Movie Review: Ponyo

Priya Gregerson, Staff Reporter

“Ponyo on the Cliff” is a film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki has directed other well known films including My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Secret World of Arrietty and many more. If you and your family of any age are interested in watching a film overflowing with beautiful colors, hilarious jokes, eccentric characters and a heartwarming plot you should take this movie into consideration.

Ponyo, a goldfish princess not any older than five or six years old, is the daughter of the goddess of mercy and the queen of the ocean,  Granmamare and her husband, the guardian of the sea named Fujimoto. Ponyo has a desire to be a human girl, and longs for freedom from her father and all of her sisters. Sounds a little like “The Little Mermaid” right? Well here’s where things take a turn.

After escaping her aquatic home, Ponyo gets trapped in a glass preserve jar from a polluted part of the ocean and is swept away. A little boy named Sosuke is playing by the shore and spots Ponyo in the jar. Trying to revive her, he rushes to the garden spout and plants her in a plastic bucket he’s probably used to make sandcastles with. Sosuke takes ponyo in her bucket everywhere, including his daycare and the nursing home, which is his mother’s place of work. Sosuke is playing with Ponyo in the yard when she uses her magical ocean powers to turn into a human girl. Sosuke is astounded and his mother sees Ponyo later on and doesn’t quite connect the dots that this fiery haired child was once a shimmering goldfish. Furious that his daughter ran away, Fujimoto comes to land in search for her. Townsfolk are alarmed at Fujimoto, his long tangerine colored hair, whimsical striped suit and outlandish attitude not to mention his bizarre looking water-pumping machine he uses in order to not get dried out.

With Princess Ponyo defying the rules of the sea, the earth and waters become out of balance. Signs of a storm are coming and Sosuke’s mother feels as she needs to check on the elders in the home and see if they need any extra assistance. Sosuke, his mother and Ponyo rush home after helping out so they can take shelter. After a dinner of Ramen, the children pass out on the couch. What they wake up to, what the whole town wake up to, will change everything. Is it a nightmare or a dream? Should Ponyo had just obeyed her father and stayed in the ocean or will her declaration for independence take a turn for better?

This film is a must watch. On a personal note, the memories I have of the film will forever resonate with me. I think anyone who watches this film can take away absolutely nothing but good memories, dreams, smiles and laughs. I most definitely rate “Ponyo on the Cliff” five out of five stars. Just because this movie came into my life in my childhood, doesn’t mean someone of any age couldn’t enjoy it. “Ponyo on the Cliff” is a like a sweet cherry pie because everyone can enjoy a slice. So dig in!