Yesterday, my wife and I took our girls to see Up. The movie was excellent (as attested by its 98% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes.com), but what struck me was the number of themes picked up from the movies of Â Hayao Miyazaki, the “Japanese Walt Disney.” Miyazaki is probably best known in the U.S. for Spirited Away. Other notable films of his include My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke. Pete Doctor, the director of Up, has expressed his fondness for Miyazaki’s work.
In Up, I noticed the following themes picked up from Miyazaki’s movies:
- Airships (NausicaÃ¤ of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky)
- Man’s relationship to Nature (NausicaÃ¤, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke)
- Relationships between children and the elderly (Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle)
- Fantastic hidden worlds (Castle in the Sky, NausicaÃ¤, Totoro, Spirited Away)
On top of this, Russell, the young star of Up, is Asian American (a rarity in American films, not to mention American animated films), which might also be a tip of the hat towards Miyazaki.
So, do you see the same things that I see? Â Is Up a feature-length homage to Hayao Miyazaki?