I recently had the chance to see the Disney animated film, Ponyo. It’s a sort of imaginative, magical, and yet in some sense still quite realistic take on an childhood experience. There seem to actually be some Christian undertones of mercy, love, redemption, new life. But I was wondering what YOU thought of this movie. Who else has seen Ponyo?

It is based on an old mermaid tale, which is told differently around the world. Disney made its own adaption of the tale, and now Studio Gib. has made an adaption.

I loved “Kiki’s Delivery Service” and “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away,” but I’m still a little wary of “Ponyo” because it’s the first Mizayaki (sp?) that is being marketed and promoted to kids…I would feel weird going to a movie where it’s going to be all kids in the theater. How much of Hans Christian Anderson is in it?

For a Disney release, I might have expected much more discussion. Perhaps few are actually seeing this film? It did seem to have a relatively limited release even here in a big city. Unless that was by design to drive all the business to one chain’s theaters.

I think it would be fine for kids. There are some semi-adult themes at play. Like the mom who is angry at her husband for taking another job which keeps him from home. But I think this is the kind of thing which can appeal to both child and adult levels. Which is what makes for good animation, IMO. The sheer curiosity and joy which the two child characters have in their magical relationship between boy and fish cum girl is wonderful. And the emotions which the seniors go through is instructive.

Eh? What about “My Neighbor Totoro” ?

I’ve seen it a couple of times at home with my 3-year-old son; my wife purchased the Japanese dvd at a local Japanese bookstore. The animation is very beautiful (no surprise there since it’s Studio Ghibli!) – I especially liked the primitive Devonian-era fish and the ocean swell. However there are a number of important plot points which remain confusing to me despite having seen it several times. I won’t go into detail to avoid spoiling the film for those who haven’t seen it.

The movie is clearly saying something about environmental devastation and the folly of modern man’s treatment of the earth – which was a major theme of “Princess Mononoke” as well – but I couldn’t tell you in more precise terms what that message is, exactly.

I think it’s a return to form for Miazaki, a much more simple and childlike film reminiscent of “My Neighbor Totoro” (and to a lesser extent “Kiki the Witch”). Unfortunately for me I prefer his movies with complicated, frenzied “adult” plots like “Princess Mononoke,” “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Porco Rosso.”

Regarding plot intricacies, I’d definitely agree that there were some things which were either left undeveloped or just didn’t entirely add up. I guess I was willing to suspend questioning, however, in order to enter into the fantasy (and understanding that the movie would have been at least 2.5 hours long if they hadn’t just sort of gotten to the greater point.)

For some reason, it was very hard to find a theater here in western NC that carried Ponyo. I guess we’ll wait until the DVD comes out.

I haven’t seen it yet. I will watch it under your recommendation.http://www.photosnag.com/img/4673/n09x0302vnsn/clear.gif

Even if it’s being marketed by Disney, do not call this film a Disney film. It is a Miyazaki film.

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