Picofarad #19 movie review

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Ponyo (Gake no Ue no Ponyo) (2009)

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Running Time: 103 minutes

Ponyo is a select member of an increasingly rare club: the true children's movie. With Hollywood now racing to "reimagine" children's classics in big-budget, adult-gathering epic style, here is one that stays firmly fixed at a young child's viewpoint.

Okay, yes, if you want to get technical, there is a manifestation of a goddess. And an epic flood, and a threat to wipe out all of humanity. But the core of the story is one any child can understand: a boy named Sosuke (voiced by Frankie Jonas in the English dub) makes a friend, then discovers she's in trouble and wants to help her.

There are complicating factors, such as that his new friend Ponyo (Noah Cyrus) is a creature of the ocean, the daughter of a goddess and the once- human alchemist Fujimoto (Liam Neeson). She has the power to heal a cut, but in the process begins to become human. Although Fujimoto (who looks, talks, and dresses like a 60-year-old rock star) tracks his wayward daughter down and grounds her, she inevitably sneaks out again. And then things become strange, frightening, and wonderful.

This is still a movie that adults can enjoy. There is hardly a frame that isn't gorgeous, and there is enough going on over the head of Sosuke (and those of young viewers) to hold your attention. But that's all completely incidental. This is a movie for kids, if not limited to them.

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