Ponyo - Theater
AndyO review: * * * *
Having two kids, I sometimes get to see movies that adults wouldn't normally go to or rent. As we've explored our video store, we've found some non-Disney animated gems, including Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away. Both films, I found out later, were directed by Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan's greatest animators.
Today, I took Cameron and his friend MacLean to see the new Miyazaki film, Ponyo. At first, the animation style (anime) of this film matches many second-rate films and children's shows. But in the hands of Miyazaki, Ponyo is like a waking dream. I saw the tagline for this film is "Welcome to a world where anything is possible." That pretty much describes it.
It's ironic that Disney distributed Ponyo. If you remove Miyazaki's thumbprint on this film, you have themes that were also present in The Little Mermaid or Pinocchio. You get the feeling that Disney's legendary animation and storytelling is echoing back to the United States by way of Japan.
If you've never seen any of Miyazaki's films, I recommend you go to the video store tonight and rent Howl's Moving Castle (nominated for the Best Animated Film Oscar in 2006) and Spirited Away (won for the Best Animated Film Oscar in 2003). (Give yourself a moment to adjust to the choppy anime animation style. It's not as slick as computer-animated films like Toy Story or Shrek.)