Ponyo (2008) voices Cloris Leachman, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon directed by Hayao Miyazaki Movie Review

Ponyo (2008)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Ponyo (2008)

Under the Sea

Ponyo is the daughter of Gran Mamare, a sea goddess, and Fujimoto, an alchemist, and it is her father's restrictions which causes the spirited little goldfish to rebel. It is during one of these moments of rebellion that she ends up on the beach where she meets Sosuke, a 5 year old boy who lives near the sea. Wishing she could be human Ponyo finds that her father uses his mystical powers to make her return to the sea only for the power of her love to not only cause her to turn into a girl but to create a gigantic storm which threatens to unbalance nature unless Gran Mamare can resolve things.

I don't think I have watched a Studio Ghibli animation which I didn't like but some have wowed me more than others. Unfortunately "Ponyo" is not in the group which wowed me as whilst I am sure the storyline works for those who are young it did little for me. With its roots seemingly to have come from Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" this is not so much a simplistic animated story but one with a fantasy storyline which works better for children rather than those who have enjoyed the previous Studio Ghibli animations with a more grown up theme to them.

But whilst "Ponyo" didn't thrill me with its storyline it is a still a treat for the eyes. In this day and age where the majority of animations are created on the computer watching one which is created in the traditional hand drawn, painted way is a real treat. For me it is actually what kept me involved in "Ponyo" as whilst I am not an artist I appreciate the work and skill which went in to creating ever single frame especially as every single frame is layered with so much detail and creativity such as those involving the waves looking like huge fishes.

What I also appreciate is the choice of actors to voice the American version as the young children have the right amount of cuteness to them whilst those such as Betty White who voice the older characters is spot on. The only one voice which didn't work for me was Liam Neeson as Fujimoto as his accent was too much of a contrast to the rest of the characters.

What this all boils down to is that "Ponyo" is visually beautiful and a joy on that level to watch for those who are tired of computer generated animations. But for me the storyline just didn't do it and is one which for me is more for children than for adults.