Hayao Miyazaki is one of the few directors working today that I would, without any doubt whatsoever, describe as a living legend. Over the last thirty years or so, Miyazaki has created some of the most enchanting and magical movies of all time, and even his weaker efforts, such as Howl’s Moving Castle and Porco Rosso, contain many moments of artistic brilliance.
Miyazaki’s latest film is entitled Ponyo On A Cliff, and it follows a young goldfish princess who wishes to be human, and a five-year-old boy who befriends her. Unlike the vast majority of animated films these days, Ponyo On A Cliff will eschew computer animation; the entire film will be animated by hand and in a style that evokes watercolors.
You can get a sense of that in this glimpse of the trailer (which, unfortunately, is marred by some incessant newscaster commentary):
And if that doesn’t quite satisfy you, there’s this slideshow of artwork from the film:
And what the heck… here’s an ultra-kawaii music video for the movie’s theme song:
Some folks are saying that film represents a return to the simpler storytelling of such films as My Neighbor Totoro, in constrast to the big epics that Miyazaki has become known for as of late (e.g., Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle). Obviously, since the film hasn’t even opened in Japan yet, it’s too early to tell. But I’m do have a feeling that the animation style will probably be one of the most divisive elements of the film. But let’s face it, if anyone can pull off such a thing, it’s Hayao Miyazaki.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.