Hand-drawn animation is the hallmark of Hayao Miyazaki, and his film, Ponyo, is colorful and filled with delightful characters. A mixture of The Little Mermaid and Splash, this film tells the story of a young fish who desires to be human.
Ponyo and Sosuke
Ponyo’s mother is a powerful sea goddess, and her father is a wizard. Ponyo, much like Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, is enamored by life above the ocean. One day she travels to the surface and is rescued by a five-year-old boy. Sosuke names the little goldfish Ponyo. Sosuke and Ponyo become close friends, even though she is a fish. Then, through circumstances of nature, she returns to the sea, and Sosuke holds out hope that he will see his little Ponyo again.
Sosuke’s mother works at a senior center, and his father is a captain on a ship, so the little boy does not have many friends to play with. The feelings he had for Ponyo go deeper than simply a boy and his pet fish. They formed an instantaneous bond that will determine their destiny.
Meanwhile, under the sea, Ponyo’s father keeps her in a bubble so she cannot escape again. However, she is developing powers he is unable to control. Little by little Ponyo becomes human. With the help of her sisters and her underwater friends, Ponyo races to the surface to find her friend Sosuke. When Sosuke sees her, he is amazed that his beloved goldfish is now a little girl.
While Ponyo’s father is causing havoc and trying to get his little girl back, her powerful mother decides that if she truly wants to be a human, then she should be able to follow her heart, provided Sosuke really does love her.
This is a beautiful story and probably Miyazaki’s best film to date. It boasts a star-studded cast of voice talent which includes Noah Lindsey Cyrus (Ponyo), and Frankie Jonas (Sosuke), Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Chloris Leachman, and Betty White. The character of Ponyo is adorable, both as a fish and a little girl.
Ponyo is a sweet movie with wonderful animation. It’s something suitable for the entire family.
Hayao Miyazaki’s DVD Releases
Hayao Miyazaki has created several classic animated films. Besides the release of Ponyo, which is available in a set containing both a DVD and a Blu-ray disc, three other Miyazaki films have been re-released, each in two-disc special editions and with new bonus features: My Neighbor Totoro boasts the voice talents of Tim Daly, Dakota Fanning, and Elle Fanning, Kiki’s Delivery Service with the voices of Kirsten Dunst, Janeane Garofalo, and Debbie Reynolds, and Castle in the Sky, with James Van Der Beek, Anna Paquin, Chloris Leachman, and Mark Hamill.
These are all wonderful family films with beautifully drawn animation and all feature A-list voice talents.