by Lauren Sepanski
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In the animation world, Hayao Miyazaki is considered a God. He brought to the medium such films as “Spirited Away”, “My Neighbor Totoro”, “Princess Mononoke”, and “Howl’s Moving Castle”. If you don’t immerse yourself in the world of animation most aren’t surprised if you’ve never heard of Miyazaki or his films, but you most certainly will recognize the name of his biggest fan and best friend, Pixar’s John Lasseter. I’m not here to write a biography on Miyazaki or a term paper on animation, this is about “Ponyo”!
In Miyazaki’s latest creation, brought to the almighty Disney by the hand of John Lasseter, a magical fish who wants to be human. She escapes her father and befriends a 5 year-old boy named Sosuke who thinks she is a goldfish and wants to keep her as a pet. He names her Ponyo and takes her everywhere with him. When Ponyo’s father discovers her missing, she has to use all her magic to stay out of the ocean and find her way back to Sosuke. Their adventure continues when a massive storm cause by Ponyo wipes out most of the island and Ponyo turns completely into a human.
I don’t want to spoil anymore of the story, but “Ponyo” was amazing! Myizaki’s films can sometimes seem confusing to American audiences. I’m sure since John Lasseter helped bring “Ponyo” to the US immediately and into the main theaters, he had some say about the story and such. Unlike most of Miyazaki’s previous films, this is easy to follow, but still holds all of the elements he is known for: Beautiful backgrounds, unique characters, colorful scenes, and memorable images. One of my favorite scenes is when the waves created by a vicious storm chase Sosuke and his mother through the winding cliff roads.
It’s exciting! The movie was thrilling and funny and sweet and really very beautiful. It really made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Everyone should see “Ponyo”, I can see it not only being a wonderful film to take your kids to or even a fun date movie. It’s a kids movie, it’s a fairy tale, it’s a love story. Don’t be surprised when you see it nominated for an Annie and an Academy Award for best animated feature this year. It’s delightful, gorgeous, and really leaves you skipping out of the theater just like when you were a kid.
Lauren Sepanski Animation connoisseur and film critic
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