Gaku Hamada, and Kokoro Hirasawa.
In 1990s England, a witch leaves her child, Earwig, at St. Morwald's Home for Children. The matron head of the home thinks that the name is unfit for a child and changes it to Erica Wigg. Years later, Earwig is a rambunctious 10-year-old who is very comfortable in an orphanage where everyone does what she wants. She likes living there with her friend Custard and doesn't want to get adopted.
One day, a strange couple, Bella Yaga and Mandrake, adopt Earwig against her wishes. When they get home, Bella Yaga tells Earwig that she is a witch, and that she only adopted Earwig for "an extra pair of hands" to help around the house. Earwig agrees to help, only if Bella Yaga teaches her magic in return. Earwig prepares ingredients for spells and cleans the workroom. Tired of working, she attempts to get out of the house, only to find that all the exits have been magically sealed by Mandrake. She becomes further frustrated because Bella Yaga never teaches her magic.
Earwig begins to listen to tapes from an old band called Earwig and discovers that Bella Yaga's cat familiar Thomas can talk. The two of them enter the workroom at night to create a spell that will make them resistant to magic, becoming immune to Bella Yaga's punishments. They also work on a spell to give Bella Yaga a literal "extra pair of hands" on her body so Earwig would be dismissed from her work.
The spell is a success and Bella Yaga is furious at her extra pair of hands, and casts magical worms that appear in Earwig's room. Because of Earwig's magical resistance, the worms are harmless; Earwig sends the worms through a hole in the wall, but that angers Mandrake. In the ensuing chaos, Earwig breaks into Mandrake's room and discovers he and Bella Yaga were members of the band.
Through her new power, Earwig is able to take over the house and have the others to do what she wants. She even manages to get her friend Custard to come over for Christmas. When he arrives, Earwig's mother, another member of the band, drops in for a surprise visit.
|Earwig (Āya)||Kokoro Hirasawa||Taylor Paige Henderson|
|Bella Yaga||Shinobu Terajima||Vanessa Marshall|
|Mandrake||Etsushi Toyokawa||Richard E. Grant|
|Thomas||Gaku Hamada||Dan Stevens|
|Earwig's Mother (Āya's Mother)||Sherina Munaf||Kacey Musgraves|
|Mr. Jenkins||Yuji Ueda||JB Blanc|
|Assistant Matron||Alex Cartañá|
|Assistant Cook||Eva Kaminsky|
Directed by Gorō Miyazaki, the film was announced as the first full 3D CG animated film by Studio Ghibli and was scheduled for a television premiere on NHK in late 2020. On June 19, 2020, images from the film were revealed by Miyazaki. Gorō said that his father told him to go with it and Toshio Suzuki encouraged him, but after that he was left on his own and made the anime with young staff and "didn't consult with the old guys at all". He also said that he is the only one at the studio who knows the method of creating CG animation. Satoshi Takebe composed the music for the film. The theme song "Don't Disturb Me" and ending theme "Atashi no Sekai Seifuku" (あたしの世界征服) are performed by a team composed of Sherina Munaf on vocals, Hiroki Kamemoto of Glim Spanky on guitar, Kiyokazu Takano of Mrs. Green Apple on bass, Kavka Shishido on drums, and Takebe on keyboards.
The film was scheduled to premiere at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival before the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It instead premiered at the Lumière Film Festival in Lyon Metropolis, on October 18, 2020.
As with Ghibli's other features, Wild Bunch handles the international sales of the film. On July 7, 2020, Studio Ghibli's North American distributor GKIDS announced they had acquired the North American distribution rights to the film and that the film would be set for a theatrical release date of early 2021 in North America. On January 7, 2021, GKIDS announced that the movie would receive a limited theatrical release beginning on February 3, while it would be added to HBO Max on February 5. The film was released digitally on March 23, 2021, and on Blu-ray and DVD on April 6, 2021. The GKIDS release of the film is the same as the Japanese theatrical version.
On September 11, 2020, Wild Bunch confirmed they had purchased the distribution rights to Studio Ghibli's films in France from previous distributor Disney, and that they would handle distribution of the film both theatrically and on home media in the country.
On December 3, 2020, the Elysian Film Group acquired the British and Irish distribution rights to the movie, becoming its very first film acquisition after founding in February that year. This will make it the first theatrical release of a Ghibli film since Princess Mononoke not to be distributed by StudioCanal UK in the region.
On February 11, 2021, Toho announced that the film was slated to be released theatrically in Japan on April 29, 2021. This version includes some scenes not shown on the TV version. On April 23, 2021, the film was removed from the release calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was later announced that the new release date would be on August 27, 2021.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 30% of 63 critic reviews are positive for Earwig and the Witch, and the average rating is 4.90/10. The critics consensus on the website is: "With a story as uninspired as its animation, Earwig and the Witch is a surprising—and near-total—misfire for Studio Ghibli." According to Metacritic, which calculated a weighted average score of 45 out of 100 based on 20 reviews, the film received "mixed or average reviews".
Writing for IndieWire, David Ehrlich gave the film a C− and said, "While Earwig and the Witch is far from the ugliest film of its kind, there's something uniquely perverse about seeing Ghibli's signature aesthetic suffocated inside a plastic coffin and sapped of its brilliant soul; about seeing the studio's lush green worlds replaced by lifeless backdrops, and its hyper-expressive character designs swapped out for cheap dolls so devoid of human emotion that even the little kids look Botoxed with an inch [sic] of their lives. This is the cartoon equivalent of that botched Jesus fresco, only lacking the human touch that gave that debacle some perverse charm of its own."
Vox's Aja Romano gave the film 3 out of 5 stars and said, "There are some moments early on when there are still shots of nature, or slow Ghibli-esque pans across landscapes. But these isolated shots don't connect to a larger overall mood, characterization, or thematic idea. They feel like pale imitations from a director who knows what Ghibli films do, but not why ... And even the highly striking animation aesthetic for which Ghibli is renowned feels largely absent, due to the muted, flat palette of the film’s CGI ... Ultimately, Earwig and the Witch is a far cry from Studio Ghibli at its finest."
As of August 2021, Earwig and the Witch grossed $173,704 at the North American box office and $552,333 from other territories, with a worldwide total of $726,037.
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ACHAT di 18 10h30
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- Toho [@toho_movie] (February 11, 2021). 昨年末、NHKで放映、海外でも劇場公開され話題の『アーヤと魔女』が、4/29 （木•祝）に、全国の映画館で上映されることになりました。 一部追加カットを加え、映像と音響を劇場クオリティで制作したアーヤを、ぜひ映画館のスクリーンでご覧ください。 [At the end of last year, "Aya and the Witch," which was aired on NHK and released in theaters overseas, will be screened at movie theaters nationwide on Thursday, April 29th. Please take a look at the movie theater screen to see Aya, who created the video and audio in theater quality with some additional cuts.] (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved February 11, 2021 – via Twitter.
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