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Product Description
Welcome to a world where anything is possible! Academy Award® winning director Hayao Miyazaki (2002, Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away) and legendary filmmaker John Lasseter together with Disney bring to life a heartwarming and imaginative telling of Hans Christian Andersen s classic fairy tale The Little Mermaid. A young boy named Sosuke rescues a goldfish named Ponyo, and they embark on a fantastic journey of friendship and discovery before Ponyo s father, a p… More >>


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  1. Ponyo has about the most beautiful animation I have ever seen in a movie. It is simply stunning. It seems to live in a world somewhere between Anime and Japanese woodcuts. The large stunning blocks of vibrant colour almost live in themselves and most of the actual things which are chosen to be animated are stunning to – however this does little to hide what seems to be a stilted story which I feel sure has lost something in the translation both of language and culture from Japanese to English.

    This is the retold tale, Japanese style, of the little mermaid. Brunhilde is the daughter of a mad scientist and the sea/earth mother. She is a fish like creature who lives in her father’s ship in a bubble under the sea. But she wants more, and in the opening scenes escapes inside a jellyfish, the most beautiful scene to open a movie with.

    She ends up being saved from certain death by a little boy, Sosuke, who takes her to school but loses her back to the sea in a rather child-frightening scene where the scientist summons up some fierce and sinister looking waves.

    Ponyo (or Brunhilda to her father) returns to Sosuke determined to be a girl. She drinks her father’s elixirs and unbalances the world in the process. The tsunami scenes are both fearfully frightening again for some young children, and hilarious – Ponyo – now a little girl runs along the top of the waves.

    It all is resolved and the earth mother talks to Sosuke’s mother and Sosuke says he will love Ponyo forever and all is well with the world again.

    The story just didn’t seem to flow. The mother and earth mother talking for long hours. The Old lady who refused to go under water and is taken down anyway, Sosuke and Ponyo’s long, seemingly pointless trip in the boat. The very strange prehistoric fish which swim, seemingly threateningly, under their boat. And why does Sosuke say “pre-cambrian”. I know what Pre-Cambrian is, but is there a point that they are there? Is there a point that he knows? why aren’t there just fish there? Is this because the balance of the world is out? But then why does Sosuke, a 5 year old know?

    Sorry, but for me the movie was full of these sort of questions. What was this or that all about? Some is explained but very often I think there is something really important been missed out somehow.

    Anyway. It was an all right movie to watch. My 7 year old quite liked it, the 6 year old found it very frightening, and I found it frustrating and full of unexplained things.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  2. I love all of Hayao Miyazaki’s movies and I loved Ponyo. This was the first movie in a theater that my squirmy 3 yr daughter ever saw and she was simply entranced and actually sat through the whole thing. I recommend this wondrous charming movie to any age group and any person. It is artful and marvelous.

    Now given all that is this particular DVD version the English dubbed one that was seen in American theaters? It is very confusing. The Amazon page gives the American Actors as the principle players in the animated movie and then says it is Japanese with English Subtitles. I am very hesitant to buy this version for my kids since it does not appear to know what it actually is.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. From Hayao Miyazaki, the master of Japanese animation, comes a story similar to The Little Mermaid, where a small and ever-so-cute fish-like female becomes infatuated with a land dwelling male, and moves heaven and earth, and a lot of ocean to try to make her dream come true.

    Short attention span summary (SASS):

    1. Fish girl lives with her father and siblings in an aquarium-like home inside a really cool submarine with flippers.

    2. Headstrong and clever, she sneaks out to see the surface, and encounters the debris of human civilization, immediately getting into trouble.

    3. She is rescued by a young boy, and a strong bond is forged between the two.

    4. Daddy comes to the rescue to save his kidnapped child

    5. … but finds that girls just wanna have fun

    6. Everything goes topsy-turvy until her mother shows up

    Ponyo is a wonderfully entertaining movie for young children, and although not as strong in plot as Miyazaki’s other movies like Princess Mononoke or Howl’s Moving Castle, the animation is excellent, and the story will touch your heart.

    There is no shortage of voice talent, with Noah Cyrus (Miley’s little sister) as Ponyo, Frankie (the bonus) Jonas as her friend Sosuke, and also Tina Fey, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchett, Cloris Leachman, Betty White and Lily Tomlin.

    This is one to see with the entire family, but falls just short of perfect with a few too many inexplicable elements. Recommended for the fantastic animation, simple plot, characters and ecological message, and very strongly recommended for families with young children.

    Rated: 4.5 stars

    Amanda Richards, August 15, 2009

    Rating: 4 / 5

  4. First off, let me say that Miyazaki is one of my favorite directors and animators. Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, Whisper of the Heart are just some of my favorites.

    The problem I had is two-fold: 1) The animation was, IMO, sub-par. As another reviewer mentions Miyazaki aimed this movie at 5 year olds, well I’m not letting them have all the fun in what may be his last movie, so 1 ticket please! But I digress, Lisa’s character (voiced by Tina Fey) was not well drawn, Look at her body symmetry, specifically her legs, as an example. I’ve seen art for children and frankly it can be done better or worse, depending on the illustrator. Since I’ve seen most, if not all his previous work, I guess I was expecting more. The attention to detail found in previous works was missing here. 2) The story was simple enough, again aimed at 5 year olds. But, in addition to being somewhat slow, it begs the question: What value did Sosuke’s Dad bring to the story? He could have been left out completely as far as I can tell. Also, compared to Chihiro, I think Sosuke’s test was simultaneously anti-climactic and daunting. In order to bring balance to the world’s oceans a 5 year old is expected to love someone he has just met? I mean, a test of bravery would have been better, again IMO, to show his true character. I also think the audience might have responded to this a little better. Finally, such a star-studded cast. Wow, talk about wasting talent. I’m sure the fact that Miyazaki’s films haven’t done well in US theaters might be part of the motivation, and it did work, but unless you are good at picking out voices, most of the characters don’t get enough voice time to matter much. Now granted, I didn’t go to the movie to hear Cloris Leachman or Lily Tomlin, but I was expecting a little more screen time for Liam Neeson’s Dad.

    I’ve been waiting for this movie to hit theaters for a year, and this might be the reason I’m being a little hard on the movie, but Miyazaki is not getting any younger and I’d like to think he plans on going out on a high note.

    I know that what I’ve done is probably equivalent to punching a kitten, and I’m likely to get roasted by my fellow reviewers, but this was not my intention, just my opinion, so spare me the righteous indignation please.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  5. This is a marvelous film, another magical movie adventure from the genius of Hayao Miyazaki, I would highly recommend it to everyone, so happy that the dvd will be coming out in March, and for the person who wondered if it was the version seen in the theater – yes, note that the studio is Disney, it will be the in English dubbed with Cate Blanchett, Frankie Jonas, Noah Lindsey Cyrus and others, Disney/Buena Vista does the distribution and dubbing for the Miyazaki films released in English, thankfully under the condition that not a iota is changed ~ wonder what the next Miyazaki gift will be. Go see this film, colors are fabulous, story line is thoughtful and fun, a treat for the whole family, you can’t go wrong with a Ghibli film! Check them all out ~
    Rating: 5 / 5

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