Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Anime review: Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (Gake no Ue no Ponyo)

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is the latest release by Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli (Totoro, Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service), written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and inspired by Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid.

Sosuke, a five year-old boy lives with his mother and father in a house way up on the cliffs by the sea. One day while playing with his toy boat by the water, he finds Ponyo stuck in a jar. Ponyo, a fish, ran away from Fujimoto, her evil magician father, because she wanted to explore the world. Sosuke can't pull Ponyo from the jar, so he uses a rock to break it and cuts his finger. Ponyo licks his finger and the wound heals. Excited by his new find, Sosuke fills a green bucket and takes Ponyo with him to pre-school. Unfortunately, Fujimoto finds Ponyo again and drags her back home. Because Ponyo had tasted human blood, she turns into a mermaid, and her one wish is to become human and be with Sosuke.

The visual imagery in this film is stunning as with all Studio Ghibli films. The fish and underwater creatures and strange and weird but beautiful in a Miyazaki-esque way. Sosuke is wise beyond his five years, and Ponyo is an adorable, rambunctious imp who turns into a five year-old little girl. At first I couldn't figure out what Ponyo was, but it's explained in the movie that she's a fish that turns into a mermaid, who then turns into a human girl. Got it? The less you try to figure it all out, the more you'll enjoy this wonderful family film. If you liked My Neighbor Totoro, you'll love Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.

The English version of Ponyo (Walt Disney Films) will close this year's Los Angeles Film Festival on June 28, 2009 at 6:30 pm at Mann's Village Theater. The English edition will be voiced by Noah Cyrus (Ponyo), and include an outstanding roster of voice talent, including Cate Blanchette, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Thomlin, Betty White, and Frankie Jonas as Sosuke. The movie opens in theaters on August 14, 2009.

The Japanese version with subtitles is available for pre-order at Yes Asia. (7/3/09 release date)


No comments:

Post a Comment