134 Min | Animation – Adventure – Fantasy | July 1997
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Yoji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yûko Tanaka
Princess Mononoke Review: Princess Mononoke is one of Studio Ghibli’s most acclaimed films, only behind Spirited Away. And few films deserve so much praise. Princess Mononoke is beautiful, emotional, and surprisingly violent.
Miyazaki’s films, especially Castle in the Sky and Nausicaa, focus on man’s relationship with nature. But in these films, its clear that the environmentally-unfriendly military men are the bad guys. There is little characterization to them. Princess Mononoke is the ultimate evolution of these ideas, where neither side is portrayed as good or evil. Lady Eboshi, the leader of the mining town, is callous towards nature, but kind to her people, taking in those society has thrown away. The gods and beasts of the forest exhibit similar love and hate. This balance makes the world more realistic, and the danger more terrifying. And while some sort of peace is made between the sides, Miyazaki doesn’t force a perfect answer.
“Princess Mononoke” tells the story of a young man’s journey to seek a cure for a curse that will eventually transform him into a demon. When he finds what he’s been looking for he also finds himself in the middle of a struggle between the forces of nature and industrialization. The story of Princess Mononoke is highly interesting and artfully told in a mature manner. The mythology makes for a highly imaginative story that is nevertheless eminently accessible. I have no idea what kids would make of it but, as an adult, I found it much more satisfying than the usual animated fare from America.
But its more than environmental commentary. The animation is among the best. Combined with majestic backgrounds of nature and a dramatic orchestra score, only other Ghibli films come close to matching Princess Mononoke’s beauty. The action is thrilling, with perfect dramatic tension and intimidating creatures to face against the humans. Princess Mononoke is one of the hardest PG-13 films I’ve seen, so don’t show it to underage kids. Princess Mononoke is an anime classic. Everyone whose a fan of animation has seen this film.