This is an imaginative film with a rich cast of characters. The setting was brilliantly conceived, and the amount of emotion that Ghibli was able to find in the ocean itself was stunning. That said, the plot is written for children, and doesn't have much to say to adult viewers. There were hints of something more relevant, but ultimately this is just a children's movie, well made, but without the charm and depth of other Miyazaki films.
So much inauthentically sustained giddiness and self-conscious cutesy charm isn't what's defined outings like Totoro but environmentally-conscious subtexts coupled up with vivid, composed storytelling. Ponyo is anything but Totoro.
I'd ultimately rank this below most other Ghibli films, but in 2009, at a time when I was starving for traditional animation (in the midst of a sea of soulless computer-generated tripe, moe, etc.), this was manna from heaven, vibrant (those colors!) and exuberantly fantastical, lovingly childish as ever. It was so wonderful, I smiled all through it and felt my breath flutter as if I could burst into tears at any moment, out of sheer joy that such a delightful treasure could still be made.
Beautiful visuals from the opening sequence on through, and I especially loved the way Miyazaki portrays the flooded village, both above and below the water. It adds a layer of mystery and strangeness that works well for a narrative concerned largely with the relationship between humanity and nature. The characters are pretty simply drawn, but I think that works well for a story about a five-year old. It's simple, yes. But thankfully not simplistic.
While Miyazaki's trademark overbearing environmentalism and hatred for the human race are fully present, the characters are at least more believable than in Mononoke or Nausicaa. The story is dull - there is absolutely no tension or conflict - but this might be alright for very young children. Imaginative animation and a solid soundtrack bring this one up from a 30 to a 50.
A completely magical world, teeming with color and movement and malleable creatures. Miyazaki at his best, as in the first half of Ponyo, is the undeniable champion of vivacity in cinema, and this alien and magical ocean is the perfect setting for his interest and talents as an animator and storyteller. The ending section is comparatively weak, unfortunately; the film loses its drive just as Ponyo does, but everything to that point: Wow. The world is a strange and magical place, indeed!
Best Miyazaki (but not best Ghibli), but thinking I hate most of Miyazaki's... This one is simple and is shown simple, having a few great elements and done beautifully. It may be childish, but at least isn't explaining us every single step they do as we were idiots who need everything to be told four times. Other over-rated movies by him like Mononoke or Chihiro (also childish) are just simple boring movies full of more elements that needed and over-explaining the main topic over and over.
This is the first film by Hayao Miyazaki that I have seen so I am in the lucky position of not being able to compare. This film was an absolute joy from start to finish. Yes, a daft and "unexplained" story ( akin to cocoon in many way ) but the wonderful, breathtaking animation and generally excellent voice overs bought real life to the characters such that Ponyo, Sosuke and his Mum jumped out of the 2D page and became "real" 3D people. This film made me really happy and thats all I can ask.
Definitely not as sophisticated as Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke. It's more geared towards children, with a classic Disney feel. Kind of like My Neighbor Totoro meets Pinocchio or The Little Mermaid. But it is very, very charming and Ponyo is adorable. Miyazaki's storytelling skills are finely honed, and in this case much tighter than the often messy Howl's Moving Castle. If you go in expecting some fun, escapist entertainment and not a masterpiece, you should be satisfied, and moved.
Really delightful. And as usual, filled with tearily sweet moments and incredibly cute things. It doesn't seem to have as much to say as some other Miyazaki films, but it's a more than pleasant viewing experience anyway.
Ponyo on a Cliff is a sparkling and conversantly animated family film that is redolent and resonant of other Miyazaki fulfilments. Less intricately refined and precocious than say Spirited Away. More cheerful and harmless.