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From the legendary Studio Ghibli, creators of Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, and Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, comes a heartwarming family adventure, now featuring hours of new bonus features never-before-released in North America!
When Sosuke, a young boy who lives on a clifftop overlooking the sea, rescues a stranded goldfish named Ponyo, he discovers more than he bargained for. Ponyo is a curious, energetic young creature who yearns to be human, but even as she causes chaos around the house, her father, a powerful sorcerer, schemes to return Ponyo to the sea. Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersens classic fairy tale The Little Mermaid, Miyazakis breathtaking, imaginative world is brought to life with an all-star cast, featuring the voices of Cate Blanchett, Noah Cyrus, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Frankie Jonas, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, and Betty White .
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There are times, and they have become more frequent in recent years, when Miyazaki struggles to bring his fantasies to believable conclusions. "Howl's Moving Castle" (2004) suffered from a nearly incomprehensible ending, and the problem is not wholly overcome in "Ponyo." The culmination of this movie has the 5 year-olds make major decisions that, in reality, could hardly be demanded of them. By comparison, the younger sister in Miyazaki's definitive "My Neighbor Totoro" (1988) was around the same age and acted more in accordance with it. In "Ponyo" the children's behavior seems to be increasingly at the service of the story's environmental message, and this prevents them from becoming quite as real and relatable as the girls from "Totoro," "Kiki's Delivery Service" (1989), and "Spirited Away" (2001). Nonetheless, "Ponyo" is further and welcome evidence of Studio Ghibli's unrivaled mastery of the animated medium.
This review is part of my home-schooling class on Japanese anime films. We researched anime as a genre and have seen all of Hayao Miyazaki's films remastered into English.