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Two in one night?

This weekend, my brother and sister-in-law lent me their DVD of Ponyo. I hadn't even realized it had come out yet...^^; So I watched it over the course of two nights. They insisted that I HAD to watch the English dub rather than the Japanese track--my brother in particular has this huge disdain for people who prefer to watch anime in Japanese. I guess I'm going to have to lie when I give it back. I don't think I'm being unreasonable--as someone who enjoys studying foreign language, I always prefer to watch movies in their native language. =_=

I liked it enough. I thought it was better than Howl, but nowhere near as good as my favorites, Spirited Away and Kiki's Delivery Service. The visuals were absolutely stunning from start to finish, and the Japanese voice acting was better than I expected (Honestly, even though I always watch the Japanese version I think the last Miyazaki film that had good Japanese voice acting was Kiki. Why did he stop using established voice actors?)

I had two big problems with the movie. Number one: indeterminate character motivation. Did this movie even have a villain? Why did anyone want to do what they wanted to do, and why did they decide to do, or not do it? Number two: I didn't give a crap about Ponyo. Which was a problem because the moral of the story turned out to be: Ponyo should be allowed to do whatever Ponyo wants.

Like any five-year-old or its equivalent has enough reason to decide how she wants to live for the rest of her life? Ponyo had no moral compass whatsoever. At least Ariel in The Little Mermaid had the excuse that she was 16 years old and horny. :P

How are we supposed to believe that a kid who probably utters about 5 lines in the entire movie is the heroine we all want to root for? Her father clearly interferes because he cares about her--though it's obvious that she doesn't give a crap about him, even at the end.

And what about Ponyo's mother, the giant absentee parent who earns the right to be the "good guy" just because she's a big, pretty lady?

Yeah, I guess it's obvious that I felt bad for Fujimoto at the end of the movie, even though he was the worst case of Ushiro Bijin (pretty from behind only) that I've ever seen. XD

All in all, I liked watching the movie but the ending kind of killed it for me. Why do all Miyazaki movies gotta end like he just yelled "STOP" in the middle of the action and everyone had to scramble to think up one last line?


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 12th, 2010 12:00 pm (UTC)
I read something recently where Miyazaki explained the concept for Fujimoto was that of a typical modern Japanese father...wanting the best for his daughter but being so emotionally retarded he winds up pushing her away unintentionally. And I did think the comment Ponyo made where she described her mother to Lisa did indicate she at least has some sort of interaction with her, but the film is so vague about it...What I want to know is how the heck her parents got together in the first place XD
Mar. 12th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
That's very interesting to hear! I can see where that's coming from...but I still think that it would have been better if Ponyo had been a little older/intelligent enough to have a genuine argument with her father, other than, "Brunhilde, eat your food!" "No, Ponyo want ham!" XD Because everyone knows how selfish a little kid can be. It's only when you're older and more wise that you can start to deconstruct your parents' attitudes and reveal how wrong they are. :D

I wish they showed more of the relationship between Ponyo's parents. I thought that was really cute, but weird. That giant woman has odd tastes...
Mar. 12th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I want to see Ponyo right now, almost everything I have seen from Miyazaki has under whelmed me. I think too many casual anime fans just pretend he is the best the medium can offer.

And you ask them to watch anything else, they will look at you like a weirdo. He is not the Disney from Japan, that must really go to Tezuka whom actually looked up to him, and they have met a few times.
Mar. 12th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
I think Miyazaki has done some great things as a director, but his films are far from perfect. They have a lot of lovely little moments but in the end they just...end.

There are better films that don't look as nice. There are better films that wouldn't appeal to everyone. I think that Miyazaki is a director with flaws as strong as his weaknesses, but because his films are family-friendly and look nice, people tend to think they're the best there is.

I'm curious as to what your favorite anime films are! :) I tend to be pretty critical myself, and I'm always looking to try out new movies.
Mar. 13th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for the recommendations! XD Of the list I've seen Beautiful Dreamer (one of my first and favorite anime movies of all time), the two Unico movies (surprisingly frightening for childrens' movies, especially the second one), Chirin no Suzu (also a lot more shocking than I expected, I love these gritty children's films XD), and Windaria (I only saw the old US version and really want to watch the uncut Japanese version).

I'm looking forward to trying out these films! On the topic of frightening children's movies, have you ever seen The Legend of Sirius?

Mar. 15th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)
I have known about that for quite some time but I don't have the desire to see it at the moment. You may know about the Little Nemo movie, and the other staples we all love like Secret of NIMH.

Have you ever seen Cartoon Noir? It was this DVD that had six shorts from over the world, they may not like a feature movie, but those shorts were among the finest you will ever laid your eyes on
Mar. 16th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
Really? I saw the Legend of Sirius a few years ago, and it wasn't a bad film, even though the title character was a bit of a moron. I mainly was attracted to it because it was the probably the source of the Irwin/Matilda storyline in Legend of Mana. I was very shocked by the similarities, even in the character designs!

I only saw a little bit of the Little Nemo movie when I was younger. I wish I had paid better attention! I remember that, oddly enough, the NES game based off the movie was released several years before the movie appeared in theaters. I'm not sure why, but I was confused....

The Secret of NIMH was one of my favorite movies when I was in elementary school. I've read the book it was based off, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, for my fifth grade English class. It was quite a bit different from the movie (no magic, Nicodemus was younger and didn't die, Jenner was only mentioned in name and wasn't a villain, no dramatic cinder-block sinking in the mud scene...)I liked that in the book, some characters, like Brutus (the rat that attacks Mrs. Brisby with the lightning spear in the rose bush in the movie) were better developed. In the end, the book and the movie were so different that you can't really compare them, though!

I've never seen Cartoon Noir, but from the information on Amazon.com, it seems interesting!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )