Two things about "Ni no Kuni." 1) It features a protagonist who uses a wheelchair, an admirable display of diversity and inclusion in a medium that rarely features characters with disabilities. 2) There isn't much else to like about the film.
"Ni no Kuni" hit theaters on Aug. 23, but if the title sounds familiar, you may be thinking of the video game series on which it's based. Those fantasy role-playing games featured the involvement of legendary animation house Studio Ghibli, with some of the studio's top talent contributing character designs, artwork and animated sequences. And, like many of Ghibli's best features, the games featured a soundtrack by composer Joe Hisaishi. "Ni no Kuni" was a revolution: a game that practically felt like a playable "Ponyo."
The film version of "Ni no Kuni" does not feature the participation of Studio Ghibli — a fact its producers are hoping, no doubt, that audiences fail to notice before entering the theater, because once the film starts rolling, it's impossible not to.