Poster note: Like how Disney used the Finding Nemo font? You figured they made enough money to splurge for a different logo. Oh well. ONTO THE REVIEW!
Voices: Noah Cyrus, Tina Fey, Matt Damon
Writer: Hayao Miyazaki
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

The Plot


Spoiler Warning

The son of a sailor, 5-year old Sosuke lives a quiet life on an oceanside cliff with his mother Lisa. One fateful day, he finds a beautiful goldfish trapped in a bottle on the beach and upon rescuing her, names her Ponyo. But she is no ordinary goldfish. The daughter of a masterful wizard and a sea goddess, Ponyo uses her father's magic to transform herself into a young girl and quickly falls in love with Sosuke, but the use of such powerful sorcery causes a dangerous imbalance in the world. As the moon steadily draws nearer to the earth and Ponyo's father sends the ocean's mighty waves to find his daughter, the two children embark on an adventure of a lifetime to save the world and fulfill Ponyo's dreams of becoming human.

The Review

I had no idea what to expect from Ponyo. Unlike other film nerds, I have never watched anything Hayao Miyazaki has ever done. I have had no interest in any of it, and up until two months ago, anime as a whole was off limits. But, as the saying goes, a girl will make a guy do anything and there I was, in a theater, seeing Ponyo.

This movie, for lack of a better term, is insane. Nothing makes sense. I mean nothing. Ponyo herself/itself is some crazy goldfish/human hybrid, the daughter of some crazy haired dude (voiced in America by Liam Neeson, who sounds like he took lots of Speed before the session) who controls the sea who desires to be human after meeting a 5 year old kid, who's mother lets him stay home alone...and the ocean turns into fish and...okay. I sat there during the credits, not knowing what the hell I just watched.

I guess that's the point. According to some very simple basic research, apparently Miyazaki intended for it to seem like a child wrote it. Mission accomplished. Even though it's completely insane, I enjoyed it. It's cute as hell, and visually pretty cool, shifting from excellent animation to child-caliber drawings. The voice acting is a little grating: the kids scream a lot, and Tina Fey sticks out by being Tina Fey, and I couldn't pick out Matt Damon, but apparently he's in it.

The story, as stated, doesn't make sense, but it's simple and it's fun. It's a G-rated diversion, and it actually flies by really quickly. I didn't check my watch once and that's always a good sign. If you like Miyazaki's previous work, which I guess includes Spirited Away according to friends, or if you have really little kids, definitely check this out. If you like your films to make sense and you want to leave the theater knowing what happened: avoid it.

Oh and if you do see it, do not stay for the ending credits because the Ponyo theme is the MOST ANNOYING SONG I HAVE EVER HEARD. EVER.

Final Verdict


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