“The Deer King plays it safe and stays with the familiar. But it does find its own voice with the father-daughter dynamic. With breathtaking scenery and a beautiful sountrack, this is an enthralling journey.”
The Deer King was screened at several festivals across the United Kingdom and Europe last year. It has now been released in cinemas in Japan and France. The movie will be released in the United States on July 13.
Storywise, The Deer King is very much inspired by Princess Mononoke and Tales From Earthsea. You find similar story beats and elements. So it does not try to be original. It sticks to the familiar. Watching the trailers, I expected as much. Though, I am not saying it is necessarily a bad thing. Not every movie has to be groundbreaking or anything. Indeed, movies can also be part of a mold and be entertaining. Actually, this is exactly what this movie does. In fact, it finds its own voice with the father-daughter dynamic. Furthermore, this is the heart of the story. It is quite compelling.
Basically, this is the story of a former warrior who ends up surviving a deadly attack by cursed wolves. He escapes with a little girl who is the only other survivor. Then, the two try to build their lives together as the scientist Hossaru tries to find a cure to that disease carried by the wolves. And in the middle of this, there are two tribes opposing each other. Undoubtedly, this is an enthralling journey with endearing characters. I had a great time seeing this movie.
Moreover, the character designs remain quite simple but beautiful like you can find with the movies from Studio Ghibli. Though, the scenery is what is really impressive with this movie. The skies, the forests, the big town, it is all breathtaking. That is cinematic quality right here.
As for the score, Harumi Fuuki delivers a beautiful and powerful music. Though, the most memorable part of the soundtrack is Milet’s ending song. It is called ‘One Reason.’ And I think that it is the perfect way to end this movie. If you pay attention to the lyrics, it is melancholic because it talks about being away of the person you love. But at the same time, it is also hopeful because despite being away, it talks about remembering that person and still being there. Which, I think it perfectly applies to Van and Yuna’s father-daughter relationship and where it stands at the end of the movie.
The Deer King plays it safe and stays with the familiar. But it does find its own voice with the father-daughter dynamic. With breathtaking scenery and a beautiful sountrack, this is an enthralling journey.
The Deer King was released in Japanese cinemas on February 4 and is now playing in French cinemas.
Collectables Editor at Future Of The Force.
Star Wars and Marvel specialist, anime expert