Shortened from its literal translation of Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea, Ponyo is the latest animated delight from Studio Ghibli and legendary Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. Centred around a little fish girl called Ponyo, she dreams of becoming a human, and after meeting a young boy called Sosuke, develops a great friendship on her quest on her quest for life on dry land.
Entirely hand drawn, Ponyo, even from the early released footage, looks stunning. Over 170,000 image were drawn in the film’s creation, making light of modern digital colouration and animation techniques, and a hark back to a classic era while Hollywood forges on with embarrassments in 3D.
After a its release last year in its native Japan, Ponyo became the widest ever released domestic film, opening on 481 screens, and ended 2008 as the highest grossing picture of the year. And international expectations are equally high.
With main international rights bought by Disney, you can feel their influence on the new English voicecast. Surnames Cyrus and Jonas sit above the two lead characters, but rather than their more famous siblings, it is Miley Cyrus’ younger sister Noah, and the Jonas Brothers’ younger brother Frankie voicing Ponyo and Sosuke. Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Liam Neeson and Cate Blanchett compete an A-List ensemble so expect Ponyo to make up for the disappointment of Studio Ghibli’s last release Tales From Earthsea.
Ponyo is out in America on August 14th.