Friday, August 14, 2009

Movie Review: Ponyo

It's rare for a film to sweep you away within its world and leave you wanting more once the credits roll. Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo is such a film.

The film is the story of a young goldfish named Ponyo who wishes to become human. She swims to shore and is found by a young boy named Sasuke who promises to take care of her. Of course Ponyo's father, an ecologically obsessed sorcerer named Fujimoto, tries to keep Ponyo from becoming human in order to maintain the balance of nature, which is eventually upturned when Ponyo finally transforms into a little girl, causing a massive typhoon.

Ponyo is a very rich film. It is full of wondrous fantasy, lovable characters, and genuine heart. What director Hayao Miyazaki has done here is tell a simple little story, and in the process, has created authentic movie magic.

Ponyo is an enchanting experience. The love between Sasuke and Ponyo is very pure and true. As well the environmentalist within Miyazaki is still as evident within this film as in all his previous works. Miyazaki shows the filth and grime that fall into the ocean in an almost startling light, not to mention Ponyo's father is on an obsessive mission to clean the world's oceans. While the story is simple, Miyazaki manages to add this extra layer to provoke thought with expert proficiency.

The film is a beautiful work of art, each hand drawn cell looks like a wondrous pastel painting. The film looks very different than many other Studio Ghibli productions, but the artistry is still just as spectacular as ever before. The scenes underwater are simply beautiful to watch, Fujimoto's fortress under the sea is highly inventive, and the sequence where Ponyo runs across the jumping fish within the typhoon is iconic.  Of course it is thanks to the wonderfully executed characters that makes this film such a memorable experience. Sasuke is a young boy who acts older than he actually is, and the energetic Ponyo is a laugh a minute. Every character is just so enjoyable and highly memorable.

Overall, Ponyo is a wondrous experience, enchanting in every single way. While the film may be sold as a children's fairy tale, I believe many adults will be swept away within its fantastic world along with their children. While the film may lack the density of some of Miyazaki's previous works, here he keeps it pure and simple, being true to himself, delivering a film that is funny, heartwarming, and entertaining all in one. This is a magnificent film.

I give Ponyo a perfect 10 out of 10!

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