The Magic Treehouse! You read books by such a title when you were a child. And today, you learn that Japan liked the books too. They liked them so much, they made an anime movie adaptation in 2012!
While I did, in fact, read these books when I was younger, I remember nothing as they were all read in one short phase of my life and never read before or after said phase. So I took the liberty of being an objective (okay, I’m sorry, that was an awful joke I promise I’ll never do it again) reviewer for the sake of this short review. I have no nostalgia goggles; I am armed only with my general appreciation of cartoons meant for children. Let’s see how this holds up to those standards.
Just to get a few names out of the way, it was directed by Hiroshi Nishikiori, composed by Akira Senju, and Mana Ashida is in it. That’s notable, isn’t it? I think they all did a good job!
Just to talk about the music quick. It’s good! I haven’t heard much from Akira Senju, but everything I have heard has been either amazing or at least really fitting. His work here falls under “really fitting.” That might sound disappointing, but really, it’s not.
If you’ve read the books, then you probably know that there are often moments that are supposed to give you a sense of wonder. The music is great at doing that. I’ll admit that the music is forgettable, but that just means you don’t have to go out to buy the soundtrack. Which is kind of nice. Anyway, it works great in the movie and that’s all you need to know.
Visuals! Oh my goodness are these visuals adorable. The character designs were adapted by Yoshiaki Yanagida. That’s probably the person responsible for this unbearable cute. Well, cute though it may be, pirates still look like they might knife you, and dinosaurs still look like they’re in the process of knifing you. So it’s not ALL cute. It’s cute only when it’s acceptable to be cute. Perfection.
As for the story and everything, I don’t really have anything bad to say about it. I mean, I guess a lot of the time they get out of danger through happy coincidences of timing, but that’s a thing that always happens in kid stuff. If I tried to push that as a real flaw I’d feel like I’m trying too hard.
Incidentally, my lack of things to say about it means a lot. It means two things: 1. It’s not terrible and 2. It’s not a masterpiece. It’s just a pretty enjoyable little adventure movie that, for many of the people who will read this blog, will have lots of added nostalgia value.
Did I mention that it’s cute and makes you a little warm and fuzzy at one or two parts?
… nah, I’m kidding. It’s good fun for anyone.