By Karen Posada
Rated: PG for mild action and brief language.
Release Date: 2009-08-14
Starring: Hayao Miyazaki
Official Website: http://www.ghibli.jp/ponyo/
Ponyo turns from a sweet simple children’s story to a convoluted drama that is even hard for adults to follow. It does send out a good message though, of love and kindness towards the ocean, but the story revolves around too many surreal things that even for a children’s film is hard to get in tune with.
This new animated film by Hayao Miyazaki an Academy Award winner is a heartwarming film about a boy and his pet fish who fight the entire ocean, literally, to stay together. Its cast is composed mainly of stars from the Disney Channel such as Noah Cyrus, Frankie Jonas and Selena Gomez who is of Mexican background and surprisingly does a lot of the minor character’s voices. Some of the other big stars are Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson and Matt Damon who has a very small role in the film.
Seeing that the film had great success in Japan, there is potential for it to achieve the same results in the U.S., but the film’s turn from a simple story to a convoluted apocalyptic end of the world as we know it, may bore, confuse and disappoint many children. The film sticks close to its Japanese culture with minor elements to incorporate American viewers such as a change in a few character’s names. It is almost 2 hours long which will make it lose its intended audience after the first hour. Although it is a little too unreal at times and one has to struggle to not criticize, judge the story or some of the character’s actions, those who enjoy anime may still like the film even if just for its roots. The rest of you should just wait for it to come out on DVD.