Ponyo Blu-ray: Review By Dodd

....sometimes one should stop and appreciate the work of a true artist like Hiyao Miyazaki.
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
This film is like giving your brain and eyeballs a massage.
No extras on the DVD? Boo!!!
What I remember from going to the movies as a child is the animation. And not just any animation: 2D animation. I mean, what else was there for children to enjoy? I would sit in front of the television as the vibrant pastels of a new release preview would catch my eye. There were no questions of plot interest. My parents had to take me to see it strictly on the basis that it was a cartoon. And what was it that sparked my interest in non-animated fare? The integration of 2D animation in the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Today, we rarely see such works of art because CGI animation now dominates. This is not to say this is completely a bad thing. However, it does seem clear that with improved computer technology, it is now much easier to crank out kid-targeted films without putting much thought into them. If you really look at the slate of animated films per year, I would say that only 1 in 4 contain what I would consider magic. For this reason, I am grateful that Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki still creates hand-drawn masterpieces. I am also grateful that Pixar genius John Lasseter is a super fan and sees to it that Miyazaki's films get proper US distribution. The latest work from the animation master is Ponyo.

The premise of Ponyo will be quite familiar with some as it is based on the classical fairy tale The Little Mermaid. In fact, Disney once brought the story to the big screen with their overused princess template. This time, the story does not involve a princess meeting just the right prince to save her through marriage. A young boy Sosuke (voiced by Frankie Jonas) befriends an ocean-dwelling goldfish named Ponyo (Noah Cyrus). It so happens that little Pony's father is a magic man of the sea (Liam Neeson) who does not want his daughter venturing onto land for fear that it will upset the Earth's balance. However, Ponyo steals her father's magical potions and utilizes them to turn into a human and be with Sosuke and his nurturing mother (Tina Fey). This leads to major flooding of the land and an ultimate decision that little Ponyo must make in order to save the world.

Ponyo is not a movie that puts my mind on edge questioning the logic of its plot. In fact, the plot sometimes strays into the realm of the bizarre. The truth is these things never quite mattered when I watched the film. Ponyo, like all of Miyazaki's films, immersed me into its magical world that consists of every color imaginable and every fictitious sea creature that someone has never thought of. What matters about Ponyo is that every cell was hand drawn with care and compassion. As I watch it all come alive on screen, I do not sit with the expectation that someone hired a screenwriter. Instead I let me eyes take in the imagery and the story, and smile from start to finish.
I sit in shame every time that I say this, but I still have not ventured out to buy a Blu Ray player as I know, based on living through the DVD phase, that the players will be sold for the price of chewing gum soon enough. With that being said, I could not access the slew of extras on the Blu Ray. However, I was able to watch the 3-minute introduction to the film on the DVD. Hey, fascinating stuff!
When describing the look of the film, I am usually racking my brain trying to find the words to describe what is positive or negative about some mediocre, live action film. The fact of the matter is that this movie is all visual. Every frame of this vibrant work is a joy to take in, as previously emphasized in this review.
The sound is done quite well considering this is a dub job from Japan. It does not resemble cheesy anime or a Godzilla film. American actors such as Liam Neeson, Betty White, and Cate Blanchett among many others prove their voices very fittingly.
The set comes with a Blu Ray and DVD copy of the movie. I learned in disappointment that it is the Blu Ray disc that contains of the action. Come on, no love for DVD? Could you really not just cut and paste the special features onto the DVD Disney?
Ponyo is a film that did not make the theatrical rounds last year as did something ridiculous like G-Force or that other damned Ice Age sequel. This is a work of art that will cause both adults and children to marvel. There are no hidden innuendos or gross-out gags. This is simply animation the way it was started and the way for which it was intended to appear on the big screen. Yes one could make a CGI flick in a flash and cash in on the profits. But sometimes one should stop and appreciate the work of a true artist like Hiyao Miyazaki.

Dodd Alley


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Comments (1)

  1. Johnnyblaze09

    Very nice UI review how did u... anyway nice Dodd. Agree too.

    5 years agoby @johnnyblaze09Flag