The Attempted Review of Ponyo

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 11:43 PM

Ponyo
What it's All About... Directed by legendary director Hayao Miyazaki it's the story of a goldfish who is found in the ocean by a little boy. He takes care of it and names it Ponyo and after discovering the goldfish can talk they fall in love like only a five year old can. Ponyo, the magical goldfish (the talking gives it away) is 'rescued' by her father an underwater magician who keeps nature in balance with magical potions. Ponyo wants to become a real little girl and live with Sosuke on the land, and after she begins to unleash her own magical power she stumbles upon her dads stash of super potions. She uses her magic to turn into a little girl and seek out Sosuke. On her journey back to Sosuke she unleashes the power of the sea, contained in her father's potions, and Sosuke's village is battered by a raging storm. With the unleashing of such extreme power the world has become unbalanced and some big decisions must be made to set things right again and allow Ponyo and Sosuke's relationship to continue.

What it Did Well... The animation looks amazing, staying true to the now distinct Miyazaki style and the colours used in the film are simply stunning, creating a beautiful and fantastic world. It was probably the best ocean I have ever seen in a film with it's variety of waves, colours and creatures and I just wanna swim in the crystal clear water. The film is also the cutest thing known to man, an innocent love story between two five year olds and the scenes where Ponyo is fully exposed to the human world can only be described as adorable as she is so inquisitive and curious about everything, who hasn't eaten something just after their mum said to wait because it's hot? The world Miyazaki has created is also an interesting one where once again the magical and the 'real' mix but probably in the most socially modern setting of his films. You could easily say this is somewhere in modern day Japan but the characters, like Sosuke's mother, instantly accept the magical things they are seeing and hearing which allows the story to advance easily. For the large part I also thought the voice acting was quite good especially Tina Fey as Sosuke's mother and Liam Neeson as Ponyo's father.

What it Didn't... Compared to some other Miyazaki films I've seen I thought the story was lacking a bit here. Whilst the premise was good, the fantastical love story between a five year old boy and a magical goldfish, the great journey and challenges that the film builds up to seem unfulfilled and not fully explored. I imagined the test of Sosuke's love to be something dramatic and exciting and I was disappointed with the actual test. I understand that this is a lot more child orientated than some other Miyazaki films but it still would have been good if it fleshed out the journey a bit more. Also a few things could have been explained better like Ponyo's father who you weren't sure whether he was good, bad, indifferent, human, spirit or what and you had no idea how he became a wizard. 

Memorable Moment... The scene where Ponyo is running on the waves created by the unleashing of her father's magic and trying to catch up to Sosuke's car. The transitions from giant fish to waves are brilliant and it's very exciting to see Ponyo riding the waves on the road and getting closer and closer to Sosuke's car. You are wondering whether she'll reach the car but also whether she'll knock it off the cliff with one of the waves. A brilliant piece of animation.

What it All Means... Ponyo is another great entry into the animated universe of Hayao Miyazaki. Whilst I found the execution of the story a little bit lax and would have liked a few things explained more it was still an enjoyable experience. The visuals are amazing as always and it is just impossible not to like the premise of the story, the journey to true innocent love. It will definitely amaze the target audience, young children, with its simple story and beautiful animation. Ponyo gets 7 bowls of noodles out of 10.

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