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The son of a sailor, 5-year old Sosuke lives a quiet life on an oceanside cliff with his mother Lisa. One fateful day, he finds a beautiful goldfish trapped in a bottle on the beach and upon rescuing her, names her Ponyo. But she is no ordinary goldfish. The daughter of a masterful wizard and a sea goddess, Ponyo uses her father's magic to transform herself into a young girl and quickly falls in love with Sosuke, but the use of such powerful sorcery causes a dangerous imbalance in the world. As the moon steadily draws nearer to the earth and Ponyo's father sends the ocean's mighty waves to find his daughter, the two children embark on an adventure of a lifetime to save the world and fulfill Ponyo's dreams of becoming human. Written by
The Massie Twins
Master is on form and welcomes a new generation of Miyasaki followers
Quite simply, i was tickled pink watching this in the movie theatre and grinned from ear to ear; eyes wide open whilst trying to take all the details in that are at the same time insanely simple, fresh, yet incredibly sophisticated, breathtaking and in imaginative.
In terms of audience age range, it is probably pre Totoro. The plot works because of the pure heart of 5 years olds who are focused in what they want and conscientious in their pursuit. They lives in a world that is unspoilt by cynicism and cultural learning of how everything is 'suppose' to work. While most critics might disregard this film due to the lack of a 'message' or 'plot' film (Although it is in there somewhere), it is precisely for this reason the film should be cherished. Too often our judgement are impeded by our own limitations of cinematic and cultural standing. Like most of Miyasaki's film, each is totally unique but undeniably Miyasaki. Ponyo may at times feel so unique and fresh, it may feel alien like.
The viewing experience provide a wonderful change from all the generic children's products that are generally commercialised to please the adult demographics (ie/ Animals that talks like their human counterparts, Eddie Murphy in Shrek.) It is perhaps comforting to know that good old fashioned hand drawn cells still work so incredibly well in this digital era where Toystory/WallE/Shrek/Cars generally triumph. It therefore feeling rather nostalgic at the same time makes the film feels timeless, a bit like how Totoro and Jungle Book hasn't really aged.
The subtleties of each character's expression and body language is captured in such nuanced interpretation that digital films like Wall-e can never compete on, or if it does, it would be a very expensive process. It would be a big pity for Wall-E to win over this one at the Oscars, and it probably will this year. Yet it might be quite unfair to compare the 2 mediums, as it is really the craftsmanship and the story telling that wins at the end of the day. For this, Miyasaki is a true master of
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