Film, Family and kids
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?

By: David Jenkins


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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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.