Gkids has amassed nine Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature since 2009 including one for My Life as a Zucchini last year and two in 2016 — but it has yet to take home the hardware. Now comes the first English-language trailer for its latest pic, featuring the voices of Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent and The BFG star Ruby Barnhill.
Mary and the Witch’s Flower hails from Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the Oscar-nominated animator behind Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo. Based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s book The Little Broomstick, the film centers on Mary (Barnhill), an ordinary young girl stuck in the country with her Great-Aunt Charlotte (Lynda Baron) and seemingly no adventures or friends in sight. She follows a mysterious cat into the nearby forest, where she discovers an old broomstick and the strange Fly-by-Night flower, a rare plant that blossoms only once every seven years and only in that forest. Together the flower and the broomstick whisk Mary above the clouds and far away to Endor College – a school of magic run by headmistress Madam Mumblechook (Winslet) and the brilliant Doctor Dee (Broadbent). But there are terrible things happening at the school, and when Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to try to set things right.
Director Yonebayashi also co-wrote the film with Riko Sakaguchi. It was produced by Yoshiaki Nishimura. Gkids will open Mary and the Witch’s Flower in theaters on January 18. Have a look at the trailer above and tell us what you think.