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Ponyo

Goosebumps start to form about 30 seconds into the latest from Japan’s Hayao Miyazaki (‘Spirited Away’, ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’). We’re drawn under the waves of the sea to a hidden enclave of neon-hued aqualife more vibrant, surreal and enchanting than any of the floating 3D whatsits in ‘Avatar’. Miyazaki offers a spin on Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ and subverts his source to explore the main theme of all his films: the unpredictable psychologies of kids separated from their parents. The film charts a key episode in the life of bowl-cutted scamp, Sosuke, and the sweet bond he forms with Ponyo, a squeaky-voiced goldfish-turned-human girl. Among the film’s pleasures are yet another heartbreaking evocation of the trials of childhood (particularly the complexity of forming friendships), a non-patronising depiction of old age and a trenchant yet subtle reminder of looming ecological catastrophes. Who knows why it didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for Best Animation?

Release details

Rated: U
Release date: Friday February 12 2010
Duration: 101 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Screenwriter: Hayao Miyazaki

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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philmk

Japanese fish-girl restores the balance of nature and saves the planet. I somehow doubt that all Japanese 5-yr-olds can identify the fish of the Devonian by their Latin names. Still makes more sense than Avatar.