on March 27, 2000
I agree with the comments below: I have been eagerly awaiting the DVD of this movie. I have the Japanese version on videotape, and I wasn't crazy about the dubbing in the American version, but I wanted to pre-order the DVD on the (mistaken) assumption that I'd get both the Japanese version and the American version, plus perhaps a Japanese version with English subtitles. What else is the point of a DVD? Geez, I'd have loved to have it in German and French, for that matter. It's always interesting to see how translations into various languages distort (sometimes necessarily, sometimes not) the original version of a film. But I certainly have no intention right now of buying what Disney is offering. Shame on them, indeed.
on July 11, 2000
This is a wonderful movie (5 stars), but...
This is really SAD news. Check out news at Nausicaa.net and Aintitcool.com . Once I get the preorder DVD, and the case really shows only English dub...I'm really returning it to Amazon.com unopened. Sorry Amazon, we all have to share the burden here. Maybe you can help us -your loyal customers on this. Hey I bought a lot of stuff from you.
Disney, Buena Vista, you really don't know how to make good DVDs. 0.0 features to start with. Take a look at Prince of Eygpt and all the other neat Anime DVD like Fushigi Yugi, Lodoss War, Tenchi Muyo, Ghost, Ninja Scroll, etc... Learn by example please.
I'm not ever buying TWO versions of any DVD no matter how good, and I've got 200 DVD disks, so I'm one of those guys in your "market" studies.
Please take the time to put the film right where it belongs: Together with the Japanese track that came with it and made it big and popular in the first place. I don't appreciate butchered movies at all, nor folks that do them.
on July 5, 2000
This isn't a rating on the movie, which is of course fantastic. This is a rating for what Disney is doing. It is absolutely absurd to not include the original Japanese language track on this disc, especially when Disney is already charging more for a practically bare bones disc then most companies do for discs jam packed with extras. Pass on this disc and let Disney know that they need to handle anime better in the future!
on March 21, 2000
What a waste and a shame if the DVD release does not contain the original Japanese dialog and subtitles.
Such a beautiful film deserves to seen and heard as it was originally done. Anything less is reprehensible.
Shame on Disney.
on June 4, 2001
Seriously, I gave it a single star to grab peoples' attention; I actually give it 4 and 1/2. I had my doubts, but I ended up enjoying the movie. Now, onto more pressing matters...
Tis a shame that some reviewers don't like this movie due to some bias they have, pre or post, about the movie. First off, to the parents -- Why do you complain? You have no right to be appalled by the content of this movie. Can you not read? There are reviews out there that allow you to judge what is appropriate for your children. Ratings systems are abound all over the internet, movie rental stores, etc. Ask questions! Or better yet, rent the movie; screen it so you know what's coming. Don't sit with your children watching it and then come to find there is blood and gore within. You're the parent, so act like one. Secondly, to the insecure and stubborn -- how pitiful. What has this world come to that we can't accept a child's world? "Oh no, I don't feel masculine because I'm watching an anime with all-too-common world issues." Or perhaps you prefer some political strife? "Nah, 3rd-world countries without women's rights -- not a problem." "Environmentalism -- just a bunch of tree-hugging sissies." "This movie made me puke...the ugly pigs with boils and pus..." Ha, the pigs didn't have such features. Then that same reviewer reccomends watching Ninja Scroll, which is twice as voilent. Now then; those of you who apply to any of the above, words alone cannot express your ignorance. And to those who were "suckered" into watching it due to hype, then disappointed -- oh well. That's why it's called HYPE. Don't even get me started on the most recently hype-turned-out-to-be-mediocre machine, the PS2...
Finally, to those who I did not address. If for any reason you gave this great anime a subpar rating, besides the ones written for its somewhat lacking technical aspects, go crawl under a rock. Return and write a review when A) you are unbiased and B) you know the facts.
on January 15, 2002
I first saw Princess Mononoke when it came out in theaters. With all of the hype, I was expecting something wonderful. The first thing I noticed was the good animation. The second thing was the flat, miscast voice acting. The third was the bleeding heart mumbo-jumbo story. Half way through the show I realized that I didnt care about any of the characters. The wolves were boring. The male hero whispered all of his lines like he was too cool to show any emotion. None of the monsters sounded cool (Not even any extra snorting for the attacking worm infested pig!). The best performance goes to the princess. Joe Bob didnt sound anything like he looked on screen. I dont know, I love anime, but I got so bored that I walked out before it was over. Don't believe the hype!
on March 21, 2000
It has been aptly described as some mutant lovechild born from an affair between Godzilla and Pokemon's yellow Pikachu - for indeed, Princess Mononoke is part cute and cuddly, part brute and ugly.
Because of this it remains an ecological animated "epic" (so my friend Mitch claims) that is just too damn well-intentioned. Set in Japan's ancient past, the movie essentially unravels the tense relationship between man, nature and the divine spirit that unites us all. It is this core idea that powers the film. There is no good or evil here, no right and wrong. Rather, the journey for all the characters is to learn how to coexist, to create harmony from disarray. It's these somewhat spiritual ideas that are repeatedly beat over our heads, with constant eco-babble nonsense that wears thin on all but the most dedicated of tree-huggers.
A quick visit to the impressive official website of Princess Mononoke the World Rests on the Courage of One Warrior." Fittingly this contradicts the message of the movie. For taking sides matters little, and life and death, we are told, occur as a result of the great and terrible aspects of nature symbolized by the hunted god of the forest.
This none too subtle 2+ hour allegory is overloaded with a plot that is surprisingly ineffective. It moves by little fits and starts, sometimes even doubling back on itself and changing its characters' personalities, forcing them to act against what we thought was in their own best interest. These self-contradictions almost emasculate the power of the film. I don't think this is a fault of the translation, but of the conception itself. It's all much too much for the film to sustain, and there never is any consistency about what each individual or group needs or wants. There is a final battle, of sorts, between the demons and the non-demons, but what power it might have had is vitiated by the confused script.
This was made so because there is an apparent attempt to incorporate a host of timely, nature in the face of unchecked business interests, the death of spirituality in the name of social progress, misogyny in its many manifestations. Princess Mononoke is a Zeitgeist potpourri, strung with late-20th-century fear and anxiety.
Preachy, patronizing and paternal, Princess Mononoke, the movie as well as the character, lectures us on so versus nature, history, and the struggle of outcast classes, to name only a few. The purity of the land is continually spoiled by angry animal gods, scheming people who just want to prosper during hard times, and the usual suspects - greed and hubris. Contradiction is, by design, everywhere, but the viewers aren't allowed to make up their own minds. The notion that hate can consume you and make you do things you normally wouldn't is sound enough. But the prince's cursed "hate scar" that results in making him a better fighter which actually saves his life, is its own contradiction. Hate is bad, but hate can help - huh? At least in Alice in Wonderland the contradictions didn't fall into dizzying reiterations. The duplicity overwhelms and drags this movie from epic to saga.
Have I mentioned that this movie is long? Had my watch arm not been holding and supporting popcorn this would have been a 5x watch glancing movie. This slow and dawdling movie at times seemed to trundle aimlessly across the screen, and I feared on several occasions as if it might never end. It's hard to say where exactly it goes wrong, but rest assured that it involves its brazenly insulting cheesiness. There isn't one conservationist idea that the adult audience didn't know already.
That said, the movie lavishes incredible attention on each and every backdrop, and they are beautiful - exquisitely detailed and convincing. Yet they too face contradiction with the human characters who look like they just escaped from "Speed Racer". The scenery seduces with its magnificence, yet is juxtaposed against animation that is never to be able to break through the skin. With button eyes and geometric lips, the humans remind me of bad Sunday morning cartoons, as they couldn't even be held in comparison to Saturday morning cartoons. The one notable exception was the parasite infected demon-boar god in the beginning.
While the eco-fable can be summarized in two seconds, it takes more than two lavishly stunning hours for the movie to get there. Like the traditional wood-carving works of art that inspired it (so I was told), Princess Mononoke's re-created world is simple-looking while actually being incredibly detailed and complex. Which leaves us with the glaring need for a more interesting story beyond an ecological plea. And I won't even get into the sorry voice dubbing by Claire Danes (no range) and Billy Bob Thornton (twang intact).
I've given this movie one star since I can't assign it "zero" stars, indeed I cannot recommend this movie to anyone unless they are trying to get in out of the rain.
on September 7, 2001
I was an anime fan before I watched this, and this is the least favourite DVD out of my collection.
Really the only thing I liked about it was the animation (especially the scenes with the Night Walker), but even then there were things I didn't like - in particular the way the faces were drawn, which I thought looked too "cartoony" for a movie so many people are trying to remove the label "cartoon" from (faces like that *belong* in Ranma 1/2, which has similar designs, but not in a movie like this). The scenes with heads and limbs being cut off also looked very silly, and in my opinion ruined the mood the movie was trying to create.
My main problem with this film is with the characters. People sing the praises of the fact that none of them are strictly "good" or "evil", but that doesn't change the fact that really they're just hollow shells. We know their personalities and absolutely nothing else. I'm sure most people who love Mononoke would laugh if I said my favourite anime was Sailor Moon (subtitled, of course), but one of the reasons I like it so much is because of how well the characters are fleshed out. You really know them, really care about them, even the bad guys - and when they die, you really care about that too. If Princess Mononoke had condensed what's there already into a shorter space (IMO it's far too long for the little that actually happens) and added more exploration of the characters' histories, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Also I like romance, which the film has very little of, and maybe this would have been a good opportunity to add some in.
On top of that, there's virtually no character development at all - everyone ends up pretty much the same as they started. Although I've seen people argue that realistically people wouldn't develop that much in such a short space of time, it doesn't exactly make for riveting viewing.
Another one of my problems with Mononoke is the music. There is one word I can use to describe this movie's soundtrack: Boring. By the end of the movie, I could only remember one piece of music that played (the theme tune), and that's because throughout the movie it was played OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. It could really have used some more variety. This especially bothered me because music is one of the most important things for me in anime.
To sum up... this movie bored me, and I honestly don't get why it's so popular. All I can say is that I'm not someone who's only ever watched anime on TV, I'm not a violence-obsessed Fist of the North Star fan, and I'm not someone who automatically won't watch anime because it's animated - but none of the things I like about anime are present in this movie. Simple as that.
on November 7, 2000
Why do they always force you to give it one star at the least when this movie deserves a -10 at the most. If this film is rated PG-13 then I am 5 years old. I will admit that the animation of this film was very breathtaking but the story made all of that hard work fall to pieces. During this film I couldn't stop looking at my watch and wondering what kind of interesting nightmares this movie would produce. They only thing that kept me in the theater was that I paid ($) per ticket. I went to this movie believing it would be a very interesting tale of a warrior, humans and nature. I expected the film to leave me with some kind of moral making me feel bad for not being an environmentalist. The movie loss all meaning when I was hit with a wave of blood and gore. Not to mention the "possessed" boars covered with what appeared to be moving hamburger meat. The one thing that truly made me want to scream was the sleepy stuff in the blind boars eyes. I found myself pleading with the characters to help the poor guy out and take the sleepy stuff out of his eyes. This movie should be rated R to say the least. One thing that scared me worse then the movie itself was after the movie when a bunch of 7 years olds said they loved the movie and couldn't wait to buy it. I think that fact horrified me the most. To sum it up this movie was a cross between a green peace infomercial and Mortal Kombat. DO NOT LET THE FACT THAT IT IS ANIMATION FOOL YOU INTO THINKING IT'S O.K. FOR KIDS 13+ TO WATCH THIS FILM.
on November 3, 2000
For the love of god do not buy this movie. I cannot stress that point well enough. While I understand how the fantasy elements may have wooed other reviewers, for me, this movie ended my fascination with Japanime. From the mindless plot to the super-environmentalist charachters this movie is a dud all the way through. If you rent or buy Japanime looking for action and violence, (things that I am sure many people think of when they hear "Japanime") not a sappy plot and some of the most insipid ideas ever, you should stay away from this movie. But, if you're looking for something that really is that laden with mystique and faeries and other annoying pieces of fantasy lore, buy this movie. So, let's recap shall we? If you like action, like me, this is the most God-Awful creation ever to find its way into your VCR. If you like fantasy, i'm sure you'll love this. Just a warning.