Princess Mononoke (US reviews - page 5)
- 1 Boxoffice Magazine
- 2 Film.com
- 3 Film.com
- 4 SPLICED Online
- 5 Montreal Gazette
- 6 CHUD - Cinematic Happenings Under Development
- 7 DailyRadar.com
- 8 Vancouver Sun
- 9 USA Today
- 10 ShowBIZ Data
- 11 Toronto Sun
- 12 Images Journal
- 13 IMDB
- 14 Film Scouts
- 15 BayInsider
- 16 cinematter.com
- 17 movies101.com
- 18 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
- 19 LeisureSuit.net
- 20 FilmInk Online
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.boxoff.com/cgi/getreview.pl?where=Name&filename=All&terms=PRINCESS+MONONOK
By Wade Major
For modern-day Japan, whose once-lush mountains and forests were long ago demolished by the rush to industrialization, "Princess Mononoke" is a story that cuts to the heart and soul of a nation.
Outside of Japan, its emotional immediacy is less certain. Even more uncertain is how a 132-minute animated feature with no songs, some graphic dismemberment and decapitations and extensive mythological references will be received by mainstream American audiences. Even the film's PG-13 rating may not sufficiently prepare Anime novices for what they will see.
On the other hand, "Princess Mononoke" is an undeniably elegant and visually sophisticated effort, further benefiting from a more accessible setting than cyberpunk-influenced Anime classics like "Akira." Whether or not the film's considerable attributes will be enough to lure American audiences depends, yet again, on the ever-savvy Miramax marketing machine.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.film.com/film-review/1999/13159/100/default-review.html
Disney It Ain't
By Peter Brunette
Princess Mononoke, the grand and glorious feature- length animation film that has set Titanic-sized box-office records in Japan, is finally arriving on U.S. shores, spiffed up with a host of familiar American voices that will make it seem as cozily homey as the latest animated product from Disney. But Disney, thank God, it ain't.
Much more mythic and risk-taking than the usual Hollywood product that turns complex literary characters like the Hunchback of Notre Dame into adorable, squeezable little friends, Princess Mononoke inhabits an utterly different sort of animated realm. It's big and breathtaking, and it knows how to use music and silence in enthralling ways that make the characters in our animated films seem like empty-headed chatterboxes. Here, the characters - including the women --have the weight and heft of the taciturn, mystical Samurai so familiar from great Japanese classics like The Seven Samurai.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.film.com/film-review/1999/13159/4946/default-review.html
Magic and Mayhem
By Gemma Files
Japanese master animator Hayao Miyazaki, writer/director of Princess Mononoke -- already hailed by Animefantastique magazine as perhaps "the best animated film EVER" -- has stated in interviews that he never watches his own films again after their initial release. Which means he hasn't seen -- and never will, one assumes -- the surprisingly respectful job his former greatest Western rivals, the Disney conglomerate, have done of co-opting and repackaging Mononoke for North American consumption. Which is a bit of a pity, since instead of just redubbing it and burying it with a straight- to-video release (as happened with two of his older films, Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro), the Mouseketeers have instead treated this seminal ecology-and-mythology epic with the reverence it deserves: They've recruited "Sandman" comic book scribe Neil Gaiman as primary translator, and backed his poetic script up with a vocal cast that truly runs the cultural gamut, from "real" actors like Minnie Driver and Billy Bob Thornton to pop icons like Gillian Anderson.
Sure, as someone who finds corporate culture innately frightening, I can always do without the Mouse's creeping influence. But in a world where movies -- adult- and child-oriented alike -- seem increasingly afraid to say anything about anything, I'll take the opinionated magic and mayhem of Princess Mononoke any way I can get it . . . even when it comes wrapped in a pair of Mickey ears.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.splicedonline.com/99reviews/mononoke.html
LOST IN THE TRANSLATION Leaden English dialogue from miscast voice talent diminishes the power of 'Mononoke'
By Rob Blackwelder
Some foreign films should never be dubbed. Reading an elementary translation in subtitle while hearing the passion and emotion in the inflection of the original voices is often more honest and more engrossing than hearing the same words spoken in English.
This seems to be especially true of "Princess Mononoke," an animated, fairy tale allegory about mankind's exploitation of nature set in feudal Japan and created by anime master Hayao Miyazaki.
Redubbed for American release, this handsome, stirring movie looks and feels spectacular with its incredible watercolors of forest landscapes, its giant and intelligent wild animals and its ancient, epic mythology.
But boy, does it sound silly with its leaden translations spoken by such miscast voice talent as Claire Danes as a girl raised by wolves and Billy Bob Thornton as a double-dealing monk.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/pages/991105/3101538.html
November 5, 1999, Friday
It's wise to keep in mind that the Japanese film Princess Mononoke is nothing like the Disney production Mulan. Both are animated epics that draw on Far Eastern folklore and contemporary imagination. Both bend gender conventions out of shape and produce strong female characters who carve their own destiny. But that's where the similarities end.
The look of the film differs strikingly from the rounded, cuddly style of the typical Disney movie. Princess Mononoke is all speed, sharp edges, saucer-shaped eyes, furrowed brows, and abrupt dynamics set against a watercolour background of extreme peace and beauty. The contrast can be numbing at times.
For those passionate about animation of all shapes and sizes, Princess Mononoke is the motherlode of alternative animated experiences. For those unfamiliar with the distinctive look and pacing of much of the animation coming out of Japan, the experience will run the gamut, from intriguing, to annoying.
CHUD - Cinematic Happenings Under Development
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.chud.com/reviews/princessmononoke.htm
November 10, 1999, Wednesday
"An epic animation from the Far East" PRINCESS MONONOKE
By Nick Nunziata
The story is a good one, filled with many familiar scenarios and themes. It's been called Japan's STAR WARS and that's a stretch but it is quite good. However, it is predictable and either Sandman creator Neil Gaiman's translation to English has created some very awkward dialogue ("I don't want to be turned into a demon", WHO WOULD? Other than me of course) or there are a few stumbling blocks in the story.
The look of the film is lush and sometimes gorgeous, although not the best I've seen in a cartoon. The characters are fresh (especially the great little head bobbing forest spirits who rattle their heads and guide Ashitaka through the forest, and in the funniest scene, stare at the remains of a cut twig as if a loved one has just been assassinated).
I think the praise this film has been given is a little heavy, but the film takes a neat angle on the dawn of technology and the raping of nature by man and it has moments of brilliance. If all goes well, this could be a good step towards mainstream acceptance for this medium. Princess Mononoke is a solid film that easily is the best cartoon Disney's released in a while (although the only thing they've done is distribute it) and it will convert many a new face to Anime and a creator worth watching.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.dailyradar.com/reviews/movie_review_116.html
November 11, 1999, Thursday
Princess Mononoke This is what happens when Hollywood tries to Hollywood-ize an otherwise well-executed Japanese movie
By Frank O'Connor
After what seems (to anime fans, at least) an interminable delay, Hayao Miyazaki's animated blockbuster, Princess Mononoke, has hit American screens. Filled to cacophony with Western voice talent, the two-hour-plus epic draws heavily on Japanese and Ainu mythologies, showing animist gods in conflict with a small pocket of industrial revolution. In heavy-handed fashion, we are told that good and evil exist in all, and that nothing is as simple as it seems. Because this fable is told in cartoon form, we are expected to believe that it is original and deep. In fact, Princess Mononoke is overlong and trite.
So why all the hype? The animation doesn't beat any Disney movie; the acting is not particularly strong; and the plot is revealed to be senseless by a weak, morally tweaked, and abrupt ending. Akira -- another breakthrough anime (which was a much more interesting film) -- had a muddled and absurd premise but overwhelmed with its vision of future Japan. Princess Mononoke is better in the original Japanese with subtitles, and that's how it should be relished.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.vancouversun.com/newsite/entertainment/991112/3135389.html
November 12, 1999, Friday
A study in human extremes A story of man, nature and the divine that owes nothing to Disney, Princess Mononoke rises above the good-versus-evil standards of animated fare.
By Katherine Monk
Like some mutant lovechild born from an affair between Godzilla and Pokemon's yellow Pikachu, Princess Mononoke is part cute and cuddly, part brute and ugly. An epic animated tale set in Japan's ancient past, the movie essentially unravels the tense relationship between man, nature and the divine spirit that unites us all.
While it's hard not to like a movie that inspires a deeper look at society, Princess Mononoke is far from a perfect picture. The narrative suffers from an excess of ambition, trying to fit too much into an already complicated story. Characters aren't fully developed and drama leaks out from all sides.
However, thanks to its theme and brilliant animation that owes nothing to Disney aesthetics, Princess Mononoke is a film that deserves to be seen, and thought about, by people of all ages.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.usatoday.com/life/enter/movies/movie058.htm
October 28, 1999, Thursday
'Mononoke' whirls in from Japan
By Andy Seiler
In its original incarnation, Hayao Miyazaki's eye-catching animated epic Princess Mononoke broke box office records, topping every movie but Titanic in its native Japan. Miramax's new English-language version has been translated by renowned fantasy writer Neil Gaiman and dubbed effectively, with Claire Danes supplying the voice of the title character, and Billy Crudup, Minnie Driver, Gillian Anderson, Jada Pinkett Smith and Billy Bob Thornton in other parts.
But this is still very much a Japanese movie. The folk tales and history on which the film relies will be unfamiliar to most Americans, and the visual references to different ethnic groups and historical periods will ring no bells.
Still, Princess Mononoke, which tells the story of a boy's quest to overcome a mysterious affliction after a run-in with a demonic boar, is a must-see for animation fans. Miyazaki portrays nature with a breathtaking touch, from rocks in a rippling stream to a thunderstorm shown from first drops to climactic deluge.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www3.showbizdata.com/contacts/pickrevs.cfm?id=25
October 29, 1999, Friday
By Lesley Jacobs
Princess Mononoke, the first Japanese anime film to be released to a wide American audience, arrives on these shores with a proud history. [...] Resolutely adult in both themes and approach, this is not animation for the Disney generation. [...] the film appeals because of its sophistication and its poetry, as well as the refreshing absence of cheery musical numbers.
Embodying the essence of Japanese philosophy, [Ashitaka] desperately tries to strike a balance between man and nature. It is this core idea that powers the film. There is no good or evil here, no right and wrong. Rather, the journey for all the characters is to learn how to coexist, to create harmony from disarray. It's these somewhat spiritual ideas -- as well as a long-winded middle act -- that will alienate most Western audiences, which tend to be more eager to embrace black and white heroes and villains.
What amazes you as you watch the film, though, is the sheer majesty of the animation. Nothing against Disney or Pixar, but director Miyazaki's Japanese crew has created a world of such scope that it is sometimes staggering. The color saturation and luminosity of the images, combined with an epic score, work to convey the themes better than any words.
While some of the film's sequences are a bit elliptical - especially the final confrontation with the Forest God - the overall effect here is elegant and restrained, thanks in great part to Neil Gaiman's adaptation, which captures the magic of Miyazaki's world. This is complemented in no small part by voice director Jack Fletcher, who has aptly guided his American cast to make the ideas and emotions accessible. Everyone involved in Princess Mononoke clearly realized that it is not idealistic, fairy tale animation for the masses. Rather the film embraces the Japanese sensibility, never cheapens it, pressing us to look inside ourselves and seek out our own sense of balance with the universe. Spiritual, yes, but that is the essence of Anime.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.canoe.ca/JamMoviesReviewsP/princessmonoke_thompson.html
October 29, 1999, Friday
Voices fail strong animated adventure
By Bob Thompson
Mixed with this sort of brazen action and adventure are Miyazaki's philosophical trappings as he exposes man's inhumanity to man and nature.
Despite the musings, there are no obvious heroes and villains in Princess Mononoke, the title referring to the young girl who rides with the wolf gods. But there is something compelling.
Miyazaki's dedication to detailing the feudal lords, peasants, tribesmen and samurai warriors of the time is astounding.
His pacing, as usual, is magical. His characterizations are vivid and complete.
Even those who find the Japanese art of animation awkward and distracting would not deny Miyazaki's storytelling power in Princess Mononoke.
It likely won't do that well here. Miyazaki isn't celebrated by the mainstream as he is in Japan. And it's just too long for its own movie good.
More unfortunate is the casting. The English language actors they chose to voice the characters hurt, rather than help, the feature's cause.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.imagesjournal.com/issue08/reviews/nyff/default-mononoke.htm
By David Ng
Every so often a single movie shakes up its own genre, redefining it, and altering its course for good. Last Tango in Paris did it for erotica, 2001: A Space Odyssey for sci-fi, and Goodfellas for gangster films. Now Princess Mononoke is poised to change animation. [...] Whereas other anime films have failed to make the cultural cross-over, Princess Mononoke transcends its subgenre by creating a simple story, populating it with complex characters, and couching it all in brilliant, breathtaking animation.
Of course it helps that the voices have been re-dubbed into English. Among the cast members are Claire Danes, Billy Bob Thorton, and Gillian Anderson. But the real stand-outs are Billy Crudup as Ashitaka and Minnie Driver as Lady Eboshi. They bring subtlety and intelligence to their roles. Together, they are the movie’s most interesting couple because though they are adversaries, they are cut from the same intellectual cloth.
The true star of Princess Mononoke is its creator, Hayao Miyazaki. He takes animation a step further than anyone else by creating images we can’t imagine imagining. The death of a forest spirit, for instance, becomes both tragic and beautiful in his hands. Its dying body spreads canopy-like over the forest, covering everything in a gorgeous green mist. Miyazaki’s originality is on a par with Welles’ and Kubrick’s. He conjures a very specific world, one that feels authentic and that doesn’t end at the screen’s edge.
Princess Mononoke will certainly change the way critics judge animated movies, but it is uncertain how major studios or audiences will respond. The audience at the New York Film Festival was unmoved. A number of people walked out, and the applause was weak given the hype surrounding the screening. Perhaps audiences became confused by the introduction of moral ambiguity in an animated movie. This confirms Princess Mononoke’s status as an evolutionary shot in the arm. Like most masterpieces, it will offend before it enlightens.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://reviews.imdb.com/Reviews/206/20680
Mononoke Hime (1997)
By Harvey S. Karten
By contrast Hayao Miyazaki's epic "Princess Mononoke" is a veritable Fuji of a complicated, difficult story about as multidimensional as a series of Marcel Proust recherches. But the time the tale is over, though, the pieces come together. You won't place the old moral that the underdog will prevail in this one but rather a whole succession of themes, universal in scope, among which is the idea that warfare among competing clans (and even species) does not necessarily take place between the forces of good and evil. The gods are not on anyone's side in this anime, because both positions have validity and, in fact, a single human being can possess elements of good and evil. Sounds strangely enough like the current reality, no?
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.filmscouts.com/scripts/review.cfm?File=pri-mon
"Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)"
By Debra Lass
Mapping, morphing, particleanimation. If these terms send a welcome shiver of anticipation down your spine, then you'll be pleased to know that "Princess Mononoke", Hayao Miyazaki's animated import from Japan, combines the best of digital technology with the beauty of traditional cel painted animation. If you are, like many, technologically impaired, but appreciate a good story, then read on.
I found myself struggling after the 90-minute mark and I can't help but wonder if the film would have a broader appeal on this side of the Pacific if it were about 30 minutes shorter.
Still, in addition to the lush visuals and lovely score by Joe Hisaishi, there is much to appreciate in "Princess Mononoke", such as the sound advice given to Ashitaka by a fortuneteller when he embarks on his quest: "to see the world with unclouded eyes." The message of "Princess Mononoke" is an important one that, a few years back, was posed simply by a now infamous Los Angelean when he asked, "Can't we all just get along?" - and there's nothing Mickey Mouse about that.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.bayinsider.com/entertainment/movies/nov5_movieguide.html
Bay Area Movie Preview
By Jeffery Anderson
"Princess Mononoke" is a terrific new animated movie -- a milestone -- and I am officially recommending it. But parents should think twice before taking young children to see it. Many kids will probably love it, but this PG-13 rated film has mature themes and contains quite a bit of graphic gore.
"Princess Mononoke" is very dense. It's as complicated as a real war, with illegal bargaining, greed, and cheating running underneath outward bravado and patriotism. This is an epic on the scale of "Gone With the Wind" (1939) or "Glory" (1989). This film begins with a sequence that is one of the greatest cinematic achievements I've ever seen: an incredible demonic beast, a boar with hundreds of worm-like tentacles coming from everywhere on his body, attacks a remote Japanese village.
"Princess Mononoke" is perhaps Miyazaki's most accomplished work. It definitely struck a chord in Japan where it is the all- time box-office champion, second only to "Titanic" (1997). And, along with "The Iron Giant" and "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" (both 1999), it shatters the decades-old American definition of animation. From now on, animation can be for adults as well as kids. See "Princess Mononoke" in the theater and allow yourself to be blown away. With luck and common sense, it will also be released on a DVD that will allow viewers to watch it again and again in both dubbed and subtitled versions as we choose.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.cinematter.com/movie.php3?mononoke
By Matt Williams
Capsule Review: Brilliantly drawn, this beautiful story is much more complex (and confusing) than typical American animated fare. Not for the very young, The Princess Mononoke can be stunningly violent at times. But for fans of animation, this is a must see.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.movies101.com/PRINCESSMONONOKE.HTML
November 1, 1999, Monday
By Robert Glatzer
The story of "Princess Mononoke" was written by Miyazaki, and although it is meant to be a kind of neo-medieval epic it is the least successful part of his creation, full of great sequence openings and fascinating characters, who unfortunately are not connected well enough with each other, so that the film's plot moves by little fits and starts, sometimes even doubling back on itself and changing its characters' personalities. These self-contradictions almost eviscerate the power of the film. forcing them to act against what we thought was their own best interest. I don't think this is a fault of the translation, but of the conception itself.
It's all much too much for the film to sustain, and there never is any consistency about what each individual or group needs or wants. There is a final battle, of sorts, between the demons and the non- demons, but what power it might have had is vitiated by the confused writing.
The film, however, is amazing to look at. Diametrically opposed to the Disney style, nothing is cute here. There are no cartoon stereotypes, no pratfalls, no wisecracks from second bananas. The story is taken seriously, the characters, whether human or animal, are all articulate, and the animation is so real you have no difficulty suspending disbelief. Visually, at least, it is masterful and can stand as a supreme work of animation.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.seattlep-i.com/pi/movies/monoq.shtml
November 5, 1999, Friday
'Princess Mononoke' should dazzle U.S. audiences as well
By William Arnold
It's a dazzling movie, gorgeous to look at, involving on both emotional and intellectual levels, and often thrilling. Audiences here could find it a welcome relief from the increasingly formulaic animated offerings of late-'90s Hollywood.
In outline, it sounds like a kid's movie, but it's not. For one thing, it's realistically violent, filled with decapitations, mutilations and spurting blood. And, while its animation (mostly hand-drawn) is stunning, it's moody and often upsetting, evoking the harshness of humanity as often as it does the soft beauty of nature.
The script is filled with philosophical ambiguity and a surprising complexity of character (so it's never easy to tell the bad guys from the good guys). And it makes its thematic point -- the need to strike a balance between the forces of man and nature -- in such a thoughtful, low-key way that kids could miss it entirely.
Still, for older teens and grown-ups, "Princess Mononoke" makes an exhilarating and uniquely entertaining mystical adventure -- one that creates its own magical world so effectively that it just might well be the long-expected hit that will turn on the U.S. mass audience to the glories of Japanese animation.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.leisuresuit.net/Webzine/articles/princess_mononoke.shtml
November 8, 1999, Monday
Review: Princess Mononoke
By Heather Corrina
Princess Mononoke, directed by Japanese filmmaker and environmentalist Hayao Miyazaki and released in 1997, was Japan's largest grossing film ever. Now that it's finally released in the States, with a brilliant English adaptation by writer and cult figure Neil Gaiman and a slew of celebrity voices, we can share in this treat. Oddly, it has been done so well they are now showing the English version, subtitled in Japanese, back in Japan where it came from.
It is this journey which begins the tale that, unlike the dualistic moral cartoons Disney weaves, has many characters who are neither good nor evil, but individuals with their own interests and agendas. These characters are often at odds with one another, but all are struggling to find balance between industrialism and nature. One can easily see why "Sandman" and "NeverWhere" author Gaiman (who when first asked to do the adaptation, intended to decline) couldn't resist such a tale: it is complex and multifaceted, and incorporates Jungian archetypes and mythological beasts.
Stylistically, the film is gorgeous. Instead of choosing one artistic style, it layers numerous styles, including anime, impressionism, realistic landscape, aboriginal imagery and surrealistic compositions.
There isn't a happy and majestic ending to this film--what Miyazaki makes clear is that if there is harmony between humans and animals, and industrialism and nature, it is tenuous at best, and there is no real way for either side to reign victorious. He says so without preachiness, but with humor, solid characters, a solid story, and gorgeous visual treats.
I didn't expect to like Mononoke, but I was floored by its genius [...] It is not uncommon for foreign films to make the schlock Hollywood churns out look trite, but it is unusual for it to be done quite so well and produced so beautifully. For those of you not lucky enough to have your viewing prefaced by Gaiman as I did, I'll follow his own sentiments in saying I'd see it again and again. In each of the premieres he has attended, he fully meant to leave the film after it had begun, having been immersed in it so much during its production, but at this point he has watched it over seven times in its entirety.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://filmink-online.com/hbs.cgi?movie=1574
November 10, 1999
PRINCESS MONONOKE, THE
"Princess Mononoke," a Japanese import made in their native land in 1997, is visually, and sometimes plottingly original too.
What does detract from the film, it the obvious "white" sounding voices. Why not cast unknown, Asian dialects? Billy Bob Thornton and Claire Danes would not have been my primary candidates in the first place. Also, the running time is over two-hours and 20-minutes, more than 40-minutes overlong, and rumored to have been even longer in its original Japanese format. But no matter, "Princess Mononoke" is a beautiful film to look at with wonderfully textured and top notch animation. I only wonder if Neil Gaiman, in charge of the English version of the screenplay, did not manipulate director/writer Hayao Miyazaki's original vision. Although this will no doubt be trampled in the rush for the other Japanese import, "Pokémon," out in theaters tomorrow.