Movie Magazine International

Kiki's Delivery Service

Japan - 1989

Movie Review By Alex Lau

Every once in a while, a children's film comes along that can have as much effect on grownups as it does on kids. "Kiki's Delivery Service" is one of those films.

Kiki is a 13-year-old witch, and by tradition, that means it's time for her to spend a year out on her own. But she hasn't had time to learn much magic, so she'll just have to make do with what she does know. And she does know how to fly.

On the surface, it's a wonderful coming-of-age story, with outstanding animation and artwork. The backgrounds, and the majestic flying scenes, have to be seen to believed. It's not an action-packed movie, but I don't know anyone who could sit through this and be bored.

There's also a deeper subplot that will hit home with anyone who's struggled through creative block, be it writing, painting, or any other kind of magic.

Kirsten Dunst as the voice of Kiki does a fantastic job of bringing her character to life, and the late Phil Hartman is hilarious as the voice of Jiji the cat. Debbie Reynolds, Janeane Garofalo, and Matthew Lawrence round out the rest of the cast.

"Kiki's Delivery Service" is the second film from elebrated Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki to have a major video release here, the first being "My Neighbor Totoro." There's more to come, and we'll be all the richer for it.

If you're lucky enough to catch this on a big screen at a film festival or other screening, by all means do it. Otherwise, run, don't walk, to buy or rent the video when it hits stores this September.

© 1998 - Alex Lau - Air Date: 7/29/98

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