A Little Tale of Respect
Reviewed by Raspberry
at 2009-08-17 20:07:36
Ponyo, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, is a little tale that speaks of respect for the ocean, respect for humans young and old, and respect for cultural differences. It is a new tale of a little goldfish wishing to be a girl, rather than a retelling of Disney?s Little Mermaid. Miyazaki has animated by hand, a whimsical, magical film for the young and the young-at-heart. The film begins with a slow undulating blue-green palette of sea anemones, jellyfish, and scores of little fanciful goldfish with childlike faces. There isn?t any need for narrative, the motion of the creatures and the music of Jo Hisaiahi tell the beginning.
The fanciful little goldfish, Brunhild, leaves her ocean home on a jellyfish. Upon reaching the surface she is caught up in a fishing net full of other fish, garbage, and sludge. She is propelled into a jar, which is rolled to shore where five-year-old Sosuke (voice by Frankie Jonas) retrieves it. He cuts his hand when breaking the jar open to free the little goldfish. Brunhild tastes his blood, which heals Sosuke?s cut, and puts in motion her transformation to a human, at the same time throwing nature out of balance. Sosuke puts the little goldfish in a green pail and names her Ponyo (Noah Cyrus). Sosuke?s mother, Lisa (Tina Fey), lets him take Ponyo to school, which is right next door to the nursing home where she works.
Lisa?s crazy driving down the picturesque winding road, past a dry dock, through the bustling fishing town, and up a tree-lined road to the nursing home is representative of Miyazaki?s wonderful sequence of action, and illustrates perfectly a parent?s hectic morning. Miyazaki has created another strong, independent, female character in Lisa. Making her a loving, sensible, modern mother both to Sosuke and Ponyo. Lisa?s telephone conversation with the not-coming-home-again husband, Kiochi (Matt Damon) because the ship he captains must make another run, is a typical wife?s reaction.
Ponyo?s wizard father, Fujimoto (Liam Neeson) reminiscent of Howl?s Moving Castle, arrives to take Ponyo back to her ocean home. Fujimoto uses one of his elixirs to try and put nature back in balance, but magical little Ponyo escapes again upsetting more elixir in the process, and causing a tsunami. Running on the backs of giant dolphins to get to Sosuke, this redheaded, little girl reminds the audience of the stubborn, adventurous little Mei in My Neighbor Totoro. Ponyo is just as adventurous and curious as Mei. When Fujimoto realizes what Ponyo has done he calls for Gran Mamare (Kate Blanchett), the Goddess of the ocean, to help with the situation. This wise, calming Goddess arrives in a blue flowing garment that never ends. She has a private talk with Lisa discussing the future of the young children, which helps the audience understand Sosuke and Ponyo?s relationship is not that of lovers, but of brother and sister. The life-goes-on quiet simple ending is typical of Miyazaki films leaving the audience full of hope.
Was this review helpful to you?