Review by: Steve Diabo (Kaneda)
Well, for the past few months I've
been hearing about the upcoming release of Princess Mononoke. What
made the news so special was the big-time name-dropping -- names like Gillian
Anderson, Billy Bob Thornton, Minnie Driver, Jada Pinkett Smith and Claire
Danes, as the English seiyuu. Many scoffed, saying that big names
don't necessarily mean a great dub job. True, but in the case of
Princess Mononoke... I won't lie to you. Judging by preservation
of dialog, grammar, run-on sentences (or the lack thereof) and emotion,
this is clearly, without doubt, the best dubbing I have ever heard.
If you know anything about the anime scene in North America, you know that
a good dub job is a rare thing, and if all dubs came out like this...
Well, if all dubs came out like this, it'd rock, to say the least.
The film has a whole slew of
good plot, and as you ride along, you learn a lot about the setting in
which the film takes place. The story revolves around a warrior named
Ashitaka, who, when trying to save his village from a demonic beast, killed
it, releasing a curse on himself. It left a twisted scar on his forearm,
that, as the village's wise woman told him, would slowly spread, destroy
his soul, then kill him. The wise woman also told him of the great
Forest Spirit -- the only chance Ashitaka had of removing the mark and
freeing him of the curse. So, off he goes on a journey to find this
legendary forest spirit. Along the way he makes new friends and enemies.
The story's infused with action, drama, and food for thought.
The art and animation is a feast
for the eyes. Written, drawn and directed by the legendary Miyazaki
Hayao (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa: Castle in the Sky,
Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro), PM features some of the most
beautiful landscapes, coolest camera positions, and marvelously portrayed
characters. The animation suffers from slight lack of fluid motion,
but it's anime, whaddya want. By definition, this is how theatrical anime
But my worship of PM doesn't
just stop there. The soundtrack. Ambrosial. Am-fricking-brosial.
The musical score is a high point to this film, making PM not only something
you can go and see, but go and experience. In a modern theater with
digital sound, the orchestral tunes nearly brought me to tears, regardless
of whether it was a particularly moving or touching part of the film or
not. If I can get the soundtrack on CD somewhere, I'm going to.
In closing, Princess Mononoke
is hailed as the Japan's most popular film of all time. I, for one,
can sure as heck see why. This movie is a feast for the senses, and
a tour de force that'll leave you wanting to see it again. I know
|Review Info File
Mononoke Hime (The Princess of Monsters) [J] /
Princess Mononoke [E]
|Format: In Theaters
|Production: Studio Ghibli
Drawn, Written and directed by the legendary
Miyazaki Hayao. American release produced by Miramax.