Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea"

There are few directors for whom the announcement of a new film gives me more excitement than Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese animation master responsible for Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke.

His latest film, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, opens this month in Japan, and while there is no American release date set as of right now (it will most likely be sometime next year), I'm already excited. Apparently Ponyo, which tells the story of the friendship between a five year old boy and a goldfish princess who wants to be human, is aimed at a much younger audience than many of Miyazaki's previous films.

My favorite Miyazaki film remains Spirited Away, but his last film, Howl's Moving Castle, had a very grown up sensibility with its themes of a young girl who is magically transformed into an old woman, and longs to be young again. So it will be interesting to see how this film plays out, because Miyazaki's films always have a beauty and emotional richness above and beyond most animated product (even that of Pixar), and they can also be quite intense.

It will be interesting to see Miyazaki's brilliance applied to a film for children that young, but I guarantee it will be better than the usual pandering silliness that is generally aimed at them. It's never too early to start kids on a healthy diet of great filmmaking, and Miyazaki is as good a place to start as any.

3 comments:

J.D. said...

Greatest. Director. Alive. (Ever?)

Next year, if things go right, we'll get 2 theatrically-released Ghibli movies: this and Tales from Earthsea. Even if they're not that good, you gotta admit, TWO IN ONE YEAR rocks.

nick plowman said...

Yeah, I heard about this, that's really cool.

I haven't seen nearly enough Miyazaki films, and J.D. knows all about my inadequacy.

Nathan said...

I acctually saw this flick when I visited Japan last month. It's a cute, sweet story, and while I barely understood what they were saying, you could pick up on the plot pretty easy.