On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.
While protecting his village from rampaging boar-god/demon, a confident young warrior, Ashitaka, is stricken by a deadly curse. To save his life, he must journey to the forests of the west. Once there, he's embroiled in a fierce campaign that humans were waging on the forest. The ambitious Lady Eboshi and her loyal clan use their guns against the gods of the forest and a brave young woman, Princess Mononoke, who was raised by a wolf-god. Ashitaka sees the good in both sides and tries to stem the flood of blood. This is met by animosity by both sides as they each see him as supporting the enemy.Written by
Produced for about 2.35 billion Japanese Yen (approximately US$23.5 million) it was the most expensive anime ever made at the time of its release. See more »
When Ashitaka swims to Iron Town during the battle, there is a shot of the water. In the next shot there is a floating corpse not visible in the previous shot. See more »
In ancient times, the land lay covered in forests, where, from ages long past, dwelt the spirits of the gods. Back then, man and beast lived in harmony, but as time went by, most of the great forests were destroyed. Those that remained were guarded by gigantic beasts who owed their allegiances to the Great Forest Spirit. For those were the days of gods and of demons...
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Studio Ghibli has been Japan's leading anime Production Company since the 1980's, when legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki released his first feature film "Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind" (1984). From the very beginning, it was clear that the Japanese director had a fantastic flair for animated film, and the uncanny ability to engross his audiences beyond the normal movie-experience that makes him the King of Escapism. Over ten years later, it seems that Miyazaki is still just as good, if not better, as he invites the world into his latest visionary fantasy, the cult classic "Princess Mononoke".
The film is set in Japan, during the Muromachi Era, and begins in the quiet peaceful township of the Emishi tribe, when young Prince Ashitaka (Yôji Matsuda), the last of the Emishi royalty, is wounded slaying a demon in an unexpected attack. When the tribe's wise-woman tells Ashitaka that the wound is a curse of hatred that will eventually kill him, he sets out on a journey to the west to discover the origins of the demon. What he finds is a war being waged between the villagers of Iron town, an industrious Iron-works fort led by the ruthless Lady Eboshi (Yûko Tanaka), and the beasts of the forest, represented by the beautiful Princess Mononoke (Yuriko Ishida), a human girl raised by wolves, with whom the cursed prince falls in love. Soon Ashitaka's efforts to make peace are put to the test by each side's bid for allegiance.
"Princess Mononoke" is a fantastic work of art on many fronts, and arguably Miyazaki's best film to date. While some of his other projects have had the same enchantment and excitement, "Mononoke" has an intriguingly dark and infinitely more mature feel, established by the bloody battle-scenes and sensitive color treatment, and solidified by a complex plot and rich, interesting characters. The most obvious illustrative trait of the film is the ambiguity of the characters' nature; the lack of distinction between good and bad. The ruthless lady Eboshi, while caring nothing for the forest or its inhabitants, is very compassionate towards the underdogs of her own community, such as the brothel girls and the lepers. And the wild wolf-princess, while desperate to defend her fellow forest-dwellers and protect the forest spirit, has a deep-seated mistrust of humans that even steeps into self-loathing at times. These interesting character traits make the film a lot more rewarding than many of Ghibli's other works, which were aimed mostly at children.
Of course, all these intriguing themes and characters are only a part of the film's wonder, because Miyazaki's true gift lies in imagery. The detailed animation of "Princess Mononoke" is astounding, drawing its audience into its environments, from lush forest to open fields to crowded marketplace and more; the team of animators that poured their hearts and souls into this film should take utmost pride in their accomplishments. Using minimal and tasteful CGI, the movie stays very warm and inviting even when the subject matter and mood is less-than-friendly. This is also owed to the audio aspects of the picture; the voice talents involved are highly engaging and enjoyable, even in the English dubbed version, which features such big western names as Billy Bob Thornton, Minnie Driver, Billy Crudup, Clare Danes and Gillian Anderson. Joe Hisaishi's music is also a rather splendid complement to the film.
Overwhelming success of the anime production in Japan alone stands as a testament to its fine quality. Breaking a 15 year record held by Spielberg's "E.T.", "Princess Mononoke" became Japan's No. 1 movie of all time in the year of its release, as well as taking the title of best-selling video/DVD of all time. It is also the most expensive animated Japanese feature in history, reaching a budget of 2.4 billion. Outside of its home-country, however, the film continues to inspire and engage audiences from all corners of the globe, taking a well-deserved place in the list of cult-favorites for film-lovers everywhere.
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