This review will consist of me asking myself 10 questions and answering them to the best of my ability, but first…
We are playing a game of Six Degrees of Separation where I connect the movie I reviewed this month to any other movie the film society has reviewed. I’m making a connection from Princess Mononoke to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in just 3 Degrees of Separation.
1. Jada Pinkett Smith is the voice of Toki.
2. She appeared in two of the Matrix Trilogy movies as Niobe, along with Keanu Reeves as Neo.
3. Lastly, Keanu Reeves is Theodore Logan, aka Ted- ½ of that Excellent Adventure…
And now my review. (New: see my viewing experience notes here.)
1. What is this film about?
Trying to type out all these names seems like work, so I’m just leaving them out. This story is about a young prince/warrior who defeats a demon and then ends up with its curse. He then has to go on a quest to find a cure. In doing so he encounters the source of the demon’s rage and the title of the movie. There is a village near the forest determined to progress the ways of humanity. In other words they are dead set on industry at the cost of the forest. This upsets the many spirit gods of the forest taking such forms as boars, wolves, apes, and a weird blue guy who later turns in to weird elk-like thing.
So the young warrior is stuck trying to figure out a way to keep the humans from destroying the forest and the spirit gods from eating or killing the humans. That’s where Princess Mononoke comes in. She has been adopted by the wolf spirit and hates humans, though she is one. The wolves are her family and the forest is her home, no matter how much the warrior tries to appeal to her humanity.
Needless to say, there is lots of bloodshed and no one really wins. Many spirit gods die and there is a sense of rebirth, but I don’t completely understand it all.
2. What did I think of the title, poster, and or trailer?
I couldn’t find a trailer, but I didn’t spend more than a few minutes looking for one. As for the poster, I love the Japanese poster, while the Disney (I’ll visit this in a bit) poster is only okay. I feel like maybe something has been lost in translation, but I say more about this later. The title seems lacking and slightly misleading. I was expecting more from Princess Mononoke and felt as if the warrior was snubbed.
3. What did I think of the main character(s) and how the actors performed them?
So here’s a bit of backstory, most for myself, but also for anyone else who may not know about this film. I, of course, discovered it here, with Mock Squid Soup, when angryparsnip reviewed it.
Originally a traditional Japanese Anime release, Disney obtained the rights through one of their subsidiaries and threw a bunch of many at it to have big name actors read the parts. Little promotion was done and the movie was not well received by American audiences, but it received critical acclaim and is one of the go to anime films for those getting into the genre, like me. The reason I know this last bit is because I did a survey of my geek friends.
I must say that the voice talent is good. They picked the right actors to voice these characters, especially Keith David. As soon as the narration started, his signature voice added intensity to the story.
4. What did I think of the direction and cinematography?
As I understand it, very little was alerted from the original script, but I still feel like there was something missing. It’s difficult to review the direction when I know the film has been dubbed, but I can say that the anime is some of the best I’ve seen, though I haven’t seen much. Here’s a quote from the notes I always take when watching a movie for review (I like to keep a record of thoughts that pop out of mind). “Individual anime characters don’t have a lot of distinguishing features, but all the important characters are still distinguishable.”
5. What did I think of the soundtrack and score?
One reason why I never really got into anime was the fact that the soundtracks always annoyed me. I know it’s part of this style of art, but I don’t like it. I was happy to hear that this was not the typical anime soundtrack. The music didn’t drive me crazy and there was only one short song that I can recall.
6. What did I like about the story as a whole?
I liked how the story was contradictory, but can’t be sure if that was intentional or not. The strongest characters in the story are all women except for the warrior, but the women all follow their leader blindly. Many of the characters want to kill the spirit gods/animals for killing loved one, but they are constantly killing the animals. I think this is supposed to show how humans don’t value non-human lives.
Also, I love the way they depict the demons.
7. What did I not like about the story?
This film was strange, but not unpleasant. There were only a few things that really bothered me. 1. I never completely warmed up to the ghost-doll-like creatures in the forest. 2. There were too many awkward silences- I had flashbacks of the Twilight movie (sorry if that’s one of your faves). 3. Some things just weren’t explained and that irked me. Why was she drinking the blood?
Seriously, if you know the answer to that last question, please tell me.
8. Would I recommend this movie to others?
9. If yes, who? What would I rate this movie?
I would recommend it only if I know the person liked anime or were into varied artistic expressions.
On a scale of 1 to 5 movie reels, I give this film 4 reels.
10. Was there anything in this movie that could be related to me or anything I have written?
I don’t think I’ve written anything like this, but I’d like to. I like to be able to tell a story steeped in history and folklore. I’m working on something to this nature, but it doesn’t involve animals. I should try to write a story with talking animals- I’ve already tried talking plants (somewhat).
Watch, rent, or buy this movie here.
Mock Squid Soup – Film Society
MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to introduce Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society. Each month, on the second Friday, we shall host a bloghop devoted to movie reviews. We invite others to participate and post their reviews…Don’t be shy; come join the fun! 😀
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords