3 stars
Hayao Miyazaki is back with his new film, Ponyo, a film about a fish that turns into a girl. The premise may sound stupid, but Miyazaki uses his "magical" writers, animators, and mind to make this an experience that is cute and unique. Unfortunately, Miyazaki is not perfect, as for the flawed storytelling make this an adventure that is so hard to understand, that kids will have a hard time comprehending what lays before them on the big screen.
Ponyo is not a bad movie by any means, but it is an ultimately flawed if unqiue experience. Ponyo is the story of a fish named Brunnhilde, who after leaving (or escaping) from her father, meets and falls in love with a boy name Sosuke. Sosuke, vowing to protect the fish from harm, renames the fish Ponyo, and develops a special bond between man and fish.

I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully. –George W. Bush
While this may sound like the wierdest part of the movie, then you are wrong as for Hayao Miyazaki’s art style, story and concepts are known for being extremely strange. While they may hold deep meanings, the meanings are usually accessible to children and adults alike. Ponyo is an exception, as for the plot is extremely hard to follow, the message makes no sense, in fact, here is a list of possible candidates.
  • Fish can make good lovers.
  • Don’t disturb the natural balance of nature.
  • Don’t Pollute the Ocean.
  • Ham
  • The Ocean is Evil
  • The Ocean is Magic
Keep in mind that these are some of the possible candidates, as for the film is a code that must be decoded in order to fully enjoy and understand. In fact, the reason I chose these is because the film seems to only mention these things, and not go into thorough detail about them (Except for Ham, as for they go into a ridiculous amount of detail about Ham). I just don’t know what direction Miyazaki is trying to take the film, as for better storytelling and characters that were much more realistic could have gone a long to making this a masterpiece.
The artistic style is absolutely beautiful, which is expected of Hayao Miyazaki, an artist of great skill and experience. While the style does contribute to the oddness of the film, it does distinguish it from other animated feature length films. Each character is given a distinct feature that just makes Miyazaki’s world come to life on the screen.
Ponyo is a film that must be studied before enjoyed. That would be the only flaw that stops it from ever rising above Up, Coraline, or even Bolt. That is not to say that Ponyo is a bad film. It’s a film that if you do manage to understand, will be unforgettable as most of Miyazaki’s work is.

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