Manuel Betancourt

Ponyo at the Cliff, or How it’s the mermaid tale Miyazaki-style

March 12, 2009 · in Uncategorized

Ponyo at the Cliff
Written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

We all know that a new Miyazaki is an event (for some more than others, of course) and Ponyo – an ‘updated’ or Miyazakead version of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid tale, delivers once again a frightfully simple and engaging story which is elevated by the beautiful canvas in which he sets this tale and the cute (though never cloying) nature of the characters involved: Ponyo – a goldfish princess, and Sosuke – her human friend, are just cute as a button (though not Benjamin’s of course) and bring a sense of warmth and wonder which I hadn’t felt in an animated movie since Pixar introduced us to¬†Boo back in the day with Monsters, Inc. But really, any comparison between Miyazaki’s work and the Emeryville-based company is futile as the tone of the former is so distinct and utterly idiosyncratic. Ponyo successfully creates an animated film that is at once targeted at young children without the (allegedly) necessary condescending tone of some child-friendly products and without the (also allegedly) necessary pop-culture savvy/critical bite that has needlessly plagued animated fare recently. Instead, Miyazaki’s latest immerses its viewer in Sosuke and Ponyo’s world, where the sea is a vibrant, magical place; where a goldfish can turn human and where the bond at the center of the story is the chaste and utterly endearing relationship between two five-year olds. A
And because a Miyazaki film needs to be experienced, some of my fave shots: