Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ponyo: Review and Preview

Having seen the Japanese version of Ponyo (Gake no ue no Ponyo) and Hayao Miyazaki’s other films such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, this U.S. release will be a must see for the entire family. Besides the visually stunning animation, all of Miyazaki’s films come with a powerful message of protecting and preserving the environment.


Ponyo (崖の上のポニョ, Gake no Ue no Ponyo?, literally "Ponyo on the Cliff") is a 2008 Japanese animated film by Studio Ghibli, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is Miyazaki's eighth film for Ghibli, and his tenth overall. The plot centers on a goldfish named Ponyo who befriends a five-year-old human boy Sōsuke and wants to become a human girl.

The film has won several awards, including the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year.[3] It was released in Japan on July 19, 2008 and August 14, 2009 in the US and Canada.[4

More on Hayao Miyazaki-

Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿, Miyazaki Hayao?, born January 5, 1941 in Tokyo, Japan) is a prominent filmmaker of many popular animated feature films. He is also a co-founder of Studio Ghibli, an animation studio and production company.

He remained largely unknown to the West, outside of animation communities, until Miramax released his 1997 Princess Mononoke. By that time, his films had already enjoyed both commercial and critical success in Japan and abroad. For instance, Princess Mononoke was the highest-grossing film in Japan until Titanic (1997) came out a few months later, and the first animated film to win Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards. His later film, Spirited Away, had that distinction as well, and was the first anime film to win an Academy Award, topping Titanic in the Japanese box office. Howl's Moving Castle was also nominated but did not receive the award.

Miyazaki's films often incorporate recurrent themes, such as humanity's relationship to nature and technology, and the difficulty of maintaining a pacifist ethic. Reflecting Miyazaki's feminism, the protagonists of his films are often strong, independent girls or young women; the villains, when present, are often morally ambiguous characters with redeeming qualities.

Miyazaki's films have generally been financially successful, and this success has invited comparisons with American animator Walt Disney. In 2006, Time Magazine voted Miyazaki one of the most influential Asians of the past 60 years.[1] The previous year, in 2005, he was named one of the Time 100 Most Influential People.[2]

Anime directed by Miyazaki that have won the Animage Anime Grand Prix award have been Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind in 1984, Castle in the Sky in 1986, My Neighbor Totoro in 1988, and Kiki's Delivery Service in 1989.

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