Ponyo

"Very Good"

Ponyo Review


As with Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, Miyazaki takes us on a strange flight of fantasy with this adventure centred around two young children. While it continually stimulates our imagination, it's a little too odd to really resonate.

Sosuke (voiced by Jonas) is a 5-year-old living in a cliff-top house with his frazzled mother (Fey) while his fisherman dad (Damon) spends most of his time at sea. One day, Sosuke finds a strange little fish named Ponyo (Cyrus). What he doesn't know is that Ponyo's the daughter of the Mother of the Sea (Blanchett) and the keeper of balance (Neeson), and that Ponyo is using her powers to become human. Actually, Ponyo doesn't seem very aware of this either, but whatever she's doing is throwing nature out of balance.

While there's a clear environmental message, with vivid images of pollution and strong comments on the damage humans inflict on oceans, we are continually distracted by surreal, fantastical imagery rendered in that unsophisticated, flat anime style. This isn't to say that the film isn't eye-catching; it certainly is. Colours swirl and shapes emerge from each other to create fascinating flow of water and creatures that's so inventive that it's impossibly to conceive where it might go next.

Young children will be entranced by this imaginative approach and by the story of a boy and girl facing a series of outrageous magical situations. But it's not so easy for the adults in the audience, since the characters written rather thinly and drawn fairly awkwardly. Although the animators continually catch us off guard with moments that are truly wondrous to look at. And as usual Miyazaki is unafraid to let things get rather creepy and scary along the way.

It's these touches keep the film from ever being dull. Ponyo gets the impulse (and ability) to become human after tasting blood and eating meat. Her father has a plan that will restore the balance of the oceans at the cost of humanity.

Sosuke's best friends are three cranky old ladies (Leachman, White and Tomlin).

And his mother is an almost comically terrifying bad driver. These challenging, witty touches are what make Miyazaki's films so unforgettable.



Ponyo

Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 14th August 2009

Box Office USA: $14.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $187.5M

Budget: $41.7M

Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures

Production compaines: The Yomiuri Shimbun, Studio Ghibli, Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV), Dentsu, Hakuhodo DY Media Partners, Walt Disney Company, Mitsubishi, Toho Company, Taikei Office, Asahi Soft Drinks Company, Lawson

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 146 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Yuria Nara as Ponyo (voice), Hiroki Doi as Sosuke (voice), as Fujimoto (voice) (as George Tokoro), Tomoko Yamaguchi as Lisa (voice), Yūki Amami as Grandmammare (voice), Kazushige Nagashima as Koichi (voice), Akiko Yano as Ponyo's Sisters (voice), Shinichi Hatori as Anchorman (voice), Tokie Hidari as Kayo (voice), Eimi Hiraoka as Kumiko (voice), Rumi Hiiragi as Young Mother (voice), Tomoko Naraoka as Yoshie (voice), Nozomi Ôhashi as Karen (voice), as Toki (voice)

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.