Movie Review: Hiyao Miyazaki’s Ponyo (2008) – A Delightful Take on The Little Mermaid

As always, Miyazaki enchants with Ponyo. It is the story of a little boy of 5 living with his mother high on a cliff overlooking the sea. Sosuke finds what he thinks is a goldfish trapped in a bottle and when he frees her, he calls her Ponyo. The film is the first hand-drawn one from Ghibli Studios in years and is sumptuous in colour and nostalgic in its drawing style. Miyazaki himself did most of the water and waves and it was fantastic to see his personal touch once again. The themes of ecological destruction play heavily in the film and we see the devastation caused by pollution when Ponyo gets stuck in the bottle, as Ponyo’s father Fujimoto searches for her in the muck, and from Fujimoto’s manic concern about humans ruining the earth once again with which he justifies his over-protecting behavior with Ponyo. The film is not without a certain prophetic element either because when the tsunami threatens Sosuke and his mother Lisa and throws the massive boats such as the one Sosuke’s father Koichi is one around like toys, how could we not now think of the images from March 2011 after the Tohuku tsunami.

For my 2-year old daughter, it was a good experience but with about 15 minutes left, her patience was gone (the film was recommended for 3y and up so that seems to be accurate). I pointed out to my 5-year old son that the two characters Sosuke and Ponyo were both 5 years old. He told me, “Yeah, but me, I am 5 and a half”!

I highly recommend this film as I would any from Miyazaki and hope to see his son’s movies as well as the 2011 film Arrietti once it comes out here in France.


About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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