Animation movies

Movie Review: In ‘Belle’, a dazzling ‘Beauty and the Beast’ anime | Movies

By JAKE COYLE The Associated Press

Anime master Mamoru Hosoda makes films that, even in their most elaborate form, can reach such staggering emotional heights that they seem to break free from everything you’re prepared for in an animated film – or in most types of movies, for that matter.

Any talented Japanese filmmaker working in fantasy animation inevitably draws comparisons to the great Hayao Miyazaki. But the most suitable touchstone for Hosoda might be Yasujiro Ozu. As visually or conceptually stunning as Hosoda’s films are, they are rooted in simple and profound human stories.

His latest film, Oscar-nominated Mirai, is one of the best family films in recent years. It centers on a 4-year-old boy who, faced with the arrival of a new little sister and dealing with new feelings of jealousy, is visited by his sister while in middle school. More time travel encounters follow, and a new understanding and empathy grows in the boy.

Hosoda’s last, “Belle”, is sketched more complicated. It’s an ultra-modern take on “Beauty and the Beast” that transfers the fairy tale into a digital metaverse realm called “U”. There, in a dizzying digital expanse that will satisfy any “Matrix” fan who has felt let down by the virtual worlds of “The Matrix Resurrections,” its 5 billion users can adapt any character they like.