Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
Hayao Miyazaki is a legend in the movie industry, especially in the anime circuit. The co-founder of Studio Ghibli, and building a legacy that spans over fifty years, he has constantly been compared to Nick Park, Robert Zemeckis and even Walt Disney. Even though Miyazaki’s name is not quite as recognized as some of the previously mentioned animators, he is just as prolific (if not more so) than any of them.
Some of Miyazaki’s early workers included Lupin III (1971), The Castle of Cagliostro (1979) and the anime series Sherlock Hound (1984). His best work really started to be shown after he created Studio Ghibli, as films like the innocent and moving My Neighbor Tototoro(1988) and the 2002 academy award winner for best animated movie, Spirited Away (2001). Princess Mononoke was released in 1997, and it’s considered by a number of people as his best movie, although tied with about 5 other animated movies.
‘Mononoke’ is a Japanese word that stands for ‘spirit’ or ‘monster’, and in this epic drama the focus of the film is on the constant battle between nature and the humans that consume it’s resources. The film makes it clear that there can never be any winner between the two, and that the only hope either party can have is that a mutual relationship is built, so that they can both survive and not destroy each other. Princess Mononoke is set in the Muromachi Period (1337 – 1573) of Japan, although mother earth is given a physical manifestation, so quite a few of fantastical elements are included into the plot.
The movie centers on a young boy, voiced by Yōji Matsuda, an outsider to the battle between the forest spirits and the humans of Iron Town. The movie starts off with a fantastic action scene, as the outsider is being attacked by a boar demon, which eventually leaves a curse on our young hero. Eventually he is guided in the path toward the Iron town and the forest, were his given the hope that the spirit demons will provide a cure.
‘Princess Mononoke’ is San, a young human girl who has been chosen and adopted by a large wolf goddess named Moro. After rescuing two humans from dying, the outsider makes his way to the Iron Town, which he discovers is a town for social outcasts such as lepers, and also he discovers that the manager of the settlement (Lady Eboshi) actually created the demon that is slowly killing him. He eventually intervenes in the middle of a fight between Eboshi and San, and he leaves with San. The story develops from here, as our young protagonists start to develop feeling for each other (although this is never the focal point of the movie), and the god of boars attacks the iron town.
Princess Mononoke is a film worth watching simply because it shows a master at work. A dark and mature film, that shows the evil that man can do, but also shows it from a relatively realistic perspective. The animation is top-notch, for its time, and the action scenes are well done. Although I would suggest watching the Japanese version, the English dub is satisfactory also.
P.S. For some reason Epinions is not allowing me to mention the outsiders name.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12