Spirited Away (2001, Japan) | Rating: 4/5
Probably my fourth favorite Miyazaki film, at the moment. We follow Chihiro as she rides in the car with her family, during their move. They stop by this tunnel, decide to go inside, and explore. Surprisingly this tunnel leads to a new world where spirits dwell. Spirited Away is a very imaginative and traditional movie. It allows viewers to learn a little about Japan, their beliefs, and their habits. This movie gives us a sense of family value and admiration for our surroundings and our being. It's a bit of a dark (in color) movie, but it has a very intriguing storyline to keep young and old attentive.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984, Japan) | Rating: 3/5
One of Miyazaki's older works that somewhat reflects the message of 1992's Ferngully: The Last Rainforest about being good to nature and it'll be good to you. We follow Princess Nausicaä on an exploration of the Toxic Jungle and learn how it's been getting back at humanity by growing into other villages. One village tries to take over and proposes to burn the jungle, but Nausicaä knows a secret about the Toxic Jungle and the environment they live in, proving she is a great leader. Despite the age of this film, it still holds a relevant message of taking care of our environment and finding alternative ways to survive and purify our mistakes for the future.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988, Japan) | Rating: 4.5/5
A bittersweet story about believing and imagination. The story revolves around the Kusakabe family. They move into a new house as the lady of the household recovers in a hospital. Despite this bit of sadness, the father continues writing stories and the girls, Satsuki and Mei, stay positive and carefree. The youngest Mei keeps this feeling the most and meets a creature named Totoro. Upon meeting Totoro and few other wood spirits, he consistently brings these sisters closer and closer, giving us a new positive way of thinking with family downfalls.
Ponyo (2008, Japan) | Rating: 4.5/5
It's probably surprising that I didn't want to see this in theaters, but I ended up enjoying it way more than I thought. The message in this movie is strong bonds of love. The story follows a little boy named Sosuke and a fish he named Ponyo. It is a bit of a reflection of Disney's classic The Little Mermaid. The movie is very light and vivid. It has a great flow to the storyline and, like every Miyazaki film, it has relatable characters. I still have a bit of Ponyo fever and it has become my second favorite Miyazaki film.