When Marnie Was There was released in Japan in 2014. It is known as the last film to be released by Studio Ghibli after the studio announced they will take a short hiatus and it also does not have the legendary Hayao Miyazaki name attached to the film, since he retired a year prior to the film being made. Some say that this may even be the last film that Studio Ghibli will ever release.
When Marnie Was There, written by Keiko Niwa, Masashi Ando, and Hiromasa Yonebayashi who also served as director, is a story about a young shy girl named Anna who happens to be very emotionally hurt due to her past. Anna moves in with her relatives and befriends a mysterious young girl named Marnie, who lives in a old mansion nearby. The two form a uniquely close friendship and experience mystic elements together.
The film was one of the more emotional films to come out of Studio Ghibli. It dealt with a young girl who lost her parents at a young age and she really kept to herself by shutting her heart out from everyone throughout her young life. The film was pretty slow paced and felt liked it dragged at moments but it does still have that very fantasy-like spirit that is commonly found in Studio Ghibli films.
There are three bonus features that are exclusively on the Blu-ray release. These three features are: “The Making of When Marnie Was There,” “Yobei Taneda Creates the Art of When Marnie was There” and feature-length storyboards.
Both the “Making of” and the “Art of ” features are in Japanese with English subtitles. Depending on if you like subtitles or not, may determine if you like these features. They are both very informative and are over 45 minutes in length combined. The feature-length storyboards allows you to watch the full film in storyboards, so that is a pretty cool think to see.
The two features that are included with both the Blu-ray and DVD are: Behind-the-Scenes with voice talent and the Japanese and US trailers and TV Spots.
With the Behind-the-Scenes with the Voice Talent feature, you get to hear from some of the stars of the American cast like Hailee Steinfeld, John C. Reilly, Geena Davis, Kathy Bates, Catherine O’Hara and more, as they tell you what it was like to do voiceovers for the film.
The Blu-ray combo pack comes with a cardboard cover slip which protects the plastic case. It includes the both the Blu-ray and DVD.
I liked the emotion that the film expressed. It dealt with tragedy and love. Like I mentioned before, there are times that it felt like the film dragged but the spirit of Studio Ghibli was still there. I do wish that the “making of” feature was in English like the other Studio Ghibli American in-home releases but that’s just because I’m not much of a subtitle kind of person. If you’ve already seen the film and liked it, you would definitely want to own the Blu-ray. The bonus features add over an extra hour’s worth of content, so you’ll be satisfied.
I give When Marnie Was There Blu-ray combo pack 7 fridges out of 10.