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The Boy and the Heron: Hayao Miyazaki Returns

9/8/2023 • 4 min read

(Updated 11/02/2023)The Boy and the Heron | Cinemark

Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, creator of SPIRITED AWAY, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, and other classics, has "retired" more than once. Ten years ago, his supposed last film, THE WIND RISES, was released to great acclaim. It turned out not to be his final movie after all, and now Miyazaki returns with a fantasy that is somehow inspired by parts of his own life.

THE BOY AND THE HERON recently debuted in Japan, and it comes to the US in December. The first teaser trailer is out, and even that brief look at the movie is packed with Miyazaki's visual hallmarks, and his instantly-recognizable hand-drawn animation. Check out THE BOY AND THE HERON trailer and learn as much about the mysterious movie as we've been able to learn.

When Does The Boy and the Heron Come to Theatres?

GKids will release THE BOY AND THE HERON in theatres on December 8.

Watch the First Trailer for The Boy and the Heron





While the first Japanese-language trailer gave us a general impression of the movie without revealing too many specifics, the first English-language trailer (seen above) offers a far more detailed look at the movie. Specifically, we get a real taste of Robert Pattinson's voice work as Gray Heron, and it's a treat. The story still isn't very clear but that's OK!

Frankly, we don't want to know too much about the story of THE BOY AND THE HERON before the movie opens.

What Is The Boy and the Heron About?

Well, we don't really know! All we've got is an echo of what's in the trailer: "A young boy named Mahito, yearning for his mother, ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead. There, death comes to an end, and life finds a new beginning. A semi-autobiographical fantasy about life, death, and creation, in tribute to friendship, from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki.

That said, reviews of THE BOY AND THE HERON are out thanks to a couple of different big film festivals happening right now. So if you'd like to know a bit more, you can check out the many raves. (And all the reviews are raves so far.) But even those reviews are mostly circling around key plot elements so as not to give anything away.

The English Dub Cast for The Boy and the Heron

The Boy and the Heron

GKids will release THE BOY AND THE HERON in two versions, as is typical for presentations of classic Miyazaki films. You'll be able to choose between seeing the movie in Japanese with English subtitles, or with a new English dub track.

Now the English dub cast has been announced for THE BOY AND THE HERON. It features: Christian Bale as Shoichi Maki, Dave Bautista as The Parakeet King, Gemma Chan as Natsuko, Willem Dafoe as Noble Pelican, Karen Fukuhara as Lady Himi, Mark Hamill as Granduncle, Robert Pattinson as Gray Heron, Florence Pugh as Kiriko, Luca Padovan as Mahito Maki, and Mamoudou Athie, Tony Revolori, and Dan Stevens as The Parakeets.

The Boy and the Heron Isn't Miyazaki's Final Movie

After announcing his retirement a decade ago, then coming back with this one last movie, we've assumed that THE BOY AND THE HERON would be the last stage of Miyazaki's directing career. But that's not the case! At the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of THE BOY AND THE HERON, Studio Ghibli executive Junichi Nishioka said the filmmaker has more ideas.

"Other people say that this might be his last film, but he doesn't feel that way at all," Nishioka told the CBC. "He is currently working on ideas for a new film. He comes into his office every day and does that. This time, he's not going to announce his retirement at all. He's continuing working just as he has always done."




THE BOY AND THE HERON opens on December 8.




All images courtesy of GKids.

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