Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Disney Gives Heart To Little Ponyo

Animation has been a movie goers favorite for many years, every decade new fans are born and animation lives on. Many famous directors have lent their talent to making such films, Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan's greatest animation directors. So of course he would be willing to contribute to a Walt Disney collaboration. "Ponyo" is a vibrant telling of life and how one little change can bring about severe consequences.

The plot is centered on a fish girl Ponyo (Noah Lindsey Cyrus), who runs away from her home in the sea. She ends up stranded on the shore and is rescued by Ssuke (Frankie Jonas), a five year old boy who lives on a cliff. Ssuke's father himself is a seamen. After taking a great liking to her, Ssuke names her Ponyo and vows to protect her forever. Meanwhile, her father, Fujimoto (Liam Neeson), is looking for his daughter, upset that she ran away. He calls his wave spirits to return Ponyo to him. Ssuke is heartbroken by this, and goes home with his mother, Lisa (Tina Fey) who is a care taker for a senior center.

Ponyo and her father have a confrontation where she voices her desire to become human because she has started to fall in love with Ssuke. Her father silences her with difficulty and goes to summon Ponyo's mother. Meanwhile, Ponyo, with the help of her sisters, breaks away from her father, and uses his magic to make herself human. This causes an imbalance in the world, which in turn results in a huge storm. Riding on the waves of the storm, Ponyo goes back to visit Ssuke. Lisa, Ssuke, and Ponyo stay the night at Ssuke's house, hoping the storm will be over, whereupon Lisa leaves the house to check up on the residents of the nursing home she works at.

Granmammare (Cate Blanchett), Ponyo's mother, arrives at Fujimoto's submarine. Fujimoto notices the moon has come out of its orbit and the satellites are falling like shooting stars. Granmammare declares that if Ssuke and Ponyo pass a test, Ponyo can live as a human and the world order will be restored. Ssuke and Ponyo wake up to find that most of the land around where the house has been covered by the ocean. Lisa has not come home yet, so with the help of Ponyo's magic, they make Ssuke's toy boat life-size and set out to find Lisa. While travelling they see ancient extinct fish swimming, neither wonder at just how these fish can be alive and in the water below them.

After landing and finding Lisa's empty car, Ponyo and Ssuke go through a tunnel. There Ponyo loses her human form and resumes the form of a fish. Ssuke and Ponyo are taken by Fujimoto into the ocean and down to the protected nursing home where they're reunited with Lisa and meet Granmammare. Granmammare asks Ssuke if he can love Ponyo even if she is a fish or mermaid. Ssuke replies that he loves Ponyo in all forms. Granmammare then allows Ponyo to become human once Ponyo kisses Ssuke on the surface. Love wins in the end. As a hopeless romantic I too wait for love to return to me.

I give Ponyo a 3 and on my avoidance scale a 0, this is a vibrant movie with colors that will astound you, Disney will have another classic on their hands and Hayao Miyazaki shows once again he is a master. The story will move you, it has a little message about being responsible for what we do in life.

Ponyo is rated G
Running time is 1 hr. 41 mins.

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