A cross between something produced by the Jim Henson Company and something directed by Guillermo del Toro, The Great Yokai War is a charming story about a boy who is chosen at a festival to be the guardian of everything good. What he doesn't realize is that this is more than just a formality, and he must now battle to keep evil yokai (creatures from Japanese mythology) from bringing disaster onto humanity.
This is a positively adorable movie! It uses puppets and CG to create some of the yokai, while others are just actors in costume. While this does focus on creatures in Japanese mythology, it doesn't make it difficult for those of us in the western culture to understand what is going on, or who these creatures are - in fact, there seemed to be a parallel to some of their yokai and some of our mythological creatures. It felt like any other fantasy movie, but knowing the creatures were based in their mythology gave it some depth that aren't always there with other fantasy movies.
Even though this was a Japanese movie, it didn't fail to have pop culture references that even someone who has never had experience outside of western cinema would understand - references to happenings in most adventure movies (for example, the famous opening scene in Indiana Jones where Indy is chased by a large boulder).
Definitely a fabulous movie that any child, or anyone who is a child at heart, would enjoy.