Bottom Line First: To get the less than good news out of the way, Miyazaki’s Princes Mononoke is not for the very young. The violence can be graphic and bloody. The themes are not as clear cut as might be found in bed time stories. There is no sex or bad language making this movies acceptable to those who screen for such. And that brings me to the good news. Princes Mononoke combines complex storytelling, adult level plotting, the fine art work of Studio Ghibli and the casting power of the Disney Studios to produce a wonderful movie. Highly recommended and a star even among my other Miyazaki movies.
Princes Mononoke could have been another man versus nature and the world out of balance movie we have seen too many times. Instead we have man and nature in conflict but with a near absence of obviously evil industrialists and purely motivated united forest spirits. Gods can become demons, and seen as evil by humans and nature. The tribes within the world of nature are not natural allies and can have their own selfish motives. The human who is supposed to embody evil, Lady Eboshi (Voice acted by Minnie Driver) is a fierce warrior and hard nosed business woman but she is also good to her people and makes a point of finding better lives for people who would be cast offs and shunned in the larger world.
On the subject of voice overs, Disney deserves credit having assembled a cast that included Billy Bob Thornton, Gillian Anderson, Claire Danes and Billy Crudup. Made too clear to us in the included specials is the extra effort made by the voice actors and Disney to insure that the American dialogue fits with the animated Japanese speaking characters.
As for the work of the director and his studio. What struck me most about Princes Mononoke was the balance between artistic detail and the flow of the story. Hayao Muyazaki has a tendency for story lines that can drag. I prefer to say they speed of motion can be stately. The Wind Rises remains among my favorite HM movies, but like The Wife says it is slow. Even the action movieLupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (Collector's Edition) can drag, usually when the Studio is highlighting it's artwork. In Princess there was no lag in the story line. Scene action and plot development move logically forward even in the moments when the viewer is invited to enjoy the scenery.
But what artwork it is! Studio Ghibli is always at its best drawing the sky and aerial views. Ghibli is also the master of fields and forests. Sometimes at the cost of foregrounds, manmade and human details. In Princess all of the elements view together in harmony. It may be that some level of detail has been lost, but if so, only to produce a more balanced picture. Studio Ghibli movies can be fine visual art at the expense of movement, I never felt that watching Princess Mononoke.
- Actors: Yako Tanaka (Voice), Akihiro Miwa (Voice), Kaoru Kobayashi (Voice), Billy Crudup (Voice)
- Directors: Hayao Miyazaki
- Format: DVD
- Region: Region 4 (This version of the DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: Madman Entertainment
- DVD Release Date: 28 Oct 2004
- Run Time: 134 minutes
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- ASIN: B000CCR9FA
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
3,685 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #2670 in Movies (Movies & TV)