Princess Mononoke (1997)

9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great animation and with a good story to back it up

Nothing

 
Movie Info

Movie Name: Princess Mononoke

Studio: Studio Ghibli

Genre(s): Animated/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): July 12, 1997

MPAA Rating: PG-13

princess-mononoke-boar-demon

Oh no! A wormy spidery thing is attacking our village!

Ashitaka (voiced by Yoji Matsuda) finds his village invaded by a demon.  When he is infected while slaying the demon, Ashitaka must go on a quest to find the source of the iron ball which poisoned the Boar God.  Ashitaka learns of a town called Iron Town cutting into the great forest and that a girl named Princess Mononoke (voiced by Yuriko Ishida) is fighting against Lady Eboshi (voiced by Yuko Tanaka) with her Wolf God family.  When Ashitaka tries to end the violence, he learns that Lady Eboshi and a mercenary named Jigo (voiced by Kaoru Kobayashi) intend to kill the Forest Spirit to end nature’s reign forever.

princess-mononoke-princess

I got you, sucka!

Written and directed by acclaimed anime director Hayao Miyazaki, Princess Mononoke is one of the most expensive anime films ever made.  Following Hayao’s Porco Rosso in 1992, it was one of the highest grossing pictures in Japan and received high marks from most critics.  It was released in the United States in 1999 and had a full cast voice over with Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thorton, and Jada Pinkett Smith with some of the stars lending their talent.

The movie is a great adventure film and can be enjoyed by people who aren’t fans of anime.  The story is very universal and easy to follow.  It is a very pro-nature, non-violent message and it can become a bit preachy, but it doesn’t really hurt the story at all (plus for a movie touting non-violence, it is quite violent…heads flying everywhere).

princess-mononoke-forest-spirit

It might be the Forest Spirit but this thing just creeps me out

What moves the story forward is the fantastic art and art direction.  The movie looks like it borrowed a lot of the wide, sweeping landscapes of Akira Kurosawa (especially the grassy fields of Ran).  The character designs are fantastic and the moment and camera work are so smooth and give the movie an epic feel.  In Fantasia 2000, for the Firebird Suite, it also appears to really borrow from this film…almost stealing some of the images from the forest.

Princess Mononoke is one of my favorite animated movies.  There are a few points where it gets a little long, but the action keeps it going.  Miyazaki’s follow-up film Spirited Away might have been the big award winner, but this one keeps me coming back over and over again.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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