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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Children > Fantasy > Literature > Japan > Ponyo (2009/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)

Ponyo (2009/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)


Picture: B+/B-     Sound: B/B-     Extras: B     Film: B



Hayao Miyazaki is one of animation’s great auteurs.  A master of hand-drawn animation, his films are filled with true wonder that is child-like and not childish, natural and not condescending, pro environment and not mindless.  His latest film Ponyo (2009) is an adaptation of The Little Mermaid, but far superior to the Disney animated feature from 1989 for so many reasons we could do an essay.  However, it is not a musical and is not quite the same story.


A young boy finds a goldfish trapped in a glass jar barely escaping a giant fishing net that picks up as much trash as life.  He breaks the fish out of the jar and keeps it as a pet.  Then he sees an odd person seeming to show up at the oddest times spraying… something from a back pack canister.  He befriends the fish, but there is something unusual here, starting with when it starts to talk.  Soon, he’ll find out much, much more.


Though aimed at children, the film is a superior achievement in animation of any kind and Miyazaki’s work is so color rich that you have to see it the best way possible, which is why its arrival on Blu-ray is so key.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image is absolutely stunning in its detail, clarity, definition, depth and especially color range.  With many demo quality shots throughout, Miyazaki rarely makes any of the shots softer than they should be or would be in extreme Animé cases.  In comparison, the anamorphically enhanced DVD included as a bonus just cannot cut it, especially in color range, which the old DVD format just cannot deliver.  This will become a favorite Blu-ray for anyone serious about High Definition who has a home theater system and we can only hope Disney issues the rest of the Miyazaki films they handle this way ASAP.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 48/24 5.1 mix is English and sounds good, but something smooth is missing in the translation between this track and the Japanese version only here in Dolby Digital 5.1.  That may not have the fidelity of the Disney English version, but purists may prefer that one, which is as weak as the Dolby Digital 5.1 English mix on the DVD.


Extras include storyboards, Meet Ponyo introduction two-part World Of Ghibli interactive look at the studio (Studio Ghibli) that produced this and so many other fine animated features.  This includes Enter The Lands and Behind The Studio and adds up to another deluxe Disney Blu-ray that everyone will want to own.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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