Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hayao Miyazaki - Part Two

1997: Mononoke-Hime (Princess Mononoke)

Famous voices (in the dubbed version): Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Thoughts: Supposedly it took Miyazaki 16 years to fully develop this story. But it all paid off, because at one time it was the highest grossing film in Japan. It also won several awards. This one also has themes about human impact on nature and also portrayed the military in a negative light. It was also, in my opinion, his most violent. This one wasn't my favorite (mainly because I had a hard time separating it from his lighter, more family-friendly tales), but I do remember enjoying it.

2001: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away).

Famous voices (in the dubbed version): Daveigh Chase (Lilo of Lilo & Stitch), Susan Egan (Megara in Disney's Hercules)

Thoughts: My favorite! I'm not sure why I like this one the most, to be honest. I thought it was a story mostly about being brave, and I found myself really admiring the main character. I was also really fascinated by the traditional bath house. There was also the friendship between the other main character that I just found so endearing. This movie also takes place in a more realistic city as opposed to a fantastic land or countryside.

2004: Hauru no Ugoku Shiro (Howl's Moving Castle).

Famous voices (in the dubbed version): Christian Bale, Billy Crystal, Jena Malone, Lauren Bacall.

Thoughts: A romance! I think these are the oldest characters, as Sophie is supposed to be around 18. First of all, I LOVED the idea of a moving castle - genius! I also loved the character Calcifer and found him funny. I also loved the end of this film. I wasn't too keen on the villians in this one, but ah well. It also had a military element, like many of his other films.

2008: Gake no Ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea).

Famous voices (in the dubbed version): Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Tina Fey, Matt Damon.

Thoughts: This was DEFINITELY the prettiest! It had such amazing colors and textures. I also love the work they did with the water. I thought this one was the most geared for children. The plot, to me, was definitely not as cohesive and straightforward as his other works. I also really loved Ponyo's mother's character! It actually kind of struck me as a new take on The Little Mermaid. It wasn't my favorite, but it was very different from the other movies and I thought it was really cute and colorful.

Sources: Youtube, Wikipedia, International Movie Database.

P.S. I know I'm missing at least two of his other works, but I haven't seen them yet!


  1. Haha, I guess I didn't have to wait long for Part Two.

    So you have seen Ponyo! I'm envious as I have yet to see it. It definitely looks more colorfully polished than his previous works.

    I remember Spirited Away being FANTASTIC. It's been quite a while since I've seen but this two-part post serves as a good reminder to venture into Miyazaki's sophisticated filmography again.

  2. I saw ponyo on opening night, and later found out a lot of people think disney butchered it. So I'm waiting to pass judgement until I see the subbed version. Spirited away will always be my favorite, then howls moving castle, then naussica, then my neighbor toroto. I kind of hated hime, but it's my boyfriends favorite.

  3. Never heard of Ponyo - will look it up. Great post!

  4. I remember watching Porco Rosso and Castle Cagliostro a long time ago but can't remember too much about either. I do have to watch them again!

    I've actually seen Grave of the Fireflies as well. It is incredibly INCREDIBLY depressing. Although I thought it was a great movie, I don't think I have the heart to go through it again. It was just way way too heart wrenching.

    So excited and happy you're a Miyazaki fan!

  5. He is such an amazing filmmaker! Sometimes I feel like his films don't quite live up to their hype, but I still think they're really special.

  6. I love Kikis Delivery Service.

  7. I would love to see Ponyo! Have you read the original novel of Howl's Moving Castle? It's by Diana Wynne Jones, and it's wonderful.

  8. I love him! Porco Rosso is great too and Totoro is probably the best of the bunch.

  9. Howl is one of my favorites, have you read the book the film is based on yet? I think the movie colored my interpretation of the story a bit more than it should have, specifically Howl as I find him more favorable in the movie adaptation. But Jones' book provides a lot of insight on the characters, particularly Sophie, that Miyazaki only hints at.

    And I'm pumped to see Ponyo, I'm glad to hear good things about it.