August 12, 2009 :: Sara Barton
August 9- This lucky SBR correspondent was able to get tickets to New York International Children’s Film Festival, (NYICFF), special pre-release screening of Ponyo; the latest film from legendary filmmaker/animator Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki is the creator of such films as: “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle”. NYICFF stayed true to their mission; to distribute quality cinema to children of all ages, they premiered Ponyo in style. It’s not a premiere unless it’s an NYICFF premiere! For all those who haven’t been to an NYICFF screening it is customary for staff to throw prizes into the audience; this time it was a limited edition Ponyo toy; if you didn’t get one you can always stop by Kinokuniya bookstore (located on 41st and 6th ave) to pick one up. It was truly a joyous occasion, to add even more joy, now on to the film.
Ponyo is a visually stunning and enchanting masterpiece from the first moment it premieres on screen. The ocean scenery is outstanding, proving hand-drawn animation isn’t a lost art. Miyazaki’s films are well known for their highly stylized artistry and this film is no exception. The exquisite oceanic-pastel style compliments the sophisticated story-telling. Looks like “Finding Nemo” has some competition.
Ponyo is a little mermaid-esq tale; inspired by the original Hans Christian Anderson version. It’s the story of a curious little goldfish who stumbles on to a small cliffside town, she is rescued by a boy named Sosuke (Frankie Jonas); who affectionately names her Ponyo Noah Cyrus). Touched by his vow to protect her, Ponyo is determined to become human, and thus the adventure begins. Like all classic Miyazaki films, the movie centers on the theme of friendship, the power of love, and strong messages about the environment. Memorable scenes include Ponyo’s hilarious obsession with ham (my favorite), and the heartwarming family dynamic between Sosuke and his mom, Lisa (Tina Fey)
Voiced by the talented cast of: Cate Blanchett (GranMamare), Noah Cyrus (Ponyo), Matt Damon (Koichi), Tina Fey (Lisa), Frankie Jonas (Sosuke), Kurt Knutsson (the Newscaster), Betty White (Yoshie), Liam Neeson (Fujimoto), Jennessa Rose (Kumiko), Lily Tomlin (Toki) and Cloris Leachman (Noriko). Ponyo is an artistic masterpiece and a must-see film.
Ponyo hits theaters this Friday, August 14th. Go!!!!
Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki; United States production directors, John Lasseter, Brad Lewis, and Peter Sohn; English-language screenplay by Melissa Mathison, translated from the original Japanese by Jim Hubbert; music by Joe Hisaishi; produced by Toshio Suzuki; released by Walt Disney Studios. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. This film is rated G.