the rantings and ravings of a not quite sane cow

Monday, September 7, 2009

Movie Review: Ponyo

I'll start by filtering out the crud:
If you think animation is only for kids, this movie isn't for you.
If you think Family Guy is the height of animation for adults to watch, this movie isn't for you.
If you think that animation only exists to be funny, this movie isn't for you.
If you've never seen a film by Hayao Miyazaki, you might have no idea what the hell I'm talking about in this review.

None of that is to say that this isn't suitable for kids or adults or isn't funny. It's more suitable for kids than any other Miyazaki movie I've seen (although some things might need some explaining to the little ones). It might not as good to the older set as Princess Mononoke. And while it probably is funnier than any of the Miyazaki movies I've seen, that's not its sole purpose for existence.

I'd give you the basic idea of the plot but that's really not necessary, look it up somewhere else. Yes, the plot is important (and quite good for the medium), bet regaling you of it is not why I'm here. It's told quite well, never leaving you confused as to what's going on (except maybe at the start, but how often do you know EXACTLY what is going on at the start of a movie?). Most importantly: it's fun! Yes, it may seem like it's aimed towards kids (as I said before, not necessarily true) but it really can be enjoyed by anyone, assuming you have a heart.

The art style is quite nice, full of vibrant colours and has just the right amount of detail (not much)... I guess you could say it has kind of a picture book look to it, but it suits and looks great doing so.

Now for the audio portion of our tour... music is quite nice, fits in perfectly... you may not notice it's there but if it wasn't, then you'd notice. Some of the voices are done by people you might recognise (Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon), but they're in it because they're right for the roles, not to try and get people to notice the movie. There are a few things that crop up from the dub, the one I noticed most was that nobody could seem to agree on how to pronounce Sōsuke's name. I think it'd be nice to learn Japanese and listen to the original soundtrack (which should be on the DVD, as it is with other Studio Ghibli DVDs... while I'm on that, PLEASE, PLEASE stop correcting for overscan on the disc masters).

Summary: This movie may not be for everyone. It should be, though, and you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try. Anyone who just brushes it aside because it's an anime movie or for whatever reason is doing themselves a big disservice.

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