The Boy and The Heron’s Star-Studded English Cast

GKIDS has released a new official dub trailer for The Boy and the Heron, the next animated film from Studio Ghibli.

This is the first time the English voice cast has been heard since it was announced last month, and it features Christian Bale as Mahito’s father, Shoichi Maki. In addition to Robert Pattinson, Mark Hamill, Florence Pugh, and Dave Bautista, the cast also features Gemma Chan, Willem Dafoe, Karen Fukuhara, and Mark Hamill.

It’s hard to imagine a world in which legendary director Hayao Miyazaki can top the quality of his previous masterpieces, which include Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, both of which have won several awards. But after seeing this recent preview, that prospect doesn’t appear so remote.

Mahito, the film’s eponymous “boy,” is first seen making his way up a grassy hill toward a glittering golden gate as the trailer begins. When he gets there, the camera spins around to show a flock of birds flying in close pursuit.

In The Boy and the Heron, Mahito goes on a perilous quest to recover his dead mother in a parallel world full of the dead during World War II. Mahito consults a magical talking grey heron for help along the road.

A narrator says ominously, “A lot of strange things happen in this place,” as the audience is shown disturbing images from Miyazaki’s afterlife.

The new teaser makes several references to other Studio Ghibli works. A little over a minute in, the audience is introduced to a figure with a face obscured by flames, an appearance that is quite reminiscent to Calcifer. When the trailer cuts to what we can only assume is the heron’s human form, the resemblance to Yubaba’s bird-humanoid characteristics in Spirited Away are uncanny.

But it wouldn’t be a Studio Ghibli movie unless there were lots of cute animals, like the soot sprites in “My Neighbor Totoro” or the tree spirits that are the trademark of “Princess Mononoke.” But have no fear! It appears like fans won’t be disappointed. The clip also has some adorable white sprites that look like they were made out of chunky marshmallows.

While pondering the legacy of a famous filmmaker and the world he is leaving behind, it is Studio Ghibli’s most graphically complex picture to date. According to IGN’s review from the 8th of September, “It serves as the ultimate statement from Miyazaki, and the perfect coda to his career.”

Read up about Hayao Miyazaki’s current film, The Wind Rises, or watch the official teaser trailer for The Boy and the Heron, both of which were released on September 7.

U.S. cinemas will show The Boy and the Heron on December 8. On July 14th, the film hit theaters in Japan.

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