PONYO Sunday 15 January, 2012

Forget Ariel and Sebastian, Ponyo and Sosuke are the real deal.

If you’ve seen The Little Mermaid you’ll be absolutely familiar with this story. Don’t get too comfortable though. This is a Ghibli film and as such the story is much more strange (and cute) in this telling. For those who haven’t got a younger sister and therefore have not been forced to watch Disney’s The Little Mermaid I’ll give you a little synopsis.

The titular Ponyo is a weird fish thing who is the daughter of the king of the sea. She escapes from the sea and falls in love with a young boy and decides she doesn’t want to be weird fish thing and wants to be a human girl. Cue adventures above and below the waves.

I first saw this film at The Barbican before it got a full release. I love bright colours and I was immediately captivated by the palette on show here. This film is aimed at a slightly younger audience than most Studio Ghibli films. The main characters are younger than the normal Ghibli lead characters who tend to be early to mid teens. It’s also fair to say that the treatment of this film is a little less complex than some of it’s predecessors. That’s not to say that it’s so simplistic as to not be enjoyable more that the cute factor has been amplified.

Usually the original Japanese language version is my preference but in this case the English language dub which features Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Cate Blanchett and Matt Damon among others is equally enjoyable.

Cute, wonderfully vivid, surreal, beautifully drawn and heart-warming Ponyo is the perfect film to stick on for a rainy Sunday afternoon.


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