Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo is a visually stunning film that appeals to both kids and those that are kids at heart. It’s full of fun characters, who are voiced by an extremely talented cast, and boast an animated world that is alluring and full of intrigue.
Ponyo tells the story of a young boy named Sosuke (Frankie Jonas) as he comes across a small magical fish in the ocean who he lovingly names Ponyo (Noah Cyrus). However, Ponyo is no ordinary fish as she has a strong desire to become human and get away from her protective father Fujimoto (Liam Neeson). However, the longer she stays on land the more nature becomes unbalanced. So Sosuke and Ponyo must figure out how to keep her human before Fujimoto brings her back to the sea.
Ponyo’s use of water and sea life being a part of the story makes it a great experience to see on the big screen and creates a very unique fantasy setting. The film’s characters always carry a child-like curiosity in seeing new creatures and exploring the vast seas that surround them. It helps creates more memorable moments and some fun character dynamics. The film also makes its younger characters more fearless and capable which give younger viewers great role models to see onscreen.
These great characters are only made better with the talented voice cast that brings real emotions with each line. Experienced actors and actresses like Liam Neeson, Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, and others help shape their respective character’s personalities and will make audiences feel more invested in them. Not to mention that these characters’ curiosity leads to some funny moments and shows that the film never takes itself too seriously.
The film’s plot flows smoothly for most of its run time but dives into rough waters towards the end. It rushes its finale and makes it feel a little anti-climactic and unfinished. Some moments might also feel a little too childish and might not resonate as well with its adult viewers.
Regardless, Ponyo is an artfully fantastic film that utilizes its veteran cast to create dynamic characters and creates a sense of awe with every magical moment that drift throughout the film.