Earwig and The Witch - Movie Review

Earwig and The Witch – Movie Review

Earwig and The Witch is directed by Goro Miyazaki who brought us tales from earth, sea and from up on poppy hill. This is the latest film from studio Ghibli, it’s currently out in theaters and HBO max.

The film opens with a girl named Earwig whose orphanage has renamed her Erica and she enjoys life there. She doesn’t want to be adopted.

In fact, she fights to not be adopted but when she is taken in by a witch and an entity called The Mandrake she gets a rude awakening when she realizes she’s only been adopted to be an extra set of hands for this witch who needs help casting spells as has been widely discussed by many animation fans.

This is studio Ghibli’s first attempt at a fully CG animated feature film. It’s not that they’re going to continue with this model. Hayao Miyazaki is reportedly working on his final film currently and this is apparently going to be a hand-drawn film. 

This is not like the end of an era, necessarily for animation but given studio Ghibli’s immaculate track record. We were very interested to see what they would do with this new animation style for their studio and according to the research putlocker have done, Goro Miyazaki had to lead a whole new team that this studio wasn’t exactly used to this type of animation and it was a bit of a trial and error process.

Synopsis

It would be very easy for us to spend the majority of this review just talking about the animation style because we are always going to appreciate hand-drawn animation. We get so much CG animation nowadays that it’s essentially the standard for a first try.

This is not embarrassing but it’s certainly not on the level of a major animation studio that’s in the industry and it’s definitely not on the level of what studio Ghibli is capable of when it comes to hand-drawn animation.

This is studio Ghibli’s third shortest film. It’s 82 minutes long and includes the ending credits as well as extended opening credits. So it’s really more of a 75 minute movie and over the course of that narrative nothing much happens. 

There’s an intriguing setup where a witch is carrying a baby on a motorcycle. She uses a string of her hair to create a bunch of worms that blocks the sight of a car that’s chasing her with a grill that opens up revealing a bunch of metal teeth.

She drops the baby off at this orphanage and flees once Earwig or as she has become known Erika is adopted, she begins to help this witch with a bunch of spells for the entire movie.

That’s unfortunately all this movie is about in regards to stakes she is often threatened with being infested with worms by the witch if she doesn’t do the chores properly. 

She has to be concerned about the mystery that’s set up in the opening with this witch, the car and dropping the baby at an orphanage is barely explored. Earwig has a cassette tape with a song you learn. 

The ending of the film literally feels like the movie is beginning, it seems like the end of the second act and the start of the third but it’s the end of the whole movie as the protagonist Earwig is kind of insufferable, she’s purposefully unlikable.

Her goal at the orphanage is to get everyone to do what she wants them to do. She’s manipulative of the workers there and when she’s leaving, she doesn’t even say goodbye to her best friend “Custard” and then spends the rest of the movie missing him and wondering if she’ll ever see him again. 

We just kept thinking, She didn’t even bother saying goodbye to him. Why do you care that much about him once she moves in with the witch and this character, the Mandrake. Her motivation doesn’t shift at all. she just wants them to do whatever she tells them to do and of course they don’t so her entire goal as a character becomes figuring out how to do spells.

So that she can get these two people to serve her and that’s her entire motivation in the film there’s very little stakes and very little character goals and so it’s hard to get invested in the story or the characters.

It feels like an odd choice to make this be their first CG rendered film because almost the entire film takes place inside this one house. It feels strangely limited in scope not just for a Ghibli film. 

For a movie, you can render just about any environment that you might want to render to have it be only in a house and a select few rooms feels so much smaller than it could be clearly a lot of work and effort went into this movie. 

When it comes to trying out something new, unfortunately very little of that seems to have gone into the script as a story it feels very familiar to other things studio Ghibli has done to a young girl who’s learning about witchcraft.

There’s a black cat but what is so different about it . We didn’t feel emotional about any development that may have happened the closest. The movie got to actually investing me was a backstory that is explored in two or three flashbacks and then hinted at at the very ending and you barely learn anything about it.

Final Words

It feels like a movie in which nobody really did anything of importance. It’s unfortunately our least favorite Ghibli film and this is coming from someone who owns every single Ghibli Blu-ray.

We are a humongous fan of this studio and we think this might actually be their first release. We are going to give Earwig and the Witch a C-. We will soon bring more article for you to watch favorite movies online.

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