05 April 2006

Disappearing Ink #7 - Princess Mononoke

"The Star Wars of Animated Features!" Roger Ebert's quote on the Princess Mononoke DVD case caught my eye one evening as I was killing time at the local Media Play (now out of business). I had never really given anime a chance, though I had seen Akira, it was so weird. But I was bored and decided to give this film a chance. It opens with Ashitaka fighting a crazy boar covered with nasty worms. While the boar is defeated, Ashitaka is mortally wounded and spends the rest of the movie seeking a cure for his ailment. Along the way, he meets the savage Princess Mononoke. I was blown away by many parts of this film. My mouth dropped open when Ashitaka let fly an arrow so powerful that it dismembered its target. To this day, the little bobble-headed tree spirits continue to bring a smile to my face when I see them. I was disgusted by the blood vomiting boar, confused by the oddness of the forest spirit, and moved by the gorgeous score. The animation is beautiful, especially the lush forest environments and the fast paced scenes when Ashitaka is riding atop his trusty elk Yakkul. There is a true resonance about this films depiction of man and nature. But most engaging in this film is the story. There is definite conflict though no clear cut villain. The film really affected me, and I was saddened that I had never heard of it before. I wanted to see everything this Miyazaki chap had ever made, and a whole world of amazing animation was opened up me when I discovered Studio Ghibli.

Mononoke made $159 million world wide, but sadly only $2.3 million of that in the US. As it turns out, I'm not sure about the Star Wars connection other than that this film is genre defining. Along with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, this is one of my very favorite movies and scores a definite A+.

Check out my past reviews:
The Black Cauldron
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Grave of the Fireflies
The Iron Giant
Kaena: The Prophecy


Johnny said...

You gotta review Howl's Moving Castle, Naucissca, Spirited Away and other Miyazaki works, dude.

Chip Chief said...

I will. I actually have a list of about 80 or so movies to review, but I am only doing one a week, so it may be a while before I get them all. But sooner or later I will cover all of those simce they are all great.

Jon said...

Ow. That's gonna take a year and a 1/2.

Chip Chief said...

yep, what worries me is what i am going to do after that. i am going to have to watch and review lame movies like madagascar and the wild.

Jon said...

LOL. Shoot yourself if it ever comes down to that.

Pray that lots of good movies come out in that one year and a 1/2, then. You can always go review anime series. Those are probably gonna take you a lifetime to watch and review, and are much better than... Madagascar, yea.

r e y g r e e n a said...

hi Rico, i love hayao's works and you definitely have to see spirited away, kiki's delivery services and how'l moving castle. i am still waiting for some more to be sent to my mailbox :)

yeah i just watched akira yesterday and guess what, i was confused and bored! there's nothing enjoyable about that movie, not even a pretty faces *sigh*

Chip Chief said...

i feel like a heretic saying it sometimes,but im glad im not the only one who thinks akira is overrated.

Stuff Daddy said...

I always hated Anime. Little singy animals big headed teens, action lines everywhere and tournaments after tournaments. But in the last five years it has really evolved. Man oh Man you will love "Spirited Away!" My old roommate watched it every night for a month! (which is kind of creepy) Also worth your time: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (not the movies, the TV show, stay away from the second movie), Wolf's Rain, Samurai Champloo and Paranoia Agent. Cheers!!

Chip Chief said...

i actually have already seen most of the Ghibli films since seeing Mononoke a few years back. It was pretty sweet. Thanks for the recommendations, I will check em out.