GREEN'S "THE BALANCE OF NATURE IS RESTORED" REVIEW:
A boy, Sosuke, lives with his mother Lisa (Tina Fey) in a house on the Japanese coast and his father, a fisherman (Matt Damon), is rarely home. Sosuke rescues a fish trapped in a trashed glass bottle against the will of the ocean and brings it to her mother's work at a nursing home, which is right next door to Sosuke's school. Of course that fish, whom Sosuke names Ponyo, is akin to aquatic royalty. So what happens when Ponyo declares her love for Sosuke and wants to become a human? How will her parents, the magical Queen of the Ocean (Cate Blanchett) and fish-man Fujimoto (Liam Neeson) react?
Because today is my daughter's birthday, I told her she could choose the movie that I would review for today's column. Since she's such a fan of Miyazaki movies, it came as no surprise when she chose this film, the latest Studio Ghibli/Walt Disney release to hit the DVD racks.
The story is based on Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid. The problem with this story compared to Mermaid is that Sosuke is only five years old and Ponyo can't be much older. How many five year old kids really know what that kind of love is or means?
As with all Miyazaki films, the quality of animation is at the level of artwork. The partnership between Studio Ghibli and Disney hasn't missed a beat. Disney again has assembled a superb English voice cast for the Americanized version, highlighted by Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett and Liam Neeson. Accomplished screenwriter Melissa Matheson is given credit on the DVD box for being the writer of the English language screenplay but IMDb only gives her credit as a storyline consultant.
The second disc has some excellent extras, including some storyboard animation, which are informative and fun.
This is a testament to the quality of this movie ~ it's not my favorite Miyazaki film ~ but it is still excellent and worth your time to watch.
**** out of *****
Ponyo (2008, PG , 100 minutes), starring the voice talents of Noah Lindsey Cyrus, Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Lily Tomlin, Cloris Leachman and Betty White. Based on "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Anderson. Written and Directed by Hayao Miyazaki.