Hayao Miyazaki's PONYO
Review by Dennis D. McDonald
This is some of Miyazaki’s best work. It’s enchanting, touching, sentimental, funny, and occasionally, simply astonishing.
Miyazaki has a gift for capturing the honesty and wonder of childhood yet he does so without sugarcoating or pandering.
I watched both the English dubbed and the original Japanese versions with English subtitles. The Japanese version worked best for me, partly because I was always very conscious that Liam Neeson was speaking the part of Ponyo’s father. I like Neeson a lot but here his voice was a bit too familiar.
Boats floating underwater, Ponyo surrounded by her little sisters, the little bow Sosuke gives the old ladies when he leaves the senior center to go home, the glowing Goddess of Mercy floating underneath Koichi’s ship, giant fish chasing a speeding car on a seaside road, and crabs invading an underwater home.
Most of all I enjoyed the portrayal of a decent 5 year old boy and a decent 5 year old girl engaged in a budding and pure friendship as fantastic and astonishing events swirl about them.
Thank you, again, Hayao Miyazaki!
Review copyright (c) 2010 by Dennis D. McDonald