A young boy named Kun, wracked with jealousy over his baby sister’s arrival, learns to appreciate his family via a magical time-traveling garden in “Mirai,” the latest animated release from director Mamoru Hosoda (“Digimon”).
John Cho and Rebecca Hall voice Kun’s loving but frustrated parents in this English-dubbed version of the Japanese film, while Daniel Dae Kim plays Kun’s great-grandfather — one of several relatives brought to life in scenes set in the youngster’s backyard, which transforms into breathtaking enchanted landscapes as it introduces him to the family dog, turned into a prince; a teen version of his baby sister Mirai; his mother as a young girl and more.
The painstaking animation becomes more and more elaborate, culminating in a child’s-eye view of a bustling train station and a bullet train transformed into a demonic carriage for lost children.
“Mirai” is somewhat mired in outdated gender roles, with Cho’s character hopelessly clumsy as caregiver while his wife goes back to work. But the biggest pitfall I found with “Mirai,” which may be more of a selling point to new parents and children struggling with sibling rivalry, is that Kun spends half the film in tears, shrieking or whining. While a reasonable representation of the character arc, it’s a little grating to sit through while you wait for the magical sequences to kick in.
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