Ponyo (Gake no ue no Ponyo) Movie Review

Take a splash at a film, that the whole family will enjoy. Getting a break from all the 3D animation.



        Ponyo, the 2008 Japanese animated film by Studio Ghibli, which was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. This is his tenth film for him. And his style and imagination is still going strong. Disney picks this movie up with great voice acting. This movie is about a magical goldfish named Ponyo (voiced by Noah Cyrus) that travels to the surface of the ocean and meets a 5-year-old boy name Sōsuke (voiced by Frankie Jonas). Once meeting him, Ponyo decides that she wants to become a human rather than her initial form as a goldfish. Although, I do know that a lot of people would that Ponyo does not look like a goldfish what so ever. Just have to be open minded upon watching it.

        Now, the plot begins as a underwater wizard named Fujimoto (voiced by Liam Neeson) is creating ocean life with his elixir in a huge barrier bubble covers the front part his whale-like boat. As he continues on, in the rear a weird creature with a human-like face is seen coming out of a window in the side of the boat. This, of course, is the first scene with Ponyo making her cautious introduction to you. She escapes with without getting noticed by the wizard on a jellyfish and process to the surface. This is merely the first scene even before the intro credits start rolling on screen. And you can easily find yourself lost in the old style but massive artwork that is put into the movie itself. With many oceanic creatures appearing right in front of your eyes.





        Well, it turns out, that wizard is actually her overprotective father and he finds out that she has escaped her aquarium bubble inside the ship. Starting his voyage to search and retrieve her as soon as possible. But before he can even find her, she is spotted by Sōsuke near his cliff side home adjacent to the beach. He is quite a lucky kid. Ponyo gets trapped in a bottle and is freed by Sōsuke. But he cuts his finger through this, and puts his hand near Ponyo, checking if she is still alive. She quickly licks the finger that is cut with a drop of blood on it and cures it. So many adventures and abnormal events continue afterwards to Sōsuke's normal life. Now, I don't want to spoil the movie too much because it is, of course, better seen than read.



        As it were, Sōsuke has a mother named Lisa (voiced by Tina Fey) and a father named Kōichi (voiced by Matt Damon) but he one of those workaholic people that will take extra shifts even though Lisa wants him to be together with the family. Lisa on the other hand, is quite the character. She is quite the reckless driver having a very independent and strong-welled personality with a touch of motherly love and quite pretty. The personality passes on to her son because at many points in the movie she leaves her 5-year-old son, ALONE. Now I know that I am not a parent but come on, it is common sense that it is not okay to do such a thing. Unless, this is common in Japan.


        The artwork in this movie is quite breathetaking at many points in time. From the underwater life just slowly moving around to roaring waves of the ocean surface to the picturesque small village that carries life on it. The old style art that Miyazaki uses, still exists with the exaggeration of tears when people cry. Looking very similar to Totoro but with computer additions and enhancements. And food is always making it appears in his films that is looks, oh, so delicious. That if your were hungry going into the movie, it will make you even more hungry than ever before. There is also a forgivable negative, at times there is movement that looks like that it is skipping frames in the animations but it is not. Sometimes won't have the initial 24 frames per second to be on film. But it is okay, because it is only noticeable during the story driven parts. It appears to drop to 8 frames per second at different points of the film.


        Now, I know there are a tiny familiarities to a well-known Disney film that known as "The Little Mermaid" that might have influenced the movie or not. Either way the similarities still stand. But there is enough twists and Japanese changes to the overall plot that can still make it, its own. Now, when watching this beautiful, imaginary, and creative film don't go into it as if it is a remake. The art will carry you to a whole new world that definitely enjoy. Watch it in theaters and with good friend for the full experience. Although you have a 100% chance that young kids will be joining your show but it is not as bad as immature teenagers that don't shut up and have no respect.


Ponyo (Gake no ue no Ponyo) Description 

EMK Approval 

 Story and Character(s)   This anime has great influence from Disney's "Little Mermaid" but enough twists to keep it fresh because of the culture differences.  87%
Art Style  Characters and environment design has a old feeling to it, but it is smooth and clean. Eye pleasing.  100%
 Music  Wonderful musical orchestra score throughout the entire film.  100%

 Voice Acting

 English: Disney always grabs great voice actors for their animations.

Japanese: Not heard

 Uniqueness  Children continue to be the protagonist in these films as it is the same only in that way. But water has a quality that changes the world. 87%
 Final Conclusion   A outstanding movie with great English voice acting, massive artwork, and wonderful plot. A creative family film to watch with nearly anyone.  97%


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