Monday, October 26, 2009

HIdden Gems: Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke is a rare film, one that manages to transcend its animated exterior and become simply an amazing film.

Princess Mononoke is an epic fantasy, following the battle between the ancient forest spirits in feudal Japan and the persistent humans that are pillaging their forests. It is a beautiful tale about love, humanity, and the environment.

Director Hayao Miyazaki is simply a master at his craft. Not only is the film highly imaginative, well drawn, and has a very tight story; it is also a highly emotional film that will not only make you feel, but also make you think.

Miyazaki weaves his environmental message into the story, taking center stage amongst all the epic conflict, making you grow to appreciate the great outdoors even more after viewing this film. Not only that, Miyazaki shows us how awful war truly is, he makes us realize all the sacrifice and loss involved. He does not glorify the battles within this film, he shows them in a very real, almost upsetting fashion (or as real as war can be represented in a fantasy). Though Princess Mononoke is also a story of real love.

The romance between the warrior Ashitaka and the wolf princess San is beautiful, and very real in how it unfolds. In the midst of all this conflict, these two opposites come together and form a force that is stronger than all.

Even still, Princess Mononoke is also a terrific action film. The action set pieces in this film are many, all being extremely inventive and exciting to watch. The opening battle with the possessed boar and San's attack on Iron Town are among two of the finer action sequences in the film. Of course the one that is truly the stand out battle scene is the battle between the humans and the boars. This battle is played out in a very affecting, very artistic way, and is definitely one of the more memorable sequences of the film.

This film is easily one of Miyazaki's greatest. It is far more mature than any of his other films, and that might be why it's so special to me. It's a film that is different, but relishes in it, delivering a film that is not just a good animated film, but simply a terrific film in general.

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