Since her auspicious Japan debut in 1963, Miffy (or Usako-chan to her Japanese fans) has enjoyed a constant and stable popularity, if less sensational than her homegrown counterpart Hello Kitty.

Miffy — the adorable white girl-rabbit with ears pointing straight up — was the brainchild of Dutch graphic designer Dick Bruna. When Bruna first came out with the rabbit back in the 1950s, public response in Europe was a little tepid. But over the years Bruna authored some 30 Miffy books, selling over 85 million copies worldwide.

Now Miffy finally comes to the big screen in “Miffy the Movie,” not as Bruna’s instantly recognizable minimalist drawing, but as a clay figurine with moves directed by Hans Perk. The artwork is superb, but there’s a broadness of scope here that’s never been part of Bruna’s works. There’s a lack of the minimal flatness that has always defined the particular serenity of Miffy’s world. And the scenery seems more cluttered than the stark aesthetics of Bruna’s world.

Miffy the Movie
Director Hans Perk
Language Dubbed in Japanese
Opens March 23, 2013

But surely these are adult complaints. For children, the story of Miffy and her friends going on a treasure hunt at a zoo must offer a kind of Zen experience. In terms of giving their child a lesson in elegant simplicity, a parent could do a lot worse.

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