2 Movies Like An Ideal Father (2024)

Staff & contributors
Remember Bing Bong from Inside Out? This time, there’s a whole world of imaginary friends that don't fade into the recesses of a child’s mind– instead, they transfer to another place, ready to take on the imaginations of children around the world. That’s the basic premise of The Imaginary. Of course, Studio Ponoc’s third film has been at least partially inspired by Studio Ghibli, with some of its staff having their start there, and with the film’s dreamlike portals and strange cats, but the film takes a more straightforward approach to its story and analogies. As Rudger fights against Mr. Bunting, the film examines, well, imagination, but in all its forms– fodder for corporations to feed on, propaganda to calm the masses, but also as the innately human response to grief, as a mature solution to life’s troubles. The Imaginary may not be a stand-out, but we can’t help but applaud Studio Ponoc’s sincerity in celebrating human creativity.

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Drama, Family, Fantasy

Actor: Akira Terao, Atsuko Takahata, Hana Sugisaki, Ikue Otani, Issey Ogata, Kokoro Hirasawa, Kokoro Terada, Mitsuaki Kanuka, Riisa Naka, Rio Suzuki, Sakura Andô, Takayuki Yamada

Director: Yoshiyuki Momose

Rating: PG

There is some dissonance here. A heavy coming of age backstory serves as the foundation to an otherwise straightforward, even feel-good plot involving fighting and protecting kaiju. The film doesn’t do the best job merging the shiny animations and cute story beats with the threat of the kaiju and the weight of the atmosphere set early on. Individually, however, each side is enjoyable, with the strained father-son relationship in particular being a worthwhile endeavor and full of honesty. But all things considered, there isn’t a whole lot of tension here, even for a film intended for younger audiences, making its 2-hour runtime unnecessarily long given everything it lacks.

Genre: Action, Animation, Family, Science Fiction

Actor: Artt Butler, Bret Marnell, Brittany Ishibashi, Christopher Sean, François Chau, Frank Buckley, Gedde Watanabe, Jonathan Groff, Julia Harriman, Julia Kato, Keone Young, Lee Shorten, Mayumi Yoshida, Paul Nakauchi, Rob Fukuzaki, Tamlyn Tomita, Vic Chao

Director: Shannon Tindle

Rating: PG