Movie Review – Ponyo

Ponyo

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Starring the voices of Noah Cyrus, Frankie Jonas, Tina Fey, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchett, Lily Tomlin, Cloris Leachman, and Betty White.

Backstory

I’m starting to remember when I first fell in love with the works of Hayao Miyazaki. One of the world’s most renowned animators, his films have become synonymous with quality work. And with Disney distributing all of his films in North America for the last little bit, every time I hear of one coming to my local cineplex, I know I have to drop everything and head down to the theatre to see it. So with Ponyo coming to town, I was dropping everything.

Plot

Sosuke is a five year old boy. His mother, Lisa, is a nurse in a nursing home. His father is a ship’s captain, and spends lots of time out at sea. One day, Sosuke finds this goldfish with a human face that he names Ponyo. Ponyo, turns out, is a magical creature, and is growing infatuated with the human world…Sosuke in particular. Ponyo eventually taps into her father’s magic to become fully human. But, there’s a problem with this. By becoming human, Ponyo has thrown the balance of nature out of whack. Can the balance be restored AND Sosuke and Ponyo still be with each other forever?

What I Liked

Miyazaki’s animation, as always, is gorgeous. See it on the big screen to fully appreciate it. The seascapes, the fish…all fantastic! It was nice to see Miyazaki doing something lighter than what he’s done recently…instead of the high fantasy/drama of Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, this is smaller and more upbeat, like My Neighbor Totoro. The score is once again amazing, and the English language dubbing is nice and flawless.

What I Didn’t Like

Miyazaki is well-known for putting strong female characters in his films, but there’s one scene with Sosuke’s mother where she comes across like a spoiled 7 year old throwing a tantrum, and it seemed out of place. And that’s just a horrible hip-hop remix of the theme song that plays over the end credits.

Final Assessment

Something you don’t get from a lot of animated films these days…you truly feel transported into another world. Loved it!

3.5 Nibs

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