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11 of 11 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 "Fire Bad --Tree Pretty"
This is, indeed, a beautiful production; real eye-candy.
I had no difficulties with the voices -- i particularly liked Billy Bob Thornton, who caught just the nuance with his characterisation that Jack Elam at his most comically villainous brings to live-action films.
The story isn't all that complex, but the characters and their relationships *are*.
Is the...
Published on Jan. 26 2002 by Fairportfan


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11 of 11 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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6 of 6 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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5 of 5 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 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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, Especially for Those New To or Uninterested in Anime, Jan. 29 2003
By 
dark54555 "dark54555" (Dallas, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Princess Mononoke (DVD)
Far too many people hear "anime" and automatically have some bad connotation. They think it's too childish or too mature. This movie is a great place to start, whether you want to see anime or are completely turned off by the genre. Why? First, it was produced domestically by Disney, and you know they aren't going to put out something too racey or ridiculous. Second, the voices are people you know, like Gillian Anderson and Billy Bob Thornton (and someone who sounds a lot like James Earl Jones).
What else makes this so appealing? Well, Billy Bob Thornton himself said that watching this, he forgot it was animated early into the movie. The story is also compelling, with a rather Lord of the Rings-esque fantasy appeal. The basic plot is that a boy must travel to find the Spirit of the Forest to have a curse removed from him. On the way, he comes across a mining town, and the story moves into a "harmony with nature" kind of message. Although it gets much more complicated, I'd prefer not to spoil too much of the movie.
Besides the story and familliar voices, the animation in the movie is excellent. For those who have watched a fair amount of anime, it becomes obvious that there have been dramatic changes in quality over time. This move is recent enough that it has a high quality animation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, Jan. 24 2003
This review is from: Princess Mononoke (DVD)
In my opinion, this movie is extremely underappreciated. This movie contains a wonderful and original story set in an interesting time-period. It contains many themes and ultimately makes you think. In addition it provides some of the most beautiful artwork I've ever seen and an amazing score.
It is unfortunate that so many Americans shy away from it for these very reasons, (mainly because it's an animated feature). Not everyone will enjoy this movie. If you like fantasy or sci-fi, you'll like this movie. If you like movies that make you think, you'll like this movie. If you like foreign film, you should see this movie. And if you like anime, you'll definitely want to see this movie. BUT please, do NOT mistake this for a kiddie movie. It is NOT.
I thoroughly enjoy this movie time and time again. It takes my breath away. I absolutely fell in love with the characters, the world, the story, EVERYTHING! If you are even remotely interested, please give this movie a chance, you'll probably enjoy it. Just one word of caution, watch the version with subtitles. The dub is not as good as people make it out to be. Believe me when I say this movie is a masterpiece.
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