By John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service
An unabashed celebration of the innocence
and wonder of childhood, as well as of the imaginative possibilities that can
endure well beyond it, "Ponyo" (Disney) is a treat for youthful
spirits of every age. This enchanting English-language version of a Japanese
animated fable, inspired by Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little
Mermaid," was originally written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, a
recognized master of the genre.
This is a scene from the animated movie "Ponyo."
As adapted by directors John Lasseter,
Brad Lewis and Peter Sohn, the mythic tale is set in motion when a determined
little goldfish named Ponyo (voice of Noah Cyrus, sister of actress-singer
Miley Cyrus) decides to escape the underwater realm of her domineering father,
Fujimoto (voice of Liam Neeson)—a half-human wizard embittered against his
fellow human beings by their abuse of nature—to explore the world beyond.
Reaching shore, she comes under the
protection of Sosuke (voice of the Jonas Brothers' younger sibling Frankie
Jonas), a plucky, affectionate 5-year-old boy. With his father Koichi (voice of
Matt Damon), a merchant sailor often away at sea, Sosuke is used to providing
moral support to his lonely mother Lisa (voice of Tina Fey). He's also a
favorite with the residents of the nursing home where Lisa works, a trio of
them voiced by Cloris Leachman, Lily Tomlin and Betty White.
Sosuke and Ponyo bond immediately. But,
with Fujimoto resolved to use his supernatural powers to reclaim his daughter,
Sosuke's love for her will be put to the test in a series of adventures, both
before and after Ponyo's mysterious transformation into a little girl.
Japanese cultural elements incorporated
into the story—the script was adapted by Melissa Mathison—include brief scenes
of Shinto prayer and the divine status of Ponyo's mother, Gran Mamare (voice of
Cate Blanchett), identified in English as the "goddess of the sea."
But the underlying moral messages, such
as the repeated admonition to judge by substance rather than appearance and a
deftly delivered warning against environmental carelessness, are universal.
The USCCB Office for Film &
Broadcasting classification is A-I—general patronage. The Motion Picture Association
of America rating is G—general audiences; all ages admitted.
- - -
Mulderig is on the staff of the Office
for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Thank you for your comments. Editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.
blog comments powered by