Movie Review: Mary and the Witch’s Flower

BASED on Mary Stewart's 1971 children's novel The Little Broomstick, this Japanese animated movie (with Bahasa ­Malaysia subtitles) is about a little girl with flaming red hair called Mary Smith (voiced by Sugisaki).

While walking in the woods near the home of her elderly aunt with local boy Peter (Kamiki) whom Mary despises, she sees one of her aunt's cats carrying a flower in its mouth.

She runs after it and the cat takes her to a tree where an old broom is hidden. It then tosses the flower at Mary which she ­accidentally crushes.

Mary suddenly obtains magical powers that bring the broom to life, and whisks her to a land high in the clouds where she comes across a magic academy run by Madame Mumblechook (Amami).

Mumblechook is impressed by Mary's ability to perform magic tricks and calls her a prodigy. Even Dr Dee (Fumiyo Kohinata), who likes doing weird experiments, is also bowled over by Mary's abilities.

Mary soon finds out the hard way that her powers only last for a short time, and she needs to 'replenish' it with flowers from a magical plant.

She also discovers that the academy is hiding some dark secrets.

When Mumblechook begins to suspect the magical flowers are the key to Mary's powers, she kidnaps Peter and demands the flowers as ransom. Mary must now save Peter and the world from Mumblechook and Dee's diabolical plans.

The movie is entertaining but there are some scenes that drag too long. I wish there was more banter between Mary and Peter to better explain why they hate each other.

Overall, this is an average movie that might only appeal to children.