Any of you who know me knows this is my FAVORITE director. Any movie he touches turns to gold! I love his style and animation, Studio Ghibli is my favorite of all.
Overall the plot is kind of confusing, you really have to pay attention to the story. It holds your attention easily, as all Miyazaki films do, but there are parts where you have to mentally back track and say “Wait, what?”. Plus some of the monsters in this movie are just gross, and I would be afraid that they would scare kids.
Here is the DVD description of the film:
Inflicted with a deadly curse, a young warrior named Ashitaka (Ah-she-tah-ka) sets out to the forests of the west in search of the cure that will save his life. Once there, he becomes inextricably entangled in a bitter battle that matches Lady Eboshi (Eh-boh-she) and a proud clan of humans against the forest’s animal gods… who are led by the brave Princess Mononoke (Moh-no-no-kay), a young woman raised by wolves!
That desribes the movie pretty well. There is one thing: You hear the name “Mononoke” once, and it is never actually assigned to the Princess in the woods at all, it is part of a story ABOUT a Princess raised by tigers. You get that they are talking about her, but for the entire movie she is called San. I don’t think the name of the movie was a good choice, since you don’t hear the name more than once, in passing, early on.
I guess I am rating voice acting here? The vocal cast is brilliant. There are a few big names in the movie (Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Billy Bob Thornton), but you don’t know it is them unless you look up the cast list. The voices aren’t made to stand out too much, they fit in seamlessly with the movie. I really love the voice casting in Miyazaki movies when they are brought to the US, the cast gives it their best, and they are always brilliant.
So my review for this movie is positive. It certainly isn’t to me the most memorable of Miyazaki movies, but it is still good. Remember my warning though: while almost every Miyazaki movie can be watched by kids, some of the monsters in this are kind of gross, and you see several fight scenes that could scare small kids. In the animated violence you see peoples limbs get chopped off, or heads knocked off by arrows. It is really surprising for a Miyazaki movie to be so dark.