Weekly Watch: Fantastic Thieves, Universal Spidey, and a Breathing Castle

As a self-confessed streaming addict, I’m always running out of things to watch – more particularly – things to watch that are good. I understand that many other people in the world have that same problem. I’m here to help those people out.

This week I focused on all of the great animated films of the world. As much as the CGI of today is incredibly detailed and realistic, there is only so much creativity and imagination that can be visualised through live-action films. Animated films allow for the artistic mind to go wild, and listed today are the results of some of the greatest expressive masterminds living today.

From a castle that breathes, a comic book come to life, to a fantastic thief – here is your Weekly Watch.

Howls Moving Castle (2004)

If you haven’t watched a Studio Ghibli film yet, I implore this film to be your first.

Be transported into a war-shadowed kingdom run by magic and technology, and meet Sophie Hatter, a young hatmaker. After running into a peculiar wizard named Howl, Sophie is turned into a 90-year-old woman by the jealous Witch of the Waste. Watch as Sophie embarks on her journey to reverse the curse put upon her and meet the eccentric and complex characters she meets along the way.

Master animator, Hayao Miyazaki, headed Howls Moving Castle as director and hence created this moving piece of art (literally and figuratively). In every scene, audiences can feel the hard work and care that was put into the animation. Every smudge of colour and every flick of a line is purposeful and calculated – and the result is a vivid painting that viewers are willingly lured into. And while the film is best watched with the original Japanese voice actors, if you choose to use English dubs, you may hear some familiar voices. Some of them include Christian Bale voicing the mysterious Howl, Jean Simmons voicing the older Sophie, Billy Crystal voicing the fiery Calcifer, and a young Josh Hutcherson voicing Markl.

Step into the thrilling and spellbinding world of Hayao Miyazaki, and watch Howls Moving Castle this weekend.

Available to watch on Netflix

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)

You thought that you had enough of the endless Spider-Man adaptions? Think again because Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is a film you won’t want to miss. Coming out of nowhere in 2018, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse has become widely known amongst comic fans as, not only the best Spider-Man film adaption, but the best Marvel film adaption of all time.

While previous adaptions of the comic saw Peter Parker as the high-flying web shooter, Into The Spider-Verse presents Miles Morales – a fan favourite Spider-Man amongst comic lovers – as he happens upon his powers after the infamous spider bite. Soon, he is joined by a team of Spider characters from other dimensions hoping to take down the supervillain, King Pin, who threatens the safety of the entire universe.

This Oscar-nominated film looks like it was taken straight off the pages of a comic book – purposefully so. While other animations use a technique called motion blur, Into The Spider-Verse uses an older technique called motion smearing which allows the animation to look faster with fewer frames – just like when your eyes drag across the page of a comic. It’s masterful how the technique is used to bring in so many elements of imagination that so many animated films fail to bring to the table. Without giving too much of the plot away, I’ll say that the film scores 10s across the board when it comes to delivering on humour, heart and character complexity – and it’s a must-watch if you haven’t already.

Transport into the comic book world and watch Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse this weekend.

Available to watch on Netflix

Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)

One of director Wes Anderson’s masterpieces of film, Fantastic Mr Fox is a must-watch amongst animated films with its brilliant visuals, moving story, and fantastic characters.

This wild film follows Mr Fox, once a skilled hen thief, as he struggles to put his old habits behind him as he raises his children. However, old habits die hard, and the fox discovers an irresistible target: the three nastiest farmers, Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. Little does he know that this final heist will kick off a war between man and animal.

Although this is an adaption of Roald Dahl’s novel of the same name – besides the narrative – the film lacks similarity to its source material. It’s the Wes Anderson film magic that makes this narrative pop on screen to its own accord. From framing to colouring, to complex characters, and a sweet subtly – it all works together to create a pot of witty goodness you just want to devour. The stop-motion format of the story surprisingly allows for leniency with imagination and charm and does not limit creativity. However, it also does not over-stimulate the eyeballs, settling for subtle effects that allow pivotal moments in the film to shine by themselves.

Watch this fantastic film this weekend!

That’s all for this week! From one streaming addict to another, I hope you enjoy my picks for what to watch this week. Make sure to check back next week for more fun recommendations.

This has been your Weekly Watch.

Written by Jemma Jones