Reviewed by Sam, age 18, Massachusetts
Sweet Designs Staff Intern
Ponyo is the newest Studio Ghibli animated movie written and directed by the famous Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki has written and directed some of the best received Japanese animated movies of all times, including My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Howl's Moving Castle, and Academy Award winning Spirited Away. And in his newest installment, Ponyo, Miyazaki doesn't disappoint.
Ponyo is a retelling of the classic fairytale The Little Mermaid. It begins with the goldfish princess, aptly named Ponyo, escaping from her wizard father Fujimoto's house to explore the outside ocean world. Poor Ponyo, however, makes the mistake of swimming too close to shore, and she ends up trapped in a glass jar. Ponyo is found by the kind five year old Sosuke, who rescues Ponyo from her trapped imprisonment and makes her his goldfish. Ponyo instantly falls in love with Sosuke, and Sosuke in return cares deeply for Ponyo.
The overprotective Fujimoto, however, ruins this cute love affair. Not wanting his daughter to be harmed by the human's polluting lifestyle, Fujimoto uses his magic to steal Ponyo away from Sosuke, and take her back to his ocean home. Ponyo, however, wants nothing more than to return to Sosuke. Using the magic she obtained from tasting Sosuke's blood (when he cuts his finger trying to get Ponyo out of the glass jar) and a powerful elixir created by Fujimoto, Ponyo turns herself into a human girl and unknowingly unleashes a powerful tsunami on the island where Sosuke lives.
Ponyo is then reunited with her beloved Sosuke, but the world is thrown out of whack, as a fish cannot live as a human girl and still have the magic powers of a mermaid. Ponyo must then choose between staying a human girl and giving up her magic, or returning to life as a fish. But if she chooses to stay a human, and Sosuke refuses to love her, then she will turn into soap bubbles and die!
Ponyo, above all else, is adorable to watch. Ponyo and Sosuke's childish affection for one another is absolutely delightful. Even the animation style, with its use of bright pastels and fluffy coloring, reflects the heartfelt nature of the story.
And as Ponyo is Disney film, the voice acting is topnotch. The A-list cast includes stars like Tina Fey, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, Betty White, and Cate Blanchett. Even the child voices of Sosuke and Ponyo, Frankie Jonas and Noah Lindsey Cyrus, are partially famous stars (even if it's because of their older siblings).
Overall, this movie is, as I've said, adorable. You will not regret watching it. My only critique is that the story ends a little too anticlimactically, but that's what you get with a movie targeted toward children.
I give Ponyo 4 stars (of a possible 5).