Ponyo : 5 of 5
Since I have almost all of the Hayao Miyazaki films that Disney has released in the US on DVD, I definitely had to add Ponyo (on Blu-ray) to my collection! It doesn't seem like it was nearly a year ago that I was enjoying this Studio Ghibli masterpiece in the theater, but it was a joy to see it again and take the time to relish all the artistic touches at home. The opening sequence featuring what seems like millions of sea creatures is such a breathtaking Fantasia moment, which nicely transitions into the simple life of Sosuke and his mom Lisa, living in their quaint port town. Sosuke's character is full of amazing innocence that comes out in the purity of his imagination when he plainly announces to people, "This is Ponyo! She likes ham and can do magic!" I love finally hearing these lines in the original Japanese and noticing a few subtle changes in the translation for US audiences (Ponyo even says "boobs" rather than "milk" when talking to the baby's mother!). Lisa's character is wonderful also, remaining strong while her husband is away, yet still getting mad sometimes and downing a quick beer! The moment when Ponyo and Sosuke declare they love each other (even though she's still a goldfish) is a great example of the many "sudden tears" scenes throughout the movie. Although Ponyo isn't a film that totally makes me cry, it brings me to the verge over and over again! The quality of animation is sheer perfection, of course, full of amazing details like car headlights in the rain and the ocean becoming a "sea" of giant fish, but the Blu-ray is so incredibly sharp that the film actually loses a bit of its painterly feel. The bonus material is more extensive than I expected, including lots of screen time with Miyazaki himself, although Disney once again breaks every topic up into separate three minute segments with no easy way to watch them all in succession. I really enjoyed seeing the actual location in Japan that inspired the port town in the movie, and it's wonderful to hear John Lasseter and Miyazaki compliment each other on their hard work in the field of animation (their mutual admiration is really heart-warming). There's an option to view the film along with Miyazaki's original storyboards, but unfortunately the picture-in-picture is too small to really appreciate his hand-drawn work (it's still a nice feature, though). Ponyo is the kind of movie I can watch again and again, so it's great to have this Blu-ray on my shelf ready for the next viewing!