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4.7 out of 5 stars
Princess Mononoke [Japan][blu-ray]
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351 of 381 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2000
Format: DVD
Wow. I first saw Princess Mononoke during its limited theatrical release (twice). Many people have issues with the dub, but this is by far the best dubbed anime ever to be released -- I, like most anime fans, normally insist on subtitles, but Neil Gaiman and the cast succeeded in putting real emotion into these characters. The casting of Billy Bob Thornton and Claire Danes might rub some ears the wrong way, but in my opinion the emotional impact is still there regardless of the odd accents. In any case, the Japanese track is included, and it's phenomenal. As for its content, most arguments about its violence and length can be dismissed by viewing it as a film, rather than as a cartoon. It's not Disney. The plot is a complex and delicate exercise in shades of gray. Don't expect Akira or Macross either -- it's really not of the same genre.
The video and audio quality is the sort that you would use to show off your new home theater system. In fact, I found the Japanese soundtrack to be richer and better dynamically balanced than the English track (!). Disney/Miramax really took advantage of the format by including BOTH the Japanese and English opening titles and credits -- they are automatically selected depending on your choice of language via an angle switch. Transparent and ingenious. There are two sets of subtitles -- one for the English track, and the other is the literal translation of the Japanese (since some liberties were taken in creating the English script).
Disney was originally going to release "Mononoke Hime" without the original language track, which created an outrage among anime fans (who, myself included, signed a massive internet petition which eventually turned the tide). I applaud this decision, as well as the splendid attention to detail. It has made this incredible movie an even better value.
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95 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is not like any Japanese animated movie or any other animated film. It is not a lost adventure like Pokemon, neither is it a classic cutesy by Disney or Dreamworks. This is a film that quickly caught my eyes and ears because of its rare beauty and incredibly poignant feelings(I love anything that is poignant and this film is no exception). I was quickly captured by the story of a young warrior cursed by a demon god. The demon itself was cursed by anger and hatred it held towards the destructive humans. The animal gods and the humans fought many wars against each other, but their hatred only brought destruction to themselves. There also was the forest spirit who brought both life and death, and could give life to some, but death to others. The whole story I found to be gripping and thrilling. The curse, that evil hating curse that could eat people and animals alive. The conflict between man and beast that did not have to happen. The wolf girl, San, also known as Princess Mononoke, who was neither wolf or human. And the mysterious forest god of life and death, pain and relief. One thing that distinguishes this move from others is that no one is a good guy or a bad guy. Just about every person has good and evil in them, but hate and anger can infest and destroy anyone. I have never known of a more captivating movie. The animation was beautiful and not over done, but very simple and artistic. The gore and violence is hard to stomache, but it brings more poignant feelings to the viewer. The music is also very beautiful and ethereal(some might say it sounds very "Enya-like"). There is absolutely no reason why you should not see this movie. If you think, "oh, it's just an ordinary Japanese movie", or "Oh, it's not as great as it sounds", you're wrong! This is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. If you do not see this movie,you are missing out on a lot.
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117 of 134 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2000
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This Miyazaki movie is for keeps! This is one of the few anime films from the many I have seen, that I will give a full 5 stars. You must give yourself a chance to see this movie at least once. I will definitely buy this DVD when it comes out. Plot is set in ancient mythological Japan where humans clash with humans and damages the environment. Great story, beautiful animation, very strong character development. Lots of action. You will see that a lot of work went into this film. Too bad, I can't recommend this for kids for all ages, maybe around 15 yrs up, but you parents will be the final judge. No nudity, but there are quite a few blood and violent scenes (such as beheading). Don't get me wrong, the story does not really focus on the violence. Watch it and you will know what I mean.
I sure hope the other Miyazaki Anime will be released on DVD soon! (Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaa, etc...)
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48 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2000
Format: DVD
My wife and I have seen this movie in the original Japanese format and can't hlep but watch it over and over again. Everything about this film is wonderful. The story is exciting and relevant. The characters are dynamic and personable. The soundtrack is moving and inspiring. The artwork is second to none, using incredible techniques and more colors than any other animated film ever made. I couldn't believe it though when the DVD release annouced only an English dubbed version. Even if you don't speak the language, the film is beautifully crafted and easy enough to follow. The Japanese-English translation was probably labored over for years, since it was originally released in Japan in 1997, but there is invariably something lost in the translation. If you want to get the true experience from this wonderful film, you have to hear it in its original Japanese form. You can't help but be moved by the dialogue. The themes on man vs nature, man vs man and man vs self are self-evident. I only hope that Disney will rethink its release and include the original Japanese version with the English version as well.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2001
Format: DVD
Okay let me get this out of the way, all you people talking about how anti-human this movie is, know what your talking about before you even think that. The movie sends no such message, it's a mythological story it's almost like this anime is teaching us a lesson: Don't mistreat nature. I don't know, that doesn't sound anti-human at ALL. Second of all, I read a couple of reviews that say it's too violent, well, it's rated PG 13, so to the people who show their 7 year-olds this movie and say it's too violent-- well read the rating and make sure your child is mature enough to watch this movie. This movie did not disgust me at ALL. Sure the boars do look ugly, but that's to show how one-sided they are. Now on to the review.
Animation: Superb
Dubbing: No anime's dubbing is too good, but this one is pretty nice
Plot: Here is the movie's strong point
Creativity: Definitely
There are tons of reviews that tell the story, so I'll skip it. The animation as I said is superb from the character's facial expressions to their body language it's all done masterfully. The backgrounds are as impressive from the smallest leaf to the largest river they're all done in incredible detail. The movie is definitely creative, there are little glowing clicking beings (I forget what they're called), also the NightWalker is a most fascinating creature. With the plot, you might think it's over, but then BAM something changes. Also, what some call the "boring" parts are to build the characters, plot, and frequently give hints on what's going to happen next. As I said earlier, I think it leaves us wondering why we're doing what we are doing to the environment. The dubbing, well, it isn't necessarily bad, but let's face it no anime's dubbing is particularly memorable. So, all in all this is an Anime classic please, do yourself a favor and watch Princess Mononoke.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2000
Format: DVD
For those that recommend experiencing this outstanding film in it's original Japanese language edition:
DVD technical details:
Available Audio Tracks: Japanese (Original) (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1),
Please keep in mind that NONE of the previous reviewers of the DVD edition have actually SEEN the DVD edition, but yet some have chosen to assign a low rating based on rumors they have heard on the internet.
Experience this film in any form and it remains a truly amazing work of art. So falls Klamath Falls.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
This is one of the greatest animated films ever made, but Disney has made a mockery of this blu-ray release by using the word-for-word English dub script as the English subtitle track. The sad thing is, only a small percentage of film buffs will care, meaning that they probably won't rectify the error and there never will be a solid release of Mononoke Hime on blu-ray in the USA.

The 2000 Miramax DVD release of this film includes an English subtitle track that is a literal interpretation of the Japanese language, and it also incorporates Japanese cultural references. This literal translation is a key aspect of appreciating the cultural nuances of this film, because let's face it, the English voice cast and dub script is terrible. (This was one of the first of Miyazaki's films brought over for the American market, and John Lasseter wasn't producing terrific VO work for Miyazaki films at this point.)

Todd Doogan over at the Digital Bits (thedigitalbits.com) has the full scoop on this release, and he gives it an "A" for picture quality and a "D" for the error regarding the subtitle track. I suggest reading it before considering a purchase of this blu ray - you might be better off importing a copy from Japan
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2000
Format: DVD
You just HAVE to vote for this DVD to be produced. If you haven't seen this movie yet in the theatres yet, you must, because it is the most beautiful, thought provoking movie ever made. It is so amazning, that words can't even describe it. PLEASE, PLEASE, vote for this video and see for yourself. You will be amazed. If you have seen the movie at the theatre and want it to come to the US, make sure and submit your e-mail address(es). Even submit your friend's email! (with their permission.) If you REALLY want this DVD to be made, write a review here to get other people to submit their emails! ^_~
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
A lot of Japanese animation is baffling to the casual American browser. It's good eye candy, but never makes much sense, zipping through futuristic scenes and strange fantasies with nary a pause for breath. Among these hyper-caffeinated tales of robots and nubile women, Mononoke sticks out like a chicken at a penguin convention.
Think "Dances With Wolves," only more epic in scope and universal in theme. Beautifully drawn and animated, Princess Mononoke explores the giant forests of feudal Japan and the effect of civilization on old gods. For 133 jaw-dropping minutes, Hiyao Miyazaki draws you into a complex tale that eschews the easy answers and obvious heroes and villains that Americans expect from animation.
If you can't get your head around the idea that this is a serious cartoon, think of it as an Oscar-caliber live-action script, forced into animation because the special effects budget would have been too high. That should get you past continental prejudices enough to lose yourself in the beauty and power of Miyazaki's imagery.
Bring your attention span and your brain, and don't miss this movie. You'll kick yourself for missing it in its limited theatrical release.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2000
Format: DVD
Rare is it for a film, animated or otherwise, to impact you so deeply that you sit in your chair, unable to move, as the end credits begin to roll; stunned at what unfolded before your eyes, what you have just had the pleasure of beholding - of experiencing. There or two other anime features that have done this to me. One was Studio Ghibli's heart wrenching masterpiece 'Grave of the Fireflies' and the other was Studio Gainax's groundbreaking 'The End of Evangelion'. 'Princess Mononoke' has taken a place as one of the best films ever created, or should I say dreamed. 'Princess Mononoke' is a dream come true.
I will not go into the plot because I feel everyone should go into this film with an open mind, with no preconceived notions, as I did. Sure, I had a faint idea what the basic premise was, but nothing had prepared me for what I saw on that screen.
Mononoke was previously in limited release, showing in small/art theaters in the top 20 markets (LA, NYC, Chicago, etc.) Miramax had stated that if it did well in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area then they would go ahead with a full release. Sadly, Mononoke bombed in this market, so many people will never be able experience the film in the theatrical ratio Director Miyazaki originally envisioned. If any Japanese Animation deserved national theatrical release, it is this one. The animation is, in every sense of the word, stunning. Far surpassing traditional Disney animation in terms of CG ingenuity and attention to detail.
The film is only rated PG-13, but it is really borderline 'R'. The themes and emotions it deals with will go right over the heads of younger viewers. Plus there is some intense and often times violent action. Decapitations become a common trend in the film, and there is a particularly graphic sequence in which a hog like animal begins to spew blood from its body. In the screening I attended I noticed one boy, around 6/7, bury his head in his father's shoulder. Afterwards, I couldn't help but overhear and younger girl saying to her dad "You didn't tell me it was going to be scary...". Mononoke is not a child's cartoon, it is serious adult animation with imagery and dialogue to back that up. Speaking of the dialogue, there is *a lot* of it. The film spans more than two hours, which will be too long to keep most second graders interested.
As far as dubbing is concerned, it was [surprisingly?] done quite well. Probably one of the best dubs, actually. The translation is excellent and the voice-lip synch is nearly flawless. This is one anime where the dubbing won't detract from the enjoyment of the film.
As you probably have figured out by now, I am very excited about Mononoke. I can't help but call the film completely and utterly perfect. From the epic story to the breathtaking animation, Mononoke succeeds on all levels. Any film buff that is a film buff deserves to see this, and this film deserves to be seen.
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