Hayao Miyazaki manages to wow his audiences yet again. The opening is simply breathtaking; the operatic score swells just as the viewer is hit with this overwhelming underwater paradise, teeming with life. The effect is somewhat akin to the opening to Finding Nemo
when we see the bustling coral reefs for the first time. Ponyo
actually surpasses it. It is here that we are introduced to Ponyo, an adorable and wayward fish/mermaid that runs away from her father to experience the human World. Swiftly she becomes besotted with a five year old boy and chooses to become human, upsetting the balance of nature and spelling disaster for all mankind.
The film obstinately refuses to resort to CGI; everything is hand drawn. This proves especially effective about half way in, with this epic scene of Ponyo bowling along the top of a tsunami, all the while, a Wagner inspired score booms out something akin to Ride of the Valkyries
. It had this troper blubbering like a little girl.
Unfortunately, the film starts to lose momentum after the first half. The plot grows thin whilst the supernatural elements become increasingly vague and difficult to understand. Meanwhile, the ending is abrupt and leaves plenty of questions unanswered.
Despite this, the story never loses its charm and I wholeheartedly recommend this picture to everyone. Fans of Studio Ghibli
and will not be disappointed.