Most of the time it is best to leave beloved and well-done things alone, but this is not the case with acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki (Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away) take on Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid”. Using many of themes from “The Little Mermaid” plus adding on some more contemporary ones like a concern for nature, Miyazaki has made a film that will appeal to kids and parents alike.
A five-year-old boy named Sosuke (Frankie Jonas) goes for a walk on the beach and finds a goldfish trapped in a bottle. Believing that this is no ordinary fish, Sosuke releases the goldfish that he has named Ponyo (Noah Cyrus). The boy and the fish become friends and she reveals to him that she is actually the daughter of a wizard (Liam Neeson – Taken, Chloe) and a sea goddess (Cate Blanchett – Elizabeth, The Aviator). The wizard Fujimoto forces, through magic, Ponyo to return, but cannot keep her there as her friendship with Sosuke is too strong. Ponyo through magic transforms herself in a human girl.
In moving from the water to land Ponyo has caused an imbalance in nature. The moon is now coming closer to the Earth and the levels of the seas begin to rise. Now a large tsunami threatens to wash away much of the inhabited parts of the world, including Sosuke’s home. Ponyo and Sosuke head off in an effort to try and save the world.
The film is definitely told from a child’s point of view and a whole magical world is created. It is a story, however, that families can enjoy together. Miyazaki has one of the best imaginations of any director working today. The stories and the way he tells them are amazing. For instance, for maybe the first 10 to 15 minutes of the film there is barely a word spoken or a sound made. Everything is calm and beautiful.
Miyazaki’s films all have a very distinctive look. You can tell they are his films just from a glance. In this one the hand-drawn animation will cause your jaw to drop – it is that good. It will remind you of the warm animation style (not computer generated) that was predominant more than 20 years ago. The bright colours and the energy that seems to radiate from everything onscreen brings up your enjoyment of what you are seeing tenfold. The quality of the animation adds to the realism of the film and it allows you to be transported into another world where the sky is the limit in regards to what is possible.
-World of Ghibli
-Enter the Lands
-Behind the Studio
-Meet Ponyo – Introduction by the Producers
-Storyboard Presentation of the Movie