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I Cant believe that I saw the whole thing!!
This movie is among the worst animated movies I ever seen. To start with the animation sloppy (it is more CGI doodle than it is CGI animation). The characters looks & moves like plastic toys. The animation is so bad that even with a good written story it would be hard to forgive it. The main character is that kind of parent approved hero that don't do much more than telling the small minded kids obvious life lessons. He has a street talking squid-sidekick that is just as cowardly as he is annoying (unfortunately he not as funny). There is also a lot of other characters like the little non-stop talking dolphin & a "CUTE" fish baby that never shut up. The story is never anything more than pointless messages & stupid plot conveniences. If you really want to see this movie take a bath with a drunk Roald Dahl, playing with some plastic animals & it will be the same experience.
Akira Kurosawa & Toshirô Mifune have done it again
It was not one of Kurosawa's best but man it was great. The acting from everyone is great & creates a memorable cast of characters. Toshirô Mifune playes a psycomatic murderer & gives an almost creepy performance. The action scenes looks more like dance scenes (with often is pretty weak) but since the price for the winner and the punishment for the loser is so importent that the fights just feels so intense that it works (not to its full capacity but strong enough). The cinematography is gorgeous (you can take almost any scene from this movie & use it as the poster, it is that great). Last but not least the soundtrack is among the best I have ever heard in any Asien movie. One big problem is the editing since many scenes are irritatingly short. The ending was also a letdown, the movie just ends without much of a conclusion.
Impressiv but Flawed
I love Hayao Miyazaki and this movie stand well together with his other works. The films environmental commentary is subtle but very effective. the story is rich on unexpected turns & twists that keeps your intress awake. The character animation is great & many of the backgrounds are beautifully animated. The film is also not afraid to break the usual movie clichés to be more dramatic & original. As for flawes. I found Ashitaka to be a rather uninteresting protagonist (nothing more than a stereotypical hero). Some scenes are also less visually impressive than others. The thing I love most about this movie is that non of the characters are truly evil but has reason to do what other characters call evil.