Welcome to my blog, there will be nothing but movie reviews and film related content here. I try and review a wide variety of films, from old to new, and throw in film reviews from the current year as well. All comments are appreciated here, I will reply as soon as possible, and feel free to follow!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ponyo - 2007

To begin my first ever film marathon, I will review Ponyo, Hayoa Miyazaki's latest, and arguably weakest film, Ponyo. But first I must set straight a few things I failed to mention in my post about the marathon. Basically all of these reviews will be for the English versions of the films, though I personally prefer to watch them in their original language. Since probably the majority of the people reading this speak English, I feel that it is probably best to review that version of the film. However, if I only get the chance to watch the Japanese version, I will of course just review that one, and not bother with the English. Well, that's about it, and here you go, my first review of the Hayao Miyazaki Marathon!

A five year old named Sosuke is living a simple life right next to the ocean. His father loves his family, but because he is a sailor Sosuke's dad never seems to be around to help him through life. But one day while he is walking down the beach he comes across a stunning goldfish, decides to keep it, and of course names her Ponyo. And this goldfish is the daughter of both a sea goddess and wizard, so Ponyo uses her father's powers to turn herself human, and falls in love with Sosuke. This is a dangerous thing for the world, so Ponyo's father sends the waves of the ocean to get her, but Sosuke and Ponyo want to be together, and they start on a magnificent adventure to entirely turn Ponyo human forever.

From what I have seen, this is my least favorite of Miyazaki's films. In many ways though, it is still a fantastic film, and I really had trouble deciding whether to give this a 7 or an 8. Miyazaki, as far as I can tell, is probably my favorite animation director of all time, and one of the better directors, period. But his most recent film, Ponyo, seemed to lack what his others were filthy rich in. The story and imagination just were not as strong in Ponyo, compared to that of My Neighbor Totoro, or Spirited Away. This is only a minor complaint, as the storytelling is still fantastic, but I just did not feel the same way towards Ponyo like I did with Miyazaki's other films.

Other than that Ponyo is pretty much a flawless film. Except for the always incredible animation, nothing about Ponyo is AMAZING. That is why even though I have little to say negative about the film, it still does not get the highest ratings. The vocal cast was alright, good performances all around, but nothing really special. I don't have anything I want to praise, or really anyone that needs to be mentioned as far is acting goes. Just good, not great.

The screenplay was also good, but like I said I felt it lacked imagination. But to be honest I would probably take this over Disney's version of The Little Mermaid. The Best thing about Ponyo is what ever Miyazaki film made has in common, and that is the undeniably beautiful animation. It may not be your taste, and some things are opinion, but good art is good art, and let me tell you Ponyo is truly wonderful to watch. Most notably any of the ocean scenes, and when the town was flooded with water, and the sea creatures were swimming around the houses, it was an absolute delight to watch. Even if Ponyo had terrible acting, an awful story, and a ridiculous screenplay, I would be able to enjoy it for its animation alone, and that goes for all of Miyazaki's films.

Overall, Ponyo is definitely one of Hayao Miyazaki's weaker works, and unfortunately at times it did not have the same feel as his other films, but that does not change the fact that it is still a very good film. The acting and screenplay were good, along with an enjoyable story, plus brilliant animation that light up the screen. If you are an animation fan, then this is probably a film you will enjoy, but for Miyazaki fans, be prepared for a good film, though a slight disappointment.

Story: 6/10
Writing: 6/10
Acting: 8/10
Direction: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Final Rating: 7.4/10


  1. I saw Ponyo when it first opened here in Kyoto back in 2007... And a matter of fact this is were Ponyo is set :) But i didn't really like it that much, But i must see it again for future opinions.

    Nice work as always Matt man.

  2. I certainly did not love it, but I thought it was good. Thanks Jesse!

  3. I liked it but it doesn't really have the ultimate Miyazaki film feel. You're right this is arguably Miyazaki's weakest...but the good thing is it's also a good film. Great review ;)

  4. Haha true, which is what makes Miyazaki so brilliant, even bad films for him are good. Animation or not, he is one of the greatest directors in the business!

  5. I agree with you, it's good but maybe missing a magical touch. The start is especially wonderful though, with Ponyo rising up on the jellyfish.

  6. Very true, glad you agree. Thanks for reading!