Ponyo (U)



Family (2008)
101mins Jpn

Starring: Frankie Jonas, Tina Fey, Noah Cyrus, Cloris Leachman, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Writer(s): Hayao Miyazaki
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Five-year-old boy Sosuke lives in a cliff-top house with his mother Lisa, the pair of them waiting for sea-faring father Koichi to return home. Down at the water's edge, Sosuke spots a glass jar containing a goldfish called Ponyo, who has momentarily escaped her wizard father, Fujimoto. He uses magic to snatch back Ponyo, but his defiant daughter taps into her rapidly developing powers to metamorphose into a little girl and find her way back to Sosuke.

Seen that movie? Leave a comment / review here >>

LondonNet Film Review
Ponyo

In the same way that Disney and its mascot Mickey Mouse are emblematic of excellence in American animation, Studio Ghibli and its cuddly character Totoro are synonymous with Japanese artistry...

Founded in 1985 by visionaries Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, the studio has produced some of the finest hand-drawn features of the past 25 years, including the heartbreaking Grave Of The Fireflies, My Neighbor Toroto, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, which won an Oscar. For his latest animated epic, Miyazaki turns to Hans Christian Andersen's fairy-tale The Little Mermaid for inspiration. Pitched to a younger audience than most of the director's work, Ponyo is sweet but very slight, with an environmental message about mankind's pollution of the sea that is delivered in bold, underlined, block capitals. Take care of the planet or the animated eco-warriors will come and get you.

Five-year-old boy Sosuke (voiced by Frankie Jonas) lives in a cliff-top house with his mother Lisa (Tina Fey), the pair of them waiting for sea-faring father Koichi (Matt Damon) to return home. Down at the water's edge, Sosuke spots a glass jar containing a goldfish called Ponyo (Noah Lindsey Cyrus), who has momentarily escaped her wizard father, Fujimoto (Liam Neeson). The boy proudly shows off his pet - "I saved her, she's my responsibility now" - and tells the residents of the local old people's home, where Lisa works, how Ponyo magically healed his cut finger. "I'd let a fish lick me if it would get me out of his wheelchair!" jokes one of the elderly women. Fujimoto uses his magic to snatch back Ponyo, but his defiant daughter taps into her rapidly developing powers to metamorphose into a little girl and find her way back to Sosuke. By abandoning the sea and yearning to be human, Ponyo upsets the delicate balance of Nature. The girl's mother, sea goddess Gran Mamare (Cate Blanchett), urges calm: "If the boy's love is pure, Ponyo will remain as a human and the balance of power will be restored," she counsels wisely.

Ponyo is a visually arresting addition to Miyazaki's impressive portfolio. The opening underwater sequences take the breath away with hundreds of jellyfish, crustaceans and schools of fish swarming across the screen in a dazzling display of colour. However, Ghibli's work is usually distinguished by its attention to the emotions of the characters and here, this charming escapade doesn't quite stay afloat. The film noticeably treads water in the final half hour when Lisa, rather handily, is forced to abandon her boy in the eye of the storm. "You have to be the man of the house tonight," she instructs Sosuke, sowing the seeds of his awakening as hero, who drives the narrative towards a predictably feel good resolution.

- Kim Hu


London Cinemas

From Friday 27th October
To Thursday 2nd November

Not showing at any
London cinemas this week.
From Friday 3rd November
To Thursday 9th November

Not showing at any
London cinemas this week.


« Back to Index

Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

Listed in alphabetical order by city/place name followed by cinema name.

From Friday 27th October
To Thursday 2nd November

- Exeter, Exeter Phoenix
From Friday 3rd November
To Thursday 9th November

Not showing at any
UK cinemas this week.


« Back to Index