DVD + Blu-ray
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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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The story is a wonderful retelling of the Little Mermaid, and as with other Studio Ghibli movies, just sit and get lost in the art and the story. The quality is wonderful and the fact is, the weird and wonderful should be part of our lives.
My children are now young adults and even though they show little to no interest in the Disney fare of their youth, they still love the Miyazaki films...and with good reason. Somehow, Miyazaki is able to tap into that dearest of human traits we all long for...the wide eyed wonder of innocence. He does so without sugar coating his material, nor does he speak down to his audience. He doesn't rely on juvenile humor or overtly sappy sentimentality.
This film, in particular, is a prime example of this talent. Even as an adult, when you first hear Ponyo declare "Ponyo loves Sosuke!", it warms the heart because it comes off not only as incredibly sweet, but totally sincere. The English voice cast is well matched, but I must say I was most impressed by Tina (SNL, 30 Rock) Fey's portrayal of Lisa, Sosuke's somewhat frenetic mother. Fey doesn't have one of those voices that sticks out in your head, as is most common in animated fare. Hers is a simple and earnest voice which delivers lines with complete believability. Liam Neeson and Cate Blanchette are also quite charming in their roles, as are Betty White, Cloris Leachman, and Lily Tomlin.
Ponyo is a delight from start to finish and it makes me long for more traditional hand drawn animation. Even though Miyazaki is now retired, I've no doubt that Studio Ghibli will continue the long standing tradition of excellence.
This Disney edition with both Blu Ray & DVD is great and the quality cannot be beat. Don't settle for the poor quality Miyazaki bootlegs that sometimes appear on Amazon - part of the wonder of Miyazaki is the artistic detail put into his films which doesn't translate well in those bootlegs.