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“Ponyo” {Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack} - (Wayne)
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Walt Disney
Genre:
Family
Release Date:
3/8/10
Special Features:

Previews, featurettes, DVD version included

Review:

Partially inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Little Mermaid “Ponyo” still manages to be unique and different from just about any other tale inspired by the same story because of the film’s director—Hayao Miyazaki. Outside of Pixar there have been few directors that have shown the consistency of vision of Miyazaki. Miyazaki has directed a number of classic animae films including “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” among others each unconventional, unique and fun. “Ponyo” shows that Miyazaki hasn’t lost any of his talent. ***

Ponyo is the daughter of Fujimoto a sorcerer under the sea. When Ponyo in the form of a goldfish gets lost and then stuck in a discarded glass jar she’s rescued by Sosuke an active and imaginative five year old. Ponyo transforms into human form because she wants to be like her new little “brother”. When Sosuke and his new found sister are separated from Sosuke’s mother when a typhoon strikes the island where they live and the duo desperately search for their mother. ***

“Ponyo” has all of the wonderful inventiveness of Miyazaki’s previous films and the unusual often startling visual sense that Miyazaki brings to the film along with the unusual narrative approach to his stories all make appearances here. Although it lacks the deeper resonance of his other films “Ponyo” is nothing less than entertaining and puts most traditional animated films (and many CGI films) to shame with its inventiveness. ---

Image & Sound:

Available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, “Ponyo” looks wonderful in its Blu-ray debut. Detail, color and sharpness are beautifully reproduced here. Nicely rendered using AVC encoding, “Ponyo” looks beautiful. Even the DVD has a sharp, nice looking transfers and I have to admit that I’m partial to these combo sets because it allows one to take the film on the road without risk damaging the Blu-ray disc. In fact I flew back to Philadelphia recently from California and took the DVD along to watch on the plane along with some digital downloads from recent releases to keep me entertained and felt that this was one of the best DVDs recently released as well. ***

We get both the original Japanese soundtrack in lossless Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as a solid English language track that sounds extremely good and is presented with a DTS HD presentation. Each sounds exceptional. Although I’m a bit puzzled as to why both soundtracks weren’t presented in DTS-HD since there was plenty of disc space on the Blu-ray. ---

Special Features:

We get a variety of marvelous special features all presented in HD on the Blu-ray disc including “The World of Ghibli” focusing on the releases from the Ghibli studio. We also get storyboards available in a picture-in-picture presentation throughout the film. “Meet Ponyo” gives an introduction that explains the relationship between Ghibli and Disney Studios. ***

“A Conversation with Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter” allows two master animators/directors to discuss Miyazaki’s work. “Creating Ponyo” focuses on the creation of the film including the fact that Miyazaki wanted to aim at a new demographic—five year olds. ***

“Ponyo and Fujimoto” examines the relationship between daughter and father. “The Locations of Ponyo” lets us get a glimpse of the real life inspiration for the backgrounds in the film. “Scoring Miyazaki” gives composer Joe Hisaishi a chance to discuss his approach to scoring the film. ***

“Behind the Microphone” lets us meet the actors that provided the English dub for the film and rounding out these extras are trailers for other Disney releases, the two “Ponyo” trailers and we also get trailers for other Ghibli releases.

Final Words:

Although “Ponyo” isn’t aimed at an older audience but as with all of Miyazaki’s films the film manages to reach beyond that core audience and the director has crafted an entertaining film that EVERYONE can enjoy.

 

 
 
 
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