Sunday, August 30, 2009


We all went to see a family movie yesterday, Ponyo. It's a Hayao Miyazaki film from Japan, released here by Disney. My kids have been in love with this particular film maker for many years now, since The Eldest discovered My Neighbor Totoro when she was little. Some of his other titles are Kiki's Delivery Service, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. He's the most famous here in the States for Spirited Away, which won an academy award (beating out Lilo & Stitch, which totally should have won IMO). (Not that Spirited Away isn't fantastic, it is, but Lilo & Stitch is my most favorite animated movie ever so I think it should have won.)

The movie wasn't his best but it was beautiful. Miyazaki includes environmental messages in many of his films and this one was no exception, but it wasn't the central part of the story. I don't want to give too much away; American audiences not familiar with his work need to go in and let it unfold. As I was watching I kept wondering how a friend of mine and her daughter will react when they go see it, which they said they would. We're kind of used to his movies and themes, but someone else seeing this movie would probably find it totally bizarre! It's so... out there. The animation is exceptional; even the clouds were full and rich with pastel overtones. Absolutely breathtaking. And oh, the voices! They had a cast of heavy hitters, including dreamy-voiced Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchett, Betty White, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, and on and on and on.

If you haven't seen it, GO SEE IT!!! Then get the rest of his movies as soon as you can from whatever your rental source. They are all well worth watching.

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