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Review: Ponyo

Visually stunning, but leaves you shaking your head
By PETER KEOUGH  |  August 12, 2009
2.5 2.5 Stars

 

In a film like Spirited Away (2001), Hayao Miyazaki takes flight and creates his own seductive animated universe. When tied to a Disney fable about the environment and true love, he lurches from cliché to myth to things that just leave you shaking your head. In the latter category is Fujimoto (Liam Neeson), an undersea wizard who looks like Michael Jackson.

He's mixing elixirs to keep "the world in balance," and he has a school of little fish daughters. One of these, his favorite, he keeps in a bubble safe from the disgusting humans. There's a little bit of Captain Nemo and Finding Nemo here, not to mention The Little Mermaid as the fish falls in love with a little boy (he calls her Ponyo) and evolves (at one awkward stage she looks like Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy) into a little girl.

Oh, and did I tell you about the world out of balance and true love? The film is visually stunning, however, with a A-list cast of voices that include Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, and Tina Fey.

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