Review: Ponyo (Gake no ue no Ponyo)

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The Pitch: Deranged child-friendly Japanese animation, available with or without subtitles.

The Review: The kind of movie that makes you wish you were taking drugs, as you may possibly get the most from the surreal, sometimes psychedelic imagery. Attempting to explain the plot is almost a lost cause, and actually this is a little lighter on plot than some other Miyazaki efforts, which makes it feel more slight.

Nonetheless, only the hardest of hearts could fail to be enchanted by a girlfish with a craving for ham, running on the top of a wave. Would recommend you avoid doing what I did, which was seeing the film in it’s subtitled Japanese version, along with four dozen children who had to have the subtitles explained to them as they can’t read quick enough.

There is a simple pleasure to the graphical style, and the story has that fairytale feel, while still retaining a more modern quirkiness. It’s just that there’s not a huge amount to make this live long in the memory. Still, the imagery and the music is never less than pleasantly entertaining, especially the tune over the end credits, which I was still humming 12 hours later.

I saw the subtitled version; as with many other Miyazaki movies, there is a version in the English language where the dub has been overseen by John ‘Pixar’ Lasseter. If that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.

Why see it at the cinema: Watching lots of happy children and their bewildered parents staggering from the screening afterwards is always entertaining. Also, the collective experience of joy the film brings is much better in a larger group.

The Score: 7/10

One thought on “Review: Ponyo (Gake no ue no Ponyo)

    […] strange order. He does hold a fond place in my heart, not least for the fact that my review of Ponyo was the first ever post on this blog, a little over four years ago. Hopefully I’ll get chance […]

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