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Kiki's Delivery Service (Special Edition) (1989)

Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, more...
Director: Hayao Miyazaki, Hayao Miyazaki
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Walt Disney Video
Genre: Anime, Foreign, Kids, Anime Feature Films, Animation, Cel, Studios, Ghibli, SNL Alums
Languages: English, Spanish, Japanese
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Kiki's Delivery Service (Special Edition) (1989)
Veteran animator Hayao Miyazaki directs this buoyant children's adventure yarn about a young witch striking out on her own. At her mother's behest, 13-year-old Kiki sets out on a year-long apprenticeship with her black cat in tow. With a shaky command of her broom, she ends up in a charming little coastal town that looks like a cross between the French provincial and San Francisco. Unfortunately, the local hotels have a strict "no witches" policy and the police have taken a dim view of her recent aerial mischief making. She's saved from the street by a kindly baker's wife who offers her room and board in exchange for her delivering by broom the baker's wares. Soon she befriends a college-aged artist, an old women who fusses over her, and a boy her same age who is nursing a massive crush. All is well until she wakes up one day and realizes that she can't make her broom levitate nor can she talk to her cat. What will Kiki do? ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

Kiki's Delivery Service (Special Edition) (Bonus Disc) (1989)
Bonus Disc Features:
  • World of Ghibli - an extraordinary interactive experience, including: Enter the Lands - meet the characters and hear the story of the movie; Behind the Studio - Discover the film's inspiration through documentaries, including all-new interviews with Hayao Miyazaki
  • Storyboard presentation of the movie
  • Introduction by John Lasseter

    This disc contains the feature film.

GreenCine Member Ratings

Kiki's Delivery Service (Special Edition) (1989)
read reviews    New Listadd to list
8.08 (541 votes)
Kiki's Delivery Service (Special Edition) (Bonus Disc) (1989)
read reviews    New Listadd to list
6.37 (54 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

Simple fun family film by Biehlanphear June 25, 2007 - 11:34 AM PDT
Though not as interesting as Miyazaki's more recent films or as cute and involving as the classic My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service is a fun children's movie. I think it's difficult to disagree with any of the concepts in this movie; who wouldn't prefer benevolent witches and love to know one, and who doesn't struggle with feeling useful; but the movie doesn't get much deeper or fantastic.

Beautiful, uplifting, and yes, magical. by JTurner1 April 17, 2004 - 9:40 AM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
I used to believe that Anime was nothing but sex and violence -- stuff for grown-ups only. However, I take it back. And I owe it to this cute little gem called Kiki's Delivery Service that really turned me around for the better. It introduced me to arguably one of the greatest animators of all time, Hayao Miyazaki, who happens to be dubbed as the Walt Disney of Japan. Having since seen virtually ALL of his films, from The Castle of Cagliostro to Spirited Away, I can see why he is such a highly acclaimed artist -- his works (and I mean every one of them) are a stroke of genius.

Kiki's Delivery Service may have been my first real exposure to Miyazaki, but this happens to be the director's fifth film, which was the highest grossing movie of its year in Japan. Adapted from a children's book by Eiko Kadono (recently released in America), the film is not a typical good-versus-evil conflicted, dysfunctional story but a gentle, character-driven story with endearing characters, beautiful artistry, and a strong, positive message about confidence and independence that are quite encouraging for all, from the youngest of children to the oldest at heart. (On a side note, it persuaded me to get some exercise! The "fat, fat, FAT!!!" line did it for me.)

The story is about 13-year old Kiki, an adorable witch-in-training, who, on one moonlit night, leaves her hometown to seek her independence and fortune. She's accompanied by her wisecracking and hilarious pet black cat, Jiji, and a little wobbly when it comes to takeoffs and landings while maneuvering her broomstick. Kiki arrives at a luxurious town with an ocean view where she eventually finds work at a bakery run by the generous Osono and her silent, gruff husband. There, she starts a high-flying delivery service which opens up many new relationships for the budding witch -- including a friendly painter, Ursula, a kind old woman, Madame, and a boy named Tombo, who dreams of flying.

The above synopsis may sound dull, but Kiki's Delivery Service certainly is not. It is a joy to watch from start to finish as we see Kiki slowly grow up and learn to have faith in herself, especially when her powers begin to fade away toward the end of the movie. It's engrossing enough to keep one's attention and there are a number of tear-jerking moments that make it more than just a movie. This is a characteristic you'll only be able to find in Miyazaki, and Kiki's Delivery Service "delivers" a wonderful movie which shows that movies don't have to be about overcoming evil or action-packed or angst-ridden to be entertaining.

In 1996, Disney struck a deal with Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki's studio, to distribute the director's movies worldwide. Kiki was their first release. It proved to be a very successful release when it was released to video on September of 1998; it sold over a million copies in the US - a record for any Anime video. But since then, the movie has been out of print, and there was never a DVD release. Now, however, Disney has at last released this film, along with Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away, to DVD for a new generation to discover, with overall pleasing results. The video quality is gorgeous for the most part; although there are some very obvious compression artifacts in the darker scenes which are distractingly noticeable, they aren't enough to drag the film down. The audio features the Japanese and English language tracks in 5.1, but the menus suffer in that you can't change the subtitles as you watch the movie. Oh, well, at least the extras (intro by John Lasseter, Japanese trailers, behind-the-microphone featurette, and storyboards), although not plentiful, do help to cover these flaws.

The movie was originally dubbed into English by Carl Macek of Streamline Pictures, but this Disney dub features an all-star cast who do a truly excellent job with their roles. Thirteen-year-old Kirsten Dunst is perfect as Kiki, eliciting just the right touch of cuteness, spunkiness, independence, and poignancy to her role. The other actors, which include Debbie Reynolds (Madame), Tress MacNeille - of Tiny Toons and Animaniacs fame - (Osono), Jeanane Garofolo (Ursula), and Matthew Lawrence (Tombo), give similarly superb performances. Of the actors, however, it is the late Phil Hartman's witty, sarcastic take on Jiji that steals the show. I understand that some folks were offended at Hartman's performance and added-in lines, but if you have no such issues, then this is only extra icing on the cake -- especially when he does it so well. I swear, I just cannot get enough laughs every time I hear his lines. "First, don't panic! Second, don't panic! And third, did I mention not to panic?!?" The opening and ending songs were replaced by two gorgeous, rollicking numbers from Sydney Forest, but even they seem to suit the story wonderfully. In fact, I find myself bouncing to them every time they pop up over the opening and closing credits of the show. For you purists, the Japanese language track features the original songs (though there is a continuous debate about the subtitles being inaccurate, that's a very minor complaint) and credit presentation.

Although the DVD presentation is far from perfect, Kiki's Delivery Service is a gem that should not be missed and deserves to be well-known in America as it is in Japan. I highly -- and I do mean VERY HIGHLY -- recommend it.

A great film from a brilliant director. by roybatty March 27, 2004 - 10:18 PM PST
There is something about Miyazaki films that always makes me cry. They contain magic and wonderment on a level that is unsurpassed even by Disney. While it's not my favorite of Miyazaki's output - Porco Rosso and My Neighbor Totoro have the top spots - Kiki's Delivery Service is, for the most part, flawless. The story itself is pure sweetness, but there is an unmistakeable undercurrent of sadness (the Japanese call it yoin) embodied beautifully in Kiki herself. It's this sadness, in this case the sadness of growing up, of being human, of loving and being loved, that gives Miyazaki films their power and place him head and shoulders above the current animated fray. Both children and adults understand this - only Hollywood big shots seem immune, maybe they get too much sun - which makes watching a Miyazaki film a pleasure for folks of any age. Miyazaki has never made a bad film, and Kiki's Delivery Service ranks among his best. The transfer by Disney is uniformly excellent, the American voice talent is well above average (although I do prefer Japanese with English subtitles)and the extras - not to mention the supplementary disk - are pretty neat. I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to enjoy these films.

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