At the movies this past weekend, Ponyo had me completely submerged. A treat for viewers of any age, the under-the-sea themed animated film made my heart swell with admiration for the spunky, red-haired, female protagonist. My ears were perked, too: with voices lent from Tina Fey and Betty White, what’s not-to-love?
Breathtaking visuals and all-star vocal cast aside, the master storyteller behind the fairy tale, Hayao Miyazaki, deserves some serious brownie points. A well-known feminist, Miyazaki uses strong-willed women in most of his works, including the Academy Award Winning Spirited Away. As if that isn’t reason enough to take the anime plunge, his films are also tinged with absorbing social commentary ranging from environmentalism to pacifism. Ponyo is no exception: on the surface, the film is a fairy tale for 5-year olds, but subtexts on pollution, human disconnection with nature, growing up and growing old give the movie some deep-sea-sized depth.
Has anyone caught Ponyo yet? If you’re up for drowning yourself in some feminist film theory, check out Christine Hoff Kraemer’s essay ”Disney, Miyazaki, and Feminism: Why Western girls need Japanese animation.”
Photo Courtesy of Screen Crave.