The other day I won tickets to see the latest film by my favouritest ever Japanese director - Ponyo by Hayao Miyazaki. Mr Chairman insists that I didn't win the tickets because they were simply giving them away but I know I won so boo sucks to him. And kinda boo sucks to me because the film was a bit meh. Mr C picked me up from work, leaving a good hour to do the 12k drive across the city. In gale force winds. In insano traffic. As in, 200m in ten minutes insano. After a serious case of road rage we finally made it to Carlton, found a park, found out where to pick up the tickets I WON, found the cinema and found two seats next to each other - all with two minutes to spare! Just in time for the all important ceremony - the dimming of the lights.
For those who don't know of my love for the Japanese master of anime, Miyazaki heads Studio Ghibli, one of the foremost animation studios in the world. He's famous for beginning to draw before storyboards have been finalised, which results in a wonderful free flowing storytelling style and the inclusion of odd, unexplained plot twists and flights of fancy. His movies frequently explore our relationship to nature and are remarkable for their strong female characters, of all ages. His characters are rarely stereotypes and even the most bad tempered character is subject to change. Children in his films are a special delight - they are shown remarkable respect by adults, who never ever mock or question their ideas. But what makes him so special is that his films are done entirely by hand - no computer generated backgrounds here. And it is absolutely beautiful.
Ponyo is a sweet little film about a goldfish who befriends a five year old boy and wants to become a human girl. It's all very lovely and has the best closing theme song ever (sung by a super cute eight year old) but lacks some of the breathtaking magic of earlier Miyazaki films like My neighbour Totoro, Spirited away and Howl's moving castle. While my initial reaction was disappointment it is so only in comparison to his earlier wonderful work. It is still a charming and beautiful work.I'm now lowering the tone somewhat by confessing that I am currently addicted to a show called Daphne in brilliant blue. It's actually a really endearing girls' own adventure series - despite what the costumes suggest. For your edification I include the following image from the show.