Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Ponyo" detractors sharpen their sushi knives

If Zakzak are to be believed, "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea" is unloved by kids and movie hacks alike:

The opinions of film critics and veteran writers who attended previews are split down the middle. Here's a sample of some of the harsher ones:

"Compared to his last three films that addressed environmental destruction, morality and pacifism head-on, its themes of love and keeping promises are important but overly minimal."

"Although it's set in the sea there's no sense of scale, and there's not much in the way of uplift either."

"Kids who are used to greater stimulation will probably go for the "Pokemon" movie that opens on the same day instead."

In fact, even Miyazaki himself has admitted that "the reaction from kids at preview screenings was absolutely non-existent, and he's down in the dumps because he tried making something for kids but failed to hit the target."

Ghibli expert and film writer Abo Yukiko takes an affirmative stance.

"Those who want to argue over content should go and watch one of his other films. 'Ponyo' is almost a film to be savored in its entirety rather than picking over it in your head. Ponyo's subtle movements are delightful, and it illustrates Miyazaki's powers of human observation."

I'm sure if Miyazaki had taken his customary polemic approach with this one, certain media would be having a go at him for his 'inveterate left-wing didacticism' or something along those lines instead. It's also instructive that publications who allow the holders of critical opinions to remain anonymous (or more accurately just make shit up) are often the same ones who love to go off on editorial campaigns against internet bulletin boards because they offer their users the exact same courtesy. Me, I'll wait until the crowds die down a bit before going to see the film, but surely it can't be as disappointing as "Howl's Moving Castle".


  1. "no sense of scale" .. i'd love to be the key animator on a movie that gives a sense of scale of the ocean.. just give me a fistful of blue crayons and stand back

  2. If Tales From Earthsea can make 7.5 billion, this can surely do much better.

    There's some kind of point to be taken though. People who grew up watching Totoro like me are certainly more accepting of Miyazaki's approach, while kids today are growing up with animation so much flashier that I wouldn't be surprised if they turn to something more action-oriented like Pokemon.

  3. [...] - Not liking Ponyo is like wanting to hurt little puppies, and it looks like there are plenty of people who will want to hurt little puppies. [...]