Want to stream ‘Earwig and the Witch’? Here’s where to watch the film
Are you a fan of Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki? Well, then you might want to check out his son, Gorō Miyazaki’s new film, Earwig and the Witch. The film, which follows a ten-year-old orphan named Earwig who discovers that she is a witch’s daughter, has been all the rage lately for animation fans.
Whether this “rage” is good or bad depends on your perspective. Many are heralding Earwig and the Witch to be the end of an era at Studio Ghibli, as it’s the first Ghibli film done in 3D animation. If you want to know what the fuss is about, and see for yourself whether this is a step in the right direction for Ghibli’s name, where can you stream it online?
The film’s production
Earwig and the Witch not only has a promising premise, but it’s also groundbreaking. The film is the first 3D CG animated film made by Studio Ghibli, who previously made hand-drawn films like Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro.
The film was slated to be released on NHK, or “Japan Broadcasting Corporation,” in late 2020.
Though Miyazaki’s father and Studio Ghibli’s producer, Toshio Suzuki, are influential figures in Japan’s animation scene (to say the least), Miyazaki claimed he broke into the 3D animation world mostly on his own. Though his father encouraged him, Miyazaki claims to be the only one at the studio who is seasoned in CG animation.
The film’s release
Earwig and the Witch was slated to have its premiere at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, but the event was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19. Instead, the film made its debut at the Lumière Film Festival on October 18, 2020. Two months later, it appeared for the first time on NHK General TV.
Studio Ghibli’s North American distributor, GKIDS, announced the film would receive a limited theatrical release on February 3rd, and would come to HBO Max on February 4th.
Once Earwig and the Witch made its debut, it received mixed reviews. Simon Abrams of Roger Ebert wrote that “‘Earwig and the Witch’ isn’t visually dynamic enough to be more than a lumpy cover version of Hayao’s greatest hits, which is especially disappointing since so much of the movie is about the frustration one feels when your parents seem to either not notice or care for you beyond a point.”
David Ehrlich of Indiewire shared the sentiments of Earwig and the Witch falling short, writing that: “Earwig spends most of her time snooping around the corridors and peering through photo-realistic cracks in the walls as if convinced that she’ll find some magic to this dull place if she just looks hard enough.”
He continues: “It’s under there somewhere – a vital reminder of what all of the film’s characters have lost – but don’t expect this movie to convincingly explain why the remnants of a beautiful yesterday had to be hidden behind drywall to make way for such a drab tomorrow.”
Maya Phillips of The New York Times stated she hopes that Earwig and the Witch isn’t a premonition for the future of animation. “I hope ‘Earwig’ is not a harbinger of a new age of C.G.I. films that are more shine and pixels than soul and sketches,” she said.
She continued: “When I consider the hands that summoned the magic of films like ‘Princess Mononoke’ and ‘Spirited Away,’ I can only say this: If that’s now just an artifact from the past, I’m not ready for the future.”
Who is Gorō Miyazaki?
Gorō Miyazaki was born in Tokyo, Japan, to animators Hayao Miyazaki and Akemi Ōta. When he was in high school, Miyazaki was enamored by his parents’ careers, but surrendered to the notion that he would never reach their level. Instead, he decided to build a career in architecture.
Miyazaki enrolled in Shinshu University’s School of Agriculture, and later became the consultant on the planning and designing of parks and gardens. He was later commissioned to help design the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka.
In 2006, Gorō Miyazaki directed his first film, Tales from Earthsea: an adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin’s book series. However, when Toshio Suzuki saw Miyazaki’s storyboards, he stated he should not direct the film. Miyazaki’s father agreed, and father & son allegedly did not speak throughout the making of the film. Despite this, Gorō Miyazaki completed the film and it was a general success.
Where to watch Earwig and the Witch
Though Earwig and the Witch is available to stream online through a number of different sites, it would likely be the safest bet to hop on your HBO Max account and watch it there.