Saturday, August 22, 2009
All in all, an unremarkable experience. It was a cute diversion with lots of pretty colors and fishies, but nothing I wouldn't have been worse off for missing. The English dub likely contributed to my lack of enjoyment. Some really stilted and wooden delivery from the voice actors. Frankie Jonas and Noah Cyrus, younger siblings of our favorite Disney Channel gremlins, give cringeworthy and ear-grating performances. I love Tina Fey, but her performance was also god-awful and inconsistent. The one saving grace to the English cast is Liam Neeson, the one person who delivers his lines in a believable manner and seems to give a damn about his role.
Acting aside, the characters and plot didn't help either. Just a bit too simple and dumbed down for children for my tastes. I'll go ahead and spoil the ending the movie. For those of you who still want to see this, don't worry. There's nothing you can't see coming as long as you have the capacity for sentient thought. Anyway, the climax with the Earth facing certain destruction from a falling moon, ends with the protagonist kid, Sousuke, briefly swearing that he will love Ponyo whether she is fish or girl. The intended demographic of this film may be young, but you gotta have something more intense than that. Additionally, I admit I was bothered by the fact that the kid falls "in love" with a fish. Yeah, I know Ponyo ultimately turns into a girl, but Christ, she still used to be a fish. Love can go ahead and blast through many boundaries, but interspecies walls should not be one of them. Speaking of love, why the hell is Sousuke talking about loving somebody romantically for the rest of his life when he is only 5? Way to paint a realistic picture for kids. The more realistic relationship between Sousuke's mother and father is brushed aside far too quickly.
I feel like a child-hating bastard for saying this, but I wish I spent my money for Inglorious Basterds instead. Less adorable, but likely more entertaining. I may rewatch Ponyo when it gets issued on DVD just to see if the Japanese dub elevates the film.