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A Hayao Miyazaki Film

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Miyazaki's Latest Tale of Wonder

  • Sep 2, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+4
G-Force

Title: Ponyo
Director: Hayao Miyzaki
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Noah Cyrus, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Frankie Jonas, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Betty White
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Genre(s): Family
Rated:

 

C




I'm not normally so blunt in my movie reviews, but I think to beat around the bush for a Hayao Miyazaki film is a futile attempt. So I'll put all of you out of your misery: "Ponyo" is another instant classic from Hayao Miyazaki! It has charm, imagination, and wonder to spare. If there is justice in the world it will make $100 million in America (though it's already a huge success in it's native Japan). So there you have it, Miyazaki does not disapoint. Well...he might for some people, but not for me. Now to get to the meat of the critique. While "Ponyo" is indeed a masterpiece and an instant classic it is not the directors best film.

In fact, the movie isn't even that deep at first glance. The story of a goldfish wanting to be a real girl is not an uncommon story for a kids film. Just dig out "The Little Mermaid" and "Shrek" for examples where the girl dreams of obtaining human desires in various aspects. And if you are a long time Miyazaki fan then the enviremental themes, human nature commentary, and strong female characters won't be much of a surprise to you either. In fact, by all accounts, the movie shouldn't do anything for me. It's a childrens film, plain and simple. I'm not even going to pretend there's an underlying adult message. If your not five years old, then you were not taken into account during the making of this film.

And yet...it works so profoundly that I just can't help myself. Sure it's a kids movie and sure it's not rocket science, but if childrens films are going to be made they should at least aspire to be like this. The movie is beautiful to look at. Miyazaki creates wonderful new images of sea wizards, ancient underwater creatures, and a goddess who has Cate Blanchettes voice and has the beauty to compliment earning that voice. It's innocence is pure and refreshing. When a young Sosuke (Frankie Jonas) says that his goldfish Ponyo (Noah Cyrus) has turned into a girl, his mother Lisa (Tina Fey) takes this information as fact without much thought about it. And why shouldn't she? This is a kids film after all, and kids hate to see parental figures doubting their own kids.

Then again, when you get chased by liquid fish during the rain storm from hell, then I guess a fish turning into a girl isn't that much of a stretch as it is. And though the storyline might not require it, it's always nice to see an atagonist with real human emotions rather then the simple need to be evil and, well, usually take over the world at that point (not that this one doesn't try, so maybe we just can't escape that cliche). Though it may seem like I'm won over by simply the visuals that is not true. Yes the visuals are a key part to why this movie works, but the story, simple as it is, also charms with ease. The characters are likable, therefor their plights are interesting. Will it all work out in the end? Most likely, but then that's besides the point. The point is the journey, and like his previous films, Miyazaki takes us on another unforgettable one.


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More Ponyo reviews
review by . March 03, 2013
posted in ASIANatomy
Miyazaki has been a favorite of mine for many years. If there is one artist I can say has never let me down, it is Miyazaki (well, him and Tolkien, so you see how highly I regard his work). Every one of his movies are amazing, from his epic masterpieces Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, to his more down to earth family affairs such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. So how does Ponyo stack up against the other films in Miyazaki's arsenal?     Well, …
review by . August 17, 2009
Ponyo is the latest creation by the master animation director Hayao Miyazaki, and it is completely hand drawn, and in the world of CG dominating the world of animation, this is a welcome and refreshing change of pace.      Ponyo is a magical gold fish, her father is a humanoid living under the sea named Fujimoto, and her mother is a goddess of the ocean, and one day, she was caught in a glass jar while escaping a fishing net, and was rescued by a little boy named Sosuke.  …
review by . September 20, 2009
posted in ASIANatomy
U.S. poster
     Among my favorite anime films are Hayao Miyazaki‘s “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away” (won Best Animated film); those two films are truly masterworks of animation accompanied by a very intricate storyline. “Howl’s Moving Castle” was good but I thought it was a bit of a mixed bag. Miyazaki’s eighth film for Japanese animation company “Studio Ghibli”, “PONYO On The Cliff” (full title: Gake No Ue …
review by . August 17, 2009
Sosuke and Ponyo take a look underwater
Miyazaki's films are refreshing for their even pacing and tempered characters. A far cry from the neurosis of Disney characters where everyone is shouting and riding on high octane. Ponyo is almost completely silent in its first 10 or 15 minutes, and even when the dialoug begins it has more of a sobering effect. If you pair that with the gorgeous hand drawn characters and hand painted backgrounds you suddenly remember what animation felt like twenty-plus years ago.      The story …
review by . August 10, 2010
posted in ASIANatomy
Ponyo (which is also known as Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea) is a film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. For this film, Miyazaki chose to make a completely 2D film, and not utilize any 3D computer effects. This approach gives Ponyo a very distinct feel when compared to some of the more recent films that have been produced by Studio Ghibli. However, I believe that the simplicity of the animation really works well with the story being told in the film. Ponyo is a very family-friendly film, and …
review by . August 18, 2009
From Hayao Miyazaki, the master of Japanese animation, comes a story similar to The Little Mermaid, where a small and ever-so-cute fish-like female becomes infatuated with a land dwelling male, and moves heaven and earth, and a lot of ocean to try to make her dream come true.       Short attention span summary (SASS):       1. Fish girl lives with her father and siblings in an aquarium-like home inside a really cool submarine with flippers.    2. …
Quick Tip by . April 07, 2010
I really enjoyed the animation & music, but the story & characters were severely under-developed. Plot felt rushed.
review by . December 13, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Ponyo is a young fish-girl who loves to explore, but her father, a great wizard of the sea, fears the chaos her untamed powers could unleash upon the world. He's right to worry, since she, like every young undomesticated child, is an elemental force of nature who has little respect for the boundaries that grownups take so seriously. She escapes and meets up with a young boy whose imagination at least is a match for her magical powers - and it is love at first sight. Not romantic love but something …
Quick Tip by . October 30, 2009
An endearing movie that will appeal more to younger viewers, but adults will also enjoy. See it If you liked Miyazaki films like Totoro!
About the reviewer
Kevin T. Rodriguez ()
Kevin T. Rodriguez is an aspiring film journalist. He's more comfortable typing a review then doing an on-camera appearance, but he loves doing the occasional rant. Whether it be on movies, eBay, or comics, … more
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About this movie

Wiki


Ponyo
is a 2008 Japanese animated film by Studio Ghibli, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is Miyazaki's eighth film for Ghibli, and his tenth overall. The plot centers on a goldfish named Ponyo who befriends a five-year-old human boy Sōsuke and wants to become a human girl.

The film has won several awards, including the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. It was released in Japan on July 19, 2008 and August 14, 2009 in the US and Canada, where it reached #9 in the box office charts for its opening weekend.

The plot is centered on a fish girl who lives in an aquarium in her father's underwater castle with numerous smaller sisters. When her father takes her and her siblings on an outing in his four-flippered submarine, she is driven by a desire to see even more of the world and runs away. She ends up stranded on the shore and is rescued by Sōsuke, a five year old boy who lives on a cliff. After taking a great liking to her, Sōsuke names her Ponyo and promises to protect her forever. Meanwhile, her father, Fujimoto, is looking for his daughter, upset that she ran away. He calls his wave spirits to return Ponyo to him. Sōsuke is heartbroken by this, and goes home with his mother, Lisa (or "Risa" in some translations), who tries to cheer him up, but to no avail. Ponyo and her father have a confrontation, where Ponyo refuses to let her father call her "Brünnhilde". She declares her name to be Ponyo, and voices her desire to ...
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Details

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Genre: Family
Release Date: 14 August 2009 (USA)
MPAA Rating: G
Screen Writer: Hayao Miyazaki
DVD Release Date: March 2, 2010
Runtime: 101 minutes
Studio: Studio Ghibli
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