My Miyazaki cram session has begun!
There is a simple honesty in Miyazaki's filmmaking which makes his films feel special and connect more on a personal level. In 'Princess Mononoke', Miyazaki's trademark fantastic imagination is almost reigned in to present a more down to earth, humanistic, tail of harmony. It would be easy to write off Mononoke as a environmental propaganda, but there is much more here. All characters are fully developed and there are good and bad parts to all of them. There is no single 'evil' or 'good' force here, except for perhaps Ashitaka, who is the neutral balance. Each group has their race's best intentions at heart, and rather than giving a one sided account to the story, all sides are shown, and the need for peace is augmented by showing the world in this light.
Watching the dubbed version, was a mistake I believe. Every time I heard Billy Bob Thorton's voice it completely took me out of Miyazaki's carefully constructed fantasy world. It's a double edged sword, either you put on the subtitles and miss some of the beauty of the animation from reading, or you put on the dubbing and get taken out by rather poor voice acting. In the end, its a solid story, and thats what really matters. I don't think it's the most brilliantly imagined work by Miyazaki. I was never blown away, or totally engrossed, and yet it still has that Miyazaki essence which makes it so endearing.Rating:
A brilliantly imagined, masterfully animated and utterly original piece of filmmaking. Miyazaki is a master at creating completely unique and imaginative worlds to explore. Every detail is so complete and interesting, that the visual oddities alone are enough to make this a great film. It's as if you were privileged enough to witness someone's dream, only the person dreaming was a storytelling master like Miyazaki.
The story of a young girl getting trapped working in a bath house for spirits may take a leap of faith to follow, but there is a beauty in such a bizarre tale. Although the surroundings may be odd, the true story is basic and touching. Miyazaki takes simple morals, such as the dangers of greed and gluttony and enhances them with fantastic visuals of people turning into pigs, or being eaten by a spirit. At its core its about a little girl overcoming her fears, showing courage and falling in love. It's a completely weird, but never twisted, world and one that is endlessly interesting. Rating:
And 'Noke, I read your review of Mononoke after writing mine, and it was really hard not to bump it up to a 4 after, but I'm sticking to my guns.. for now. Perhaps it needs another watch.