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

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

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.