Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Japanese Cinema Blogathon: Ponyo (2008)

I was told about this blogathon held by Cinema Fanatic and Japan Cinema by The Lady Eve this morning and I had to participate. As you know, there have been tragic natural disasters in Japan over the past few days. First an earthquake measuring an astounding 8.9 on the Richter scale hit the island, followed only hours later by a huge tsunami. Since then, nuclear power plants have been blowing up left, right and center. They really need help over there right now, so the point of this blogathon is to get people to donate. If you would like to make a donation, you can make one here.

Ponyo (Studio Ghibli, directed by Hayao Miyazaki)

I have to make confession, I have never watched a Japanese film that wasn't a Studio Ghibli animation dubbed into English before. I have adored them since forever and it makes me really depressed to see that all animations being churned out by Walt Disney are now "animated" films made to look like "real things" rather than illustrations - no matter how great they are. Ok, so this isn't a classic film, but it is just so cute!

The plot is basically a re-telling of The Little Mermaid with goldfish that have faces. Little fish Ponyo is the daughter of human-fish, Fujimoto and Granmammare, a huge sea god.
When on an outing on her father's submarine she decides she wants to see more of the world, so she jumps on a jellyfish's back and floats to the surface (as you do). She is rescued by young boy, Soske,  and he promises to take care of her. 
But Ponyo's father makes some giant blue fish who come and take her away. Soske is heartbroken, and when his sailor father tells his mother he can't make it home from his current sea voyage, his mother is furious {cue cute scene with Morse coding with big lights from shore to the sea}. Meanwhile, Ponyo breaks out of her bubble and uses her magic to turn into a human. She could do this because she licked some human blood from Soske's cut finger. She makes a tidal wave/tsunami to find Soske. The world is mixed up and the senior center where Soske's mother works is very wet. Ponyo finds Soske and his family and they wake up to find a whole load of prehistoric fish swimming outside their house in the sea that has risen to the height of their cliff :O.

Ponyo saved everyone from a tsunami in this movie. Japan really needs a Ponyo at the moment.

I won't say anymore, but this film is so sweet! All the actors have dubbed it so well. Especially the part of Ponyo's mother, voiced by Cate Blanchett. I really like Cate Blanchett, and she does a bit of an Ingrid Bergman accent here. Double awesome!

I was apprehensive about the voicing of the two main roles. Both are the younger siblings of teen senations. Ponyo is voiced by Noah Cyrus, sister of Miley Cyrus, and Soske is played by Frankie Jonas, younger brother of the Jonas Brothers. But... They did really well! Noah Cyrus' high pitched squeels are perfect for Ponyo and she sounds so sweet when Soske's mother asks her what her father is like and she says "He HATES humans! HE KEEPS ME IN A BUBBLE!!! So I swam away from home." Bearing in mind she is a human girl at this point.

It really is a beautiful animation. The undersea world is just a-m-a-z-i-n-g. This is just an awesome film if you haven't seen it already, go watch it!



The Lady Eve said...

Hi Bette - You blogged for a great cause...I haven't seen "Ponyo" but will look for it...the stills you posted are beautiful...

amy said...

Wow, 12 years old? You remind me of me at that age, but I was way more shallow. LOL

I love that you appreciate 2d animation - and of course you do! You love classic films... and probably have seen much more than me xD

When you have the time you should really try the original Japanese audio, as it is way sweeter than the English dub.

Marc said...

Man I just love this movie. It's the most kid friendly Ghibli picture but I think it's the best and most complex film Miyazaki has done to date. It's in my top 3 right after Spirited and Howl.

You're right, the undersea world is amazing. It's so intricate and detailed, it's the best animation of the film and very hard to believe it's all done by hand!

Glad I happened upon on your page because I started a tournament running all this month that lets my readers vote to find the Best Miyazaki/Takahata/Ghibli film. I call it "Miyazaki Madness" http://www.goseetalk.com/?p=7750 We're in the second round of voting...hope you can stop by and vote!

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