Nice piece by Mike Hale for The New York Times:
Many things contribute to the enchantment of the 11 animated feature films Mr. Miyazaki has made, beginning with “The Castle of Cagliostro” in 1979. Their sheer pictorial beauty, in the lush, painterly style he developed during years of apprenticeship as a hands-on animator for film and television and as a comic book, or manga, artist. Their swooping, beautifully constructed action sequences, breathless scenes of racing, leaping and, always, flight — in vintage airplanes, on broomsticks or mounted atop mysterious beasts. And, of course, the beasts, spirits, demons and familiars themselves, a seemingly inexhaustible menagerie of companions and impediments for his plucky young heroes (who are most often heroines).
Hayao Miyazaki is without a doubt one of the most talented and accomplished filmmakers ever. “The Castle of Cagliostro” is a personal favorite of mine, but there’s a special kind of magic in all of his films, something that stems from his unique understanding of the human spirit:
You know it when you feel it: the mastery of tone and emotion, embodied in every gesture, expression, movement and setting, that give the films a watchfulness, a thoughtfulness, an unaffected gravity. To watch a Miyazaki movie is to remember what it was like to be a smart and curious child.