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Ponyo Brings the Master Back!

This weekend sees the release of many anticipated films. District 9 [DIST9], the stylized science-fictioner from director Neil Blomkamp, has had an effective advertising campaign which has whetted audience appetites. Then Rachel McAdams [RMCAD] and Eric Bana [EBANA] star in the adaptation of the bestseller The Time Traveler’s Wife [TTRWF]. This film didn’t really reach out to me, but I am a fan of Ms. McAdams who adds to any film with her graceful presence. The high school crowd is targeted with Bandslam [BSLAM], in which Vanessa Hudgens [VHUDG] goes grunge and forms her own band. Bollywood even rears its head with the release of Kaminey [KAMIN].

Despite all these wonderful offerings, only one film holds my undivided attention. That film is Ponyo [PONYO], by the master Hayao Miyazaki. The latest in the artful animator’s repertoire is being hailed as one of his best.

A little fish girl dreams of being a human. She lives in a submarine but ends up getting closed up in a bottle and thrown out to sea. A little boy named Sosuke finds her and keeps her as his pet, naming her Ponyo. With his help, Ponyo becomes a human and embarks on a life of adventure.  The character of Sosuke is based on Miyazaki's grandson.

This tenth film by Studio Ghibli has already become a hit in its native Japan. It has taken home several awards, including the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. That is no small feat for a film in an industry that is heavy on animated works.

Miyazaki first came to U.S attention with the Miramax release of Princess Mononoke, but it was not until Spirited Away, that he won over American audiences as well as the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Miyazaki is considered a master in Japan, known for classics like My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service and his last film Howl’s Moving Castle.

His films feature wondrous hand drawn animation, but the themes of friendship, adventure and overcoming obstacles usually remain the same. This U.S. release is dubbed by Cate Blanchett [CBLAN], Liam Neeson [LNEES], Matt Damon {MDAMO] and Tina Fey [TFEY]

For audiences looking for a little something different this weekend, Ponyo is the place to be! The lush look of the film is sure to be enhanced by simple yet engaging story-telling that never fails to move.


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By HSXniknak on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 @ 04:55 PM 2532 views

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