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post #1 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=168941&d=1267723873
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

91






Studio and Year: Disney/Studio Ghibli - 2009
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 103 minutes
Genre: Animation/Family

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Japanese/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Voices of (dubbed English version): Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Frankie Jonas, Cate Blanchett, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, Matt Damon, Lily Tomlin
Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Music by: Joe Hisaishi
Region Code: 1

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 2, 2010







"Welcome to a world where anything is possible"



Film Synopsis:

A young boy named Sosuke rescues a goldfish named Ponyo, and they embark on a fantastic journey of friendship and discovery before Ponyo's father, a powerful sorcerer, forces her to return to her home in the sea. In her quest to become human and reunite with Sosuke, Ponyo stumbles upon and releases her father's magical Water of Life and triggers a gigantic storm. Now balance must be restored to the world they all cherish.





My Take:

attachment.php?attachmentid=168937&d=1267723747

Playing on the beach near his home, a five-year old boy named Sosuke (voiced by Frankie Jonas) finds a beautiful goldfish trapped in a bottle. He releases the tiny creature and, sure that she is no ordinary fish, names his new friend Ponyo (Noah Lindsey Cyrus). As Ponyo and Sosuke grow closer, she reveals to him that she is the daughter of a powerful wizard (Liam Neeson) and a sea goddess (Cate Blanchett), and magically transforms herself into a real human girl. But by crossing from her watery world onto land, Ponyo has created a dangerous imbalance in nature. As the moon begins to draw closer to the earth, sea levels rise and a giant tsunami threatens to destroy Sosuke's home. Ponyo's father marshals all his might to find his missing daughter, as the two children embark on an adventure of a lifetime to try and save the world.

I wasn't familiar with Hayao Miyazaki's work prior to this review but now have an appreciation for it. Inspired by the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale The Little Mermaid Ponyo incorporates a contemporary concern for nature while creating a bold, imaginative vision of a magical world from a child's perspective. The story is geared toward adolescents however it carries an environmental message that is noticeably aimed at adults. I didn't find that aspect of it to be objectionable and thought that its primary elements were entertaining, especially for the target audience. Fujimoto, Gran Mammare, and the sea itself present young viewers with larger than life characters while Sosuke and Ponyo can be easily identified with. There is just the right amount of adventure and peril to keep interest flowing while leading up to the requisite goal/ending which ties things up neatly. Hayao Miyazaki's hand drawn animation is exquisite as many of the backgrounds/static shots could easily double as standalone paintings. I was a little surprised that a lossless Japanese audio track was not included. I opted for the DTS-HD Master Audio English dubbed version and enjoyed the vocal performances by the cast. Ponyo is an endearing, charming and wholesome film that makes for entertaining family viewing.



Parental Guide:

This film is appropriate for all ages.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699




Video: 96


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699
attachment.php?attachmentid=168939&d=1267723747

Ponyo comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.3 mbps.

This is a reference quality video presentation that looks stunning in high definition. Colors are beautifully crafted with vivid tonality and excellent delineation which I appear visually stimulating. Images have strong contrast, rich blacks and opulent depth. There is a pristine quality to the video that brings out the small intricacies inherent, in the film's animated design. Images are razor sharp with defining clarity and lucid resolution that is notably discerning. The DTS-HD Master Audio track features an engaging surround mix that presents a 360 degree sound field that makes excellent use of the surround platform. This mix is not the type that contains powerful low frequency transients or extended dynamics. Its strengths lie in its attention to detail and beautifully crafted music. Joe Hisaishi's music is the centerpiece of the surround mix and features well articulated instrumentation that doesn't rely on the power of the bass drum or timpani. It relies on the delicacy of instrumental presence which is mixed with the variety of sound effects to create an aurally resplendent surround experience. Dialogue is definitively authoritative with excellent clarity and room penetration through the center channel. Off camera directional cues and panning sequences are spot on which help create a believable and stable sound stage. The surrounds are actively engaged either in support of the music or to handle the films recorded elements. Low frequency effects were not in your face but there was enough bass present that it could be felt when appropriate. I thought this audio presentation sounded great.





Bonus Features:


  • Disc1:


  • (HD) Disc introduction: Meet Ponyo

  • The World of Ghibli - Two features: Behind the studio & Enter the lands

  • (HD) Behind the studio:

    1. A conversation with Hayao Miyazaki & John Lasseter - 4 minutes
    2. Creating Ponyo - 4 minutes
    3. Ponyo & Fujimoto - 3 minutes
    4. The Nursery - 2 minutes
    5. Producer's perspective: Telling the story - 2 minutes
    6. The locations of Ponyo - 9 minutes
    7. Scoring Miyazaki - 7 minutes
    8. Original Japanese trailers (2)
    9. Behind the microphone: The voices of Ponyo (English version)

  • (HD) Other Ghibli worlds preview (8 minutes):

    1. My neighbor Totoro: creating My neighbor Totoro
    2. Kiki's delivery service: creating Kiki's delivery service
    3. Castle in the sky: character sketches

  • (HD) Enter the lands - Multi-layered interactive experience that features 4 lands to explore in Ponyo's world

  • Disc 2:


  • Bonus DVD of Ponyo
attachment.php?attachmentid=168938&d=1267723747


Final Thoughts:

Ponyo is a charming and endearing animated film inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson tale of The Little Mermaid as derived from the wonderfully creative imagination of Hayao Miyazaki. This film is beautifully crafted and features visually stimulating images that look simply stunning in this high definition offering from Disney on Blu-ray Disc. Fans can delight in the supplemental features which explore not only the world of Ponyo but offer a behind the scenes look at the production, Ghibli Studios and the minds behind it. This two disc package which includes a Bonus DVD of Ponyo (the feature film) will make a great addition to the Blu-ray libraries of those that appreciate not only the work of Hayao Miyazaki but good animated family entertainment. Recommended.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

I wasn’t familiar with Hayao Miyazaki’s work prior to this review but now have an appreciation for it.

Holy cow, Ralph. Go watch Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke and Totoro right now.*



*Merely a representative sampling, not meant to push the other Ghibli movies out of anyone's top ### list.

We have our heading. Here we gooooooo!
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post #3 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 11:19 AM
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I wish more of the Ghibli films would get to Blu. For our family Kiki's Delivery Service and Totoro are favorites. Both have absolutely inspired our kids in ways that Tinkerbell and Lightning McQueen, as much as we like those movies, never have.

I went out to get Ponyo yesterday but BB wouldn't take my coupon so I skipped it. Going to try again tonight at a different store. We saw this in the theater and loved it. For sure a blind buy.
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post #4 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coati858 View Post

Holy cow, Ralph. Go watch Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke and Totoro right now.*



*Merely a representative sampling, not meant to push the other Ghibli movies out of anyone's top ### list.

+1 to that.. if you have not Miyazaki's movies you are missing out big time! Apart from the ones mentioned ill also recommend Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky and Kiki's delivery service. Miyazaki and studio Ghibli's work is top class and even Pixar's John Lasseter is greatly inspired by him.

My kids have watched 'My neighbour Totoro' so many times that i've lost count. Such a simple and wondrous movie.. takes me back to my days of childhood(i guess that's true for most who watch it as well)

This is the first bluray of Miyazaki that im seeing, great to hear such positive vibe, definite buy for me.

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post #5 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 11:53 AM
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Nice review, Ralph. My 3 sons and myself really enjoyed the movie, and I am not really the biggest fan of anime. But this movie really captured my sons' attention and immerses you into the world of the movie. Very well made.

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post #6 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 12:03 PM
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Well deserved score...I watched a bit of Ponyo last night and was amazed at the PQ.

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post #7 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dromio View Post


I went out to get Ponyo yesterday but BB wouldn't take my coupon so I skipped it. Going to try again tonight at a different store. We saw this in the theater and loved it. For sure a blind buy.

It's totally the skill of the person at the register. I used it at my Best Buy, someone couldn't get it to work and claimed I couldn't use it because it's only for the combo pack. I pointed to the giant sticker on the front of the box that said "combo pack."

Someone else walked up to help, hit 4 buttons, entered 10.00, problem solved.
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post #8 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie View Post

It's totally the skill of the person at the register. I used it at my Best Buy, someone couldn't get it to work and claimed I couldn't use it because it's only for the combo pack. I pointed to the giant sticker on the front of the box that said "combo pack."

Someone else walked up to help, hit 4 buttons, entered 10.00, problem solved.

I had read elsewhere before I went that BB always seemed to have problems. In my case the cashier couldn't get it to scan, called someone else, who couldn't get it to work, and then pulled in a third guy who just said "if it doesn't scan we don't take it" and walked away. I just picked the coupon, thanked them for trying, and walked out. I'll try Wallyworld tonight.
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post #9 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 01:51 PM
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I avoid BB and WW when it comes to coupons. I've had always had luck at the "Red Rings" since their cashier always deducts it either way. I'll give them the old "..but, but I spoke to your Manager this morning".

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post #10 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 02:20 PM
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Never saw this in the theater, but wanted to. Our theaters don't show foreign releases much, but have loved all Studio Ghibli films so figure I'd buy the BD.

My wife and I are 50+ year old kids at heart!

Used the Disney $10 off coupon fine at my Best Buy!! Sweet to get this for $14.99
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post #11 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 02:39 PM
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I appreciate Ralph's review, and agree 100% with his description of the technical side (audio and visual), but I wasn't as blown away by it as I had hoped. Although I've seen a number of Miyazaki films (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Totoro, Whispers of the Heart), I feel that this is his least memorable. My biggest complaint is that there is very little sense of crisis
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The moon was only mentioned twice and was never a concern for the children. Additionally, the "test" was far less satisfying than I would have liked:
"Do you love her?"
"Yup"
Test passed.


That being said, it was still enjoyable and worth rewatching.
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post #12 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 05:06 PM
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My wife loved this movie, and while I didn't find it as good as Miyazaki's other films, I do look forward to watching the Blu-Ray.

I REALLY wish Totoro and Porco Rosso would show up on Blu-Ray!!!

The level of detail (in the actual rendering) in Porco is amazing!
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post #13 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 07:08 PM
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Thanks for the review King Potts... I may give this a rent , will you be doing Disney's
Princess and the Frog ?
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post #14 of 32 Old 03-04-2010, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruined View Post

Major problem with this release.

There are no English subtitles for those who want to watch the Japanese audio track instead of the English dub. There are only English SDH captions, which have all the sound effects, etc, captioned.

Worry not, they're there and they work.

You can only select them through the menu, not during the film.

The reason why is because it has a few bits of the film that use different graphics for the opening title cards and ending credits. It's been this way ever since Princess Mononoke on DVD.
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post #15 of 32 Old 03-05-2010, 02:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EAGLEFAN67 View Post

Thanks for the review King Potts... I may give this a rent , will you be doing Disney's
Princess and the Frog ?

Greetings,

Yes I will be doing The Princess and the frog (it arrived this week).


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post #16 of 32 Old 03-05-2010, 03:49 AM
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I'm not familiar with any of Hayao Miyazaki's work, but watching Ponyo has intrigued me to see more of his work. Does anyone know if any of Miyazaki's work is on Blu-ray yet or no?
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post #17 of 32 Old 03-05-2010, 04:56 AM
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Ralph
You have a lot of anime to catch up on
I've seen every Miyazaki film starting over twenty five years ago with
"Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind ".
I took my sons middle school class to Mononoke-hime (Japanese with English sub titles) in 1999.
I bought my Panny blu ray player Monday just to watch Ponyo.
Boy howdy is blu ray an eye opener.
Thanks for a xlnt review.
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post #18 of 32 Old 03-05-2010, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dromio View Post

I wish more of the Ghibli films would get to Blu. For our family Kiki's Delivery Service and Totoro are favorites. Both have absolutely inspired our kids in ways that Tinkerbell and Lightning McQueen, as much as we like those movies, never have.

I went out to get Ponyo yesterday but BB wouldn't take my coupon so I skipped it. Going to try again tonight at a different store. We saw this in the theater and loved it. For sure a blind buy.

Wal-Mart took my $10 mfg coupon. I first went to Best Buy, but they couldn't find a copy of the BD, and before they could go in the back to look for the 12 their computer said were in the store, I had to leave for a car app't, but stopped at a Wal-Mart on the way and got it there. $14.96 + tax (regularly $24.96 + tax this week; I suspect it goes to $29.99 after Saturday, and the coupon expires then, too).
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post #19 of 32 Old 03-05-2010, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Matt View Post

I'm not familiar with any of Hayao Miyazaki's work, but watching Ponyo has intrigued me to see more of his work. Does anyone know if any of Miyazaki's work is on Blu-ray yet or no?

I might be wrong, but i don't believe any of his work is out on bluray yet apart from Ponyo. But they are worth checking out on dvd as well, i am not a big anime person so to speak but there is hardly any movie of Miyazaki that i have not loved.

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post #20 of 32 Old 03-05-2010, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie View Post

Worry not, they're there and they work.

You can only select them through the menu, not during the film.

The reason why is because it has a few bits of the film that use different graphics for the opening title cards and ending credits. It's been this way ever since Princess Mononoke on DVD.

Ah yes sorry I read some misinformation over at HTF that made me believe there was no standard Eng subs. I see that there is, so I will be picking this up ASAP!

Vote with your wallet. Don't buy Cinavia-infected Blu-ray Discs! Why pay a premium for pseudo-lossless audio damaged by an intrusive watermark in the audible spectrum?
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post #21 of 32 Old 03-05-2010, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABBN View Post

Miyazaki hates anime. Even though he is Japanese and uses animation as a medium, his tastes and influences are largely European; very smart, young, brave girls; and pigs ... LOTS of pigs.

Fixed.

We have our heading. Here we gooooooo!
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post #22 of 32 Old 03-05-2010, 02:33 PM
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Great review. This is on our list for the weekend.

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post #23 of 32 Old 03-06-2010, 04:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdssrugby View Post

Although I've seen a number of Miyazaki films (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Totoro, Whispers of the Heart)

Aside: Whisper of the Heart is really Yoshifumi Kondō's film, though Miyazaki did do some work on it. Kondō was expected to be a major player at Ghibli, but unfortunately died with this as his only directorial effort.

The other major director at Ghibli is Takahata, and his stuff is definitely worth a look. In particular Grave of the Fireflies, which is probably the most powerful animated feature ever made. It originally double-featured with Totoro as an attempt to balance it with something lighter. It is absolutely worth seeing but do not expect to have a good time.

Another interesting Takahata film is Only Yesterday, which is unusual for animation in that it's a quiet drama aimed squarely at 30+ year-old women. I can recommend it for pretty much any adult viewer (kids would likely be bored). Disney apparently has no plans to release it in the US, but you can import it.
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post #24 of 32 Old 03-07-2010, 01:39 PM
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I do have one question to ask Ralph or anyone else who might now. With hand drawn animation like Ponyo can you really tell a difference between DVD and blu ray?

I ask because I watched Pinocchio on blu ray and it didnt look any better to me. I already bought Ponyo on DVD but have not opened it yet so I might take it back if there is a considerable difference. BTW, Howl's Moving Castle is one of my favorites.
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post #25 of 32 Old 03-07-2010, 01:43 PM
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I guess the next announced Miyazaki Blu-Ray movie is Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which is due out this summer in Japan. That one's pretty old - it was made before Studio Ghibli had been formed. Amazingly it did get a US theatrical release, as "Warriors of the Wind" - but that thing was super heavily edited into a different movie.

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post #26 of 32 Old 03-07-2010, 03:11 PM
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This is definitely a good movie for the kids. My 4 1/2 thoroughly enjoyed this film very much even though the wife was skeptical about it...
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post #27 of 32 Old 03-07-2010, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Dreamwriter View Post

I guess the next announced Miyazaki Blu-Ray movie is Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which is due out this summer in Japan.

I'm happy to see any of these make it to Blu-ray, but I wonder why they chose that one first?

I'm also curious why Disney made the packaging for the new DVD Ghibli releases look so dang close to BD packaging.

Back on topic, in the bonus features, the voice-over for the preview of the other Ghibli movies was clipped at the beginning of each mini-speech. I don't know if it's because of my PS3 or if it's like that on all players.

We have our heading. Here we gooooooo!
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post #28 of 32 Old 03-08-2010, 08:24 AM
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Bought and watched this over the weekend, absolutely loved it! My wife and kids(4 and 2 yrs old) also loved the movie. The feel of the movie is pretty close to Totoro as in celebrating the joys of childhood and taking us back to the little moments.

Also fascinating to finally see some interviews with Miyazaki and also to hear his thoughts on Totoro, which is probably my most favourite movie from his work.

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post #29 of 32 Old 03-08-2010, 09:57 AM
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Thanks for the review Ralph. I really liked this one too, and have been excited to see it ever since I saw the preview for it.

Where do I start?

First, this story has so many endearing moments with the relationship of it's characters. I thought this was especially true between Sosuke and the elderly, and Sosuke and his parents. Miyazaki does an excellent job of displaying those little magical moments that make being a kid so wonderful. Everything is a mystery and a journey.

I also was surprised how Disney departed from it's well defined characters, and displayed some abstract ideas such as Ponyo's father. I was trying to figure him out the whole movie. Good guy, bad guy, something else? Even Ponyo starts as a mystery. Wasn't quite sure what she was, or how she got there.

In the end, this helps keep you interested the whole time. I love stories like this, that take you to a new place, a new thought process about storytelling.

The artistic quality and colors of the hand drawn images are definately a unique quality of Miyazaki. I have not seen any of his other works, but plan to do so now with great anticipation.

My kids have watched this one over and over in the short time we've had it. I thought that the non-standard story and look would throw them off, but no, they seem to get lost in the mystery and story as well.

Great movie, fun storytelling, and unique visuals. The PQ doesn't have the detail and polish of the latest CG Disney stories, but it's not supposed to. It more than makes up for it with the wonderful colors, beautiful characters, and great vision.

The musical score is strong, and adds a lot to the whole experience.

PQ: 4.5 out of 5, SQ: 4 out of 5, Film: 4 out of 5

Dan
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post #30 of 32 Old 03-09-2010, 08:44 AM
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Thank you for the comparison thread.
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