Posts Tagged ‘ponyo’


August 26th, 2009


Rating: ★★½☆☆

Movie: Ponyo (2009)

Studio : Studio Ghibli

Info : Click Here

Runtime : 103min

Website :

Trailer :


Ponyo is the name of a fish that escapes to the world of men and befriends a young boy, Sosuke, who lives in a harbor town. Ponyo’s father disagrees with her interacting with the world of man and tries to stop her, and what results is a sort of modern fairy tale of young love.

It seems that after Studio Gibli mastered the use of integrating cgi into animation, Ponyo returns to an emphasis on hand-drawn cel animation. You can tell the difference from the unpolished feel of the art that makes it feel more homey and even enhances the storybook feel in certain parts.

I applaud the effort, but at the same time it feels like the animators have been out of touch with this medium for quite some time. While there are some amazing scenes that I am impressed at, a lot of the basic animation is, well… really basic! There is almost no consideration for integrating the characters with their backgrounds, and this difference becomes distracting. I may sound like I am being harsh on Miyazaki’s vision here, but compare this film to his earlier work like, say, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and you can tell that the same crack team that made such a detailed and interactive world is not there this time around.

For a story there really is not much of a tale here, either. There is a dramatic push in the film for some sort of climax, and it never really gets there. That’s fine that a film of this nature should have no sense of emergency, but the “danger” inherent in the story seems tacked on. Add this with an ending that feels rushed and you have one of the weaker films of the Miyazaki legacy.

Still, this may just be a stepping stone for him to return to those days in the past. His approach may have even been the encouragement behind Disney’s work on their newly anticipated film The Frog Princess, which touts a return to hand-drawn cel animation and so far looks visually stunning. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing Miyazaki’s next project in the hopes that he really pushes his vision back into this old medium.

-Donald Lee

Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy , , , , ,