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.