Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Directed by Hayao Miyazaki

The new film from Studio Ghibli (Japanese equivalent of Pixar) is Ponyo. A truly heartwarming and enjoyable film that had me smiling all the way through. It's nice to see hand drawn animation again and Ponyo just made me miss it so much. The visuals in this film are superb. It's colourful, bright and incredibly uplifting.
The narrative structure is unusual but it's important to note that the story is told from an angle of a child, which is refreshing to see. It's like listening to a five-year old retelling their dream. It's simple yet imaginative and it's a lot of fun.
The portrayal of the characters are very much well done. Unlike cookie cutter characters that we so much (and get tired of) in children's films these days, the characters in Ponyo feel genuine, authentic and human. They're flawed, they make mistakes and it's easy to relate to them. Some people may complain about the abrupt ending but I think it's a perfect touch to the film. Since it's told from a child's angle the ending is what you would expect from a child. Quick, happy and no explanation required.
There were times when I stared at the screen, stunned at what I was seeing. Something in my head kept telling me that some of these things shouldn't be happening (over-exposure to generic kid's films, I think) and that they needed more explanation. But at one point I just stopped and learned to just go with it, and I'm glad I did.
RATING: 9/10

Monday, September 7, 2009

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. Please release the original!!!

I've been reading a lot about an indie horror film called Paranormal Activity that screened in a handful of film festivals (including the Sydney Film Festival - still kicking myself for not seeing it when I got the chance). Dreamworks bought the rights to the film and held it, planning to release a remake (why?). People who have seen it have noted how the film is unbearably terrifying, and how it's the scariest horror film since The Exorcist. So if Dreamworks releases a remake, it's almost a guarantee that they're going to ruin an already good film. But recent news have surfaced announcing that they will hold off the remake and stick to the "original". I used quotation marks because we all know that studios can't help but edit amazing films such as this one, and unfortunately find a need to water them down. It's really sad. I wanna see the original, and I want it released now, I can't stand the wait any longer. I will gladly pay a premium price just to see this movie and so will a lot of people. This film has the potential to make a lot of money in the box office and I'm still figuring out what possessed Dreamworks to hold it off to the general public. It's currently number one on my most anticipated films to see, and will stay there until I see it.


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