This past week, I took my 4 and 6 year old children to go see Ponyo at the dollar theater. Since Scott already reviewed this from an adult Babblers point of view, I will share this from the perspective of my kids. Movies are pretty much ‘hit or miss’ experience for the vulnerable senses of my offspring. Most movies targeted for kids are still too intense or frightening for them. Even most Disney movies are too graphic resulting in a early departure from the theaters and an evening of nightmares. If they are not too scary, they are usually too mature for them and they get bored. Either way, we have not had too much luck lately and haven’t successfully sat through a whole movie in quite sometime.
Ponyo was a refreshing change in the ordinary. It was cute, simple, and very creative. My kids were engaged from the very start and hung on every scene. The relationships easily digestible and relatively healthy. While there was an antagonist, he was just misunderstood and redeemed himself by the end. There are a couple of intense scenes but not out of mal intentions. Visually it was so much more creative then the standard animated ‘McMovie’. Miyazki’s world is vibrant, full of life, and brilliant. My kids couldn’t stop talking about it all night. In fact, their enthusiasm caused me to buy a little Ponyo stuff plushy and a couple of books for them to enjoy.
My only complaint is that it feels a little long. At an hour and 40 minutes, it could have been a little tighter- especiallyt since we went twice this week. In the English version, the voice acting was strong thanks to Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, and Tina Fey. Finally, at a whopping 91% on RottenTomatoes, it deserved every percent.
I hope the East will continue to provide great and creative family movies like Ponyo. It’s no wonder that Disney bought the distribution rights to this one. We don’t buy many movie but this will no doubt make the Christmas list.