Ghibli's Ponyo Website Updated

If you pay a visit to Studio Ghibli's official site for Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea, you'll find a number of fine surprises. True, it's harder if you don't know Japanese, which means reading is out. But if you click on the left-hand links to the main sections, you'll find the press section. It's actually the third link, with a series of sub-links below.

This is a great addition to the Ponyo site, because it includes many new screenshots from the movie. These are some really spectacular shots; that Miyazaki genius shines through yet again. Perhaps it's better if we can't read the text; it's best to avoid spoiling any surprises, and this way we can just admire the great skill of the Ghibli artists. I can't believe we have to wait until next summer to see this movie. I feel like a kid sitting on Santa's lap.

I just happened to visit the Ponyo site after reading Michael Sporn's weekend rants against the state of contemporary animation. He fears that classical animation - the kind that inspired him to create and inspires him today - has been lost to the CGI boom that has swallowed up most major Hollywood pictures. It's true that so many of these blockbuster movies rely so heavily on computer animation that they only barely qualify as "live-action." It's true that a creeping sameness has pervaded most CGI. There's a cold mechanic feel to so much of it, like everything's been designed for consumption as videogames.

Art, true artistic talent, remains in low supply. If it weren't for Pixar, I don't know where America would be with animation. Michael Sporn disagrees with me on Wall-E (I loved it, he didn't), but I think he's spot on with his fears and creeping "old man rants." Heck, I do that enough myself. But hasn't it always been that way? The old saying, "90% of everything is crud?" We remember The Beatles, and forget the countless copycats and wannabees. Heck, I remember one of my favorite '90s catchphrases, "Nirvana-wannabees."

So my prescription to everyone who's worried about the great cartoons and animated features of their youth, the kind of magical illusion that captured their hearts, go over and pay a visit to Ponyo. I think you'll find your mood and imagination improving quickly. This movie is going to be great. Really, really great.


Brian said...

Thanks for all the cool links.

I found that when I went to: if you click on the second button down on the flash movie menu on left there are bigger images to look at then the press section.

The button BTW has a tiny square a flashing images on it.

Cory Gross said...

To answer the rhetorical question, I actually think animation in North America would be in a better place without Pixar.

There is a deadening sameness to all of Pixar's films... the "Toy Story" formula of hip, pop-culture referenced non-human things that are funny because they're just like us. Toy Story, Fish Story, Bug Story, Monster Story, Superhero Story, Automobile Story... Just compare the non-diversity of Pixar's 9 films thus far with Disney's first 9 films or Ghibli's first 9 films.

So you have Pixar, which can't think outside of their commercially-viable formula, and then you heap on top of that how every other studio wants to switch to CGI and try to replicate that same formula. Thus CGI animation is reduced to a genre rather than a medium, and it's all stupid animals or things that are hip, pop-culture referenced and funny because they're just like us.

Anonymous said...

Hey great blog! What film/series is the picture at the top of blog page from (the one of the little kid holding her mother's hand)? Thanks

Geoff Nickerson said...

It is from Only Yesterday (Omohide Poro Poro)

Although, if I remember correctly, Daniel prefers the direct translation "Memories of Falling Teardrops"

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