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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


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:


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:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:






Video: 96


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

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

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




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.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen

Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)

Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts /forum/post/18249270


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.
 

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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by coati858 /forum/post/18249743


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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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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Well deserved score...I watched a bit of Ponyo last night and was amazed at the PQ.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dromio /forum/post/18249791



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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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie /forum/post/18250260


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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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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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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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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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruined /forum/post/18252647


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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Discussion Starter #15

Quote:
Originally Posted by EAGLEFAN67 /forum/post/18252535


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).



Regards,
 

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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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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.

Regards

Blu-ray virgin

Jim Dickey
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dromio /forum/post/18249791


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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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Matt /forum/post/18253772


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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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie /forum/post/18253135


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!
 
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