Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ponyo

Towards the beginning of this decade I saw a movie called Monsters, Inc. What the hell, just another animated movie, were the thoughts that were going through my mind as the movie started.

It took me a couple of hours to become a Pixar addict. I made it a priority henceforth to watch all Pixar movies (whether full-length or short), and scorn at any non-Pixar animated movie. So when a friend had suggested a Japanese one to me, I was sceptic. I had never heard of Studio Ghibli or Hayao Miazaki, and neither did I have an idea about Japanese animation (with the, well, somewhat non-trivial exception of Hentai).

In a nutshell, I was somewhat sceptic when I started watching Gake no ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, or simply Ponyo, as many websites prefer to call it). My scepticism increased the moment I realised that it was a two-dimensional movie (What? They still make them, the 2Ds?). I had started to wonder whether I'd be able to sit through it.

Well, sit through it did, and how! Who are you, Miyazaki? Did you happen to meet my parents? If not, how did you unearth Sosuke right from my childhood, mate? I mean, I didn't live by a cliff or was a frequenter to a sea or anything, and neither did I stack up goldfish in cute-looking green buckets in my backyard, but, well, my inner self knows what I mean. As I trudge wearily the along the harshness of reality one associates with the age of 32, I crave for that Sosuke somewhere deep inside me, the Sosuke that used to be me, the Sosuke whose dreams are always in the brightest of colours, the Sosuke who could love his Ponyo enough to modify her into a human, the Sosuke who is so vividly pure that you'd almost shriek in agony for not being that innocent. Where did you find that Sosuke?

And Ponyo? How can someone not fall in love with Ponyo? Isn't she the quintessential princess, blatantly ignoring the brazen ruthlessness of the world to weave world of dreams that no one is capable of? And why does she seem oddly familiar? She isn't an Aurora or a Cinderella, or even a Snow-White, and despite her maritime connections, she isn't even an Ariel. And yet, since the earth was created, since time was created, we, Sosuke and Ponyo, had joined hands to counter monotony with gaiety, dullness with colour, brutality with dreams, contamination with innocence, and we've won every time. We were there, we shall be there; we had basked in our victories over adulthood; we had refused to grow up and pollute our souls; we had denied the world access to our insides; we had loved each other like none before; we had been nobodies and yet had the world at our feet.

Their world, like their everything, is full of dreams we dream of. If Pixar is about technique, then Ghibli is about an incredible variety of colours and shapes. It's impossible to believe that sheer imagination and refusal to grow up can take animation to such high standards in the 21st century. The quality of animation is so good that you forget that it's two-dimensional. Never have emotions been so real and world so surreal with techniques that most studios would label as outdated.

Definitely a watch recommended, if you haven't killed the five-year old that you once used to be. You might even hate yourself for having grown up. I do.

3 comments:

  1. "Ponyo loves Sosuke! I will be a human, too!"

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  2. i wish the five year old within u stays hale and hearty for years to come 'coz that is what keeps us going in these hard times nowadays.

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  3. Right. Now on my to-watch list. With Vi.
    (By the way, started with Blankets today. I think you might like it too)

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