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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An animated epic
While Disney is regurgitating the same old formula year afer year and training us for the expected, what are the filmmakers doing over in Japan? They're simply turning out the most creative tales, jawdropping visuals and (especially in Miyazaki's films) the imaginitive UNexpected that animation has ever seen. After growing up spoon-fed with Disney, what I've seen of...
Published on June 25 2003

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmm...Mixed feelings about this one
When my sister bought this fabulous Dvd in the US, I was instilled with wonder that many of you will have felt when encountering a Miyazaki film for the first time. However, when I recently watched some of Miyazaki's other works in a Miyazaki film festival, I've changed my opinion.
Don't get me wrong, I still love this movie, and I was impressed by the lack of any...
Published on Jan. 21 2002 by bigpurpleguy


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An animated epic, June 25 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Princess Mononoke (DVD)
While Disney is regurgitating the same old formula year afer year and training us for the expected, what are the filmmakers doing over in Japan? They're simply turning out the most creative tales, jawdropping visuals and (especially in Miyazaki's films) the imaginitive UNexpected that animation has ever seen. After growing up spoon-fed with Disney, what I've seen of Miyazaki has effectively hit me over the head with a steel beam.
"Princess Mononoke" is absolutely an animated epic. I really think that "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" (with their epic journeys, warring factions and unknown lands) had a strong influence on this film, and they give you a good idea of the general plot and feel. Then, throw in samurais and a big helping of Japanese myth (which really isn't any more objectionable to western religion than our own Mother Earth myth, if this is a concern for you). Beyond any feel or ingredients list, though, is an awesomely complex and creative storyline, the like of which I've never seen before in an animated film. I belive that this film is so good that it could easily stand being done in live action and could be huge on the scale of a LoTR movie (no joke). Princess Mononoke just "happens" to be done in animation.
Princess Mononoke really blew me away. I've never been a fan of Japanese animation, but I'm becoming a fan of Miyazaki. The difference is in the story and the creativity. I highly recommend Princess Mononoke to everyone, but especially to the average moviegoer who needs convincing to try it out. The only folks I'd like to warn are those who have a tendency to think or say "this is weird" 20 minutes into a film and give up on it. You have to have a little bit more of an open mind than Disney would like us to have. You'll be rewarded if you closely follow the film and have that open mind.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theme refreshing, content deep, May 24 2003
By 
This review is from: Princess Mononoke (DVD)
I think many people have misread the theme of this movie- obviously there is the evil of man in the iron industry, but there is also the evil of nature, as evidenced by the gods of the forest who let their hate for mankind consume them. This is why I love this movie- it is not the traditional American hippie-nature-is-always-good, nor is it trample across the forest. BOTH mankind and nature have lost their way, and the main character, a sort of dark, brooding, savior of sorts comes to tell them that both of them are wrong and if they continue on their path both of them will be destroyed. That's at least what I got out of the movie. I think the visuals are stunning and serve to emphasize the story and theme, and the violence has a purpose for being in the movie, and could not be called gratuitous by anyone's measure. I love this movie because it is quite different from most of the anime that seems to make its way to American shores. I don't know if they're keeping all the best stuff in Japan, but some of the stuff I see is no better than our own American animation in terms of content and execution. Then of course, are the rare gems such as this. Miyazaki is a genius, the equivalent of George Lucas (before the prequels), Steven Spielberg, and Walt Disney (the man, not the company), all rolled into one, with a vision and craft that transcends them all. Magnificent.
Billy Bob Thorton had no reason to be cast for this movie- bad decision, but I won't let it mar my love of the underlying movie.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid, Crisp, Brilliant, June 15 2003
By 
Zachary Gochenour (Fairfax, VA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Princess Mononoke (DVD)
First, some concessions. I do not speak Japanese, so I can say nothing about the Japanese language version or the quality of the translation. Also, I am not an rabid anime fan, and in fact this was the first japanese-animated feature film I ever saw (I have seen more since). Finally, this movie takes maturity to watch and appreciate - there is some graphic animated violence and mature themes throughout. Now, on to the review.
This animated film by Hayao Miyazaki is absolutely amazing. It embodies all the things you should look for in animation, and it stands as one of the greatest films - and, along with Ran (directed by Kurosawa), my favorite film from Japan. First, let me say that the story was terrific, using developed characters and tackling real-world problems of environmentalism and technology tastefully and without an abundance of feel-good Sierra-club nonsense a la Captain Planet and Ferngully. It explores humanity's relationship with nature, the struggle for human survival, and the difficulties of human advancement. While there is a large degree of sentimentalism (Randians beware) the story should appeal to a wide range of audiences.
The most amazing thing about the movie is the art and art direction, all masterfully done. The entire movie is a feast for the eyes, both characters and backgrounds are drawn with fascinating detail and rich, crisp color. The artistic and directorial talent deserves the utmost respect. You'll have to see the movie to believe how good it is.
The sound is well done, but for those of you wanting to utilize your overly expensive surround sound systems, you'll find yourself missing out (sorry). The sounds are crisp, though, and complement the visual experience beautifully. The music is a chapter all to itself, both complementing the other senses and leading your emotions throughout the whole film.
The voice talent is mixed. Americans will certainly recognize Jada Pinkett Smith (horrible), Minnie Driver (excellent), Billy Bob Thorton (so-so), and Claire Daines (excellent). A fellow reviewer claims that the poor voice actors hurt the movie beyond repair, but this is nonsense. The dubbing is excellent (read: does not look stupid and mismatched). Regarding translation, see the concessions.
This movie showcases japanese animation and animation in general. The crispness of sound, enchantment of music, and vividness of color make this film a thrill ride for the senses. The movie avoids the problem of having many things happening at once, and clearly shows what is happening even during the fast-paced battle scenes -- a sure sign of directorial experience. Praise for Hayao Miyazaki is practically neverending.
If you enjoy Japanese animation, you probably already own this film. If you absolutely hate it, watch this movie anyway - I think it will change your mind. This movie is essential for any DVD library. Buy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whose side is he on anyway?, Dec 2 2002
This review is from: Princess Mononoke (DVD)
This question is at the heart of Princess Mononoke. Most of the other characters at one time or another think he is against them. At first viewing it's hard to tell what the main character is up to. He saves the Princess, then he saves Lady Eboshi. Then he's going to help the "bad guys"? What?!?! Who is evil and who is good? It's not instantly obvious, which makes Princess Mononoke stand up to repeated viewings - many repeated viewings. The story is complex, but not too complex. It's main themes are humanity versus nature (i.e., itself) and hate. Hate destroys and eats away flesh. The tentacle-like demons fashioned from hate provide some of the most incredible animation, and some of the most poignant scenes. Another theme is the idea that sometimes the best side to be on is neither side.
The animation is about as good as it comes. Miyazaki is one of the best, and this is one of his best pictures. If the story happens to bore you (it shouldn't), just look at the incredible animation that never lets up. The animated grass growing towards the end is particularly incredible.
Animation does not get much better than this. Visually and thematically, there are not many as good as Princess Mononoke out there. Given its themes, it's somewhat surprising that Disney brought this masterpiece to the States. Sure, some of the English dubbed voices are a little off, but this doesn't detract from the film much. It's interesting to watch the film in its original Japanese with English subtitles. The characters come across a little differently this way, and the translations are different in the subtitles. For instance, the "Forest Spirit" becomes the "Deer God" in the subtitled version. The voices also are incredibly different, and those who don't appreciate Billy Bob Thorton's drawl will enjoy the Japanese version.
There aren't many movies worth owning and watching over and over again, but Princess Mononoke is definitely one of them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hayao Miyazaki's epic masterpiece FINALLY comes out on BLU-RAY!, Nov. 21 2014
By 
John Thomas Anderson (Southern Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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Of all of Studio Ghibli's many award winning films produced by it's co-founder Hayao Miyazaki; none has ever achieved the critical acclaim that Princess Mononoke did and there is no doubt that it is and will forever remain his most monumental achievement. Not to mention that It is also considered without a doubt to be one of the ten best animated movies ever made! So it is nice to see this masterpiece released on a North American Blu-ray where it rightfully belongs!

So what makes this film so incredibly good? First and foremost is the stunning level of detail. Although made back in 1997; it's level of detail and animated movement is so great that only a handful of cell based animated films has ever approached it and ironically half of them like Spirited Away and Ponyo are also Studio Ghibli films! Then throw in a complex storyline two and a quarter hours long (and never boring) that's constantly weaving new elements (always stunning in their visual beauty) into the mix and that never adheres to simplistic western ideas of good and bad and you have an animated movie that bears as much resemblance to a Frozen or a Sleeping Beauty as a B movie does to The Ten Commandments or Lawrence of Arabia.

For example in a typical animated movie the so-called heroine (San who has been raised by the Wolf God Moro) would be all noble and kind. But in this real world of myth and legend, she's quite willing to kill the odd innocent wagon driver if that's what it takes to preserve her beloved forest! And as for Lady Eboshi who rules Iron Town and in a typical western storyline would be a greedy tyrant. In Mononoke while yes, she may be destroying the forest and is also intent on killing the Great Forest spirit. She's also taking in girls from all the neighbouring brothels to run her forges and making them the equals of the men. Plus sheltering and protecting Lepers who she uses to make her guns and weapons. It's that sort of adult quality in plot and detail we're talking here!

As for this new Blu-ray release, video wise it's definitely worth upgrading from the older Miramax DVD release. Good as the DVD was, the new Blu-ray is even better! This is definitely the way a movie of this quality should be seen. Audio wise it's not quite as important as the original soundtracks are from the late 90's and were already in a DD 5.1 format. The DVD's tracks being boosted up to DTS-HD 5.1 tracks in English, French and Japanese. I didn't really notice that much difference over the DVD's existing DD 5.1 audio which already was quite good.

As for the included DVD release; it's essentially identical to the earlier Miramax DVD release right down to the menus which is why they don't match with the BD's menus which are similar to the new Kiki's Delivery Service Blu-ray that also just came out. So if you don't have a Blu-ray player and only intend to watch the new DVD; there's no point in upgrading from the older Miramax release.

Finally a few extra points. On the back cover Disney lists the DVD English track as 2.0. But not to worry as it is the same 5.1 track as the older Miramax release. Also because switching audio tracks also switches screen credits; you can only change audio options from the main menu! And finally on a more important note, if you prefer watching this with the Japanese audio track; please note the following. The literal translation track of the older release has been replaced with a newer subtitle track on both the BD and DVD that's essentially identical to the closed captioning track just without the extra sound effects captioning. In other words, it appears to be dub titled. So if you preferred the older literal translation track; you might want to hold on to your older release!

Now despite the niggling over the subtitles; overall I can't praise this movie enough! It is and still remains one of the finest animated movies of all time. And if you have a screen big enough; the new Blu-ray should definitely be picked up if you want to see just how good a true animated movie can be! FIVE BIG STARS OUT OF FIVE !!!

J. A.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful treat - a visually stunning adventure, March 31 2003
This review is from: Princess Mononoke (DVD)
This evening I sat with my son and watched this wonderful movie once again. I think it is a stunning story, is a visual wonder, and has very attractive music. The movie is so rich that you can pick up new details and poetic points with each new viewing.
While the English voice over actors are quite good, I do recommend a viewing or two with the Japanese voices and English subtitles. I don't speak Japanese, but the characterization of THOSE voices adds a lot to the story and the English subtitles are a bit different than the voice over.
The creatures come, I suspect, from Japanese myth and are very different than anything I have experienced in Western myth. It is quite wonderful. There are powerful and disturbing images that might not be suitable for very young children, but there is no gore for gore's sake. But the way the creatures become demons is very powerful and intense.
I am glad to own this disk and suspect you would enjoy it as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A majestic, passionate, eloquent homage to the Earth., Jan. 27 2003
By 
Tom Knapp "Rambles.NET editor" (Lancaster, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The artwork of this film is astonishing. Set primarily in the forests of ancient Japan, the scenery is lush with life, vivid with depth and detail. The scenery is in some cases so gorgeous it will take your breath away.
But the story, too, stands out from the crowd. Written by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki and adapted into English by writer Neil Gaiman, Princess Mononoke is the story Ferngully wanted to be. It tells of a great clash between humans and nature, with the animal gods and forest spirits rallying to stave off encroaching devasation. The archetypal figures, such as the Night Walker, are magnificent, but there are also the smaller gods and fey beings for a lighter touch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must See!, Feb. 26 2011
I've watched anime shows for a little while now, but not very many anime movies. So I went and looked up a list of the best ones and randomly picked Princess Mononoke. I would not be disappointed. This movie, like all Miyakaki movies, is absolutely stellar. There are no cookie cutter bad guys, everyone make choices for their own reasons. The characters are well developed and relatable. The animation is gorgeous, and the music by Joe Hisaishi is haunting and beautiful. Do yourself a favor and buy this film, or at least watch it somewhere!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, english dub a little quiet, May 5 2012
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This is a fantastic movie. Lots of action, likeable characters, great music, the list goes on. The only problem I had with it was that the English voices were somewhat quiet at times, but if you've got good hearing, or you prefer subtitles, that won't be a problem.
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5.0 out of 5 stars LONG, GORY, GRAPHIC MASTERPIECE!!!, April 22 2003
By 
Joseph Kim Kelly (Columbia, TN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Princess Mononoke (DVD)
If you are looking for Saturday morning cartoons, look somewhere else. If you want a babysitting-video for your 6-yr old or anything "childlike"- move on...But, if you want a full blown cinematic anime MASTERPIECE that will engage your mind, spirit and body in a potentially life changing experience, then "PRINCESS MONONOKE" IS FOR YOU!
Yes, it is a bit long, time-wise. Yes, it is gory and violent. Yes, it does require your full attention to follow and understand. And yes, "P. M." IS a true anime MASTERPIECE worthy of every sliver of effort needed to access its' many levels of entertaining meaning.
Please note: Every second of the film is needed and in the end, you will not want it to end! The graphic violence is never gratuitous or Saturday-morning silly. And, the 'effort' needed to enjoy PRINCESS MONONOKE (Ma-no-NO'-key) is enjoyable effort, the kind of attention that a great book needs to fully appreciate! NOT the effort needed to read Shakespeare or understand FREUD.
Give it chance and Enjoy!
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