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.