Alright, everyone, here is the sixth and final clip from Miyazaki's latest Studio Ghibli movie, Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea. I hope you have enjoyed watching these as much as I have. My deepest thanks to BVI France for providing those on YouTube, and, of course, Ghibli, for not leaving samurai swords inside my mailbox. :P
Since we are dealing with Miyazaki, the great master of action cinema, it's only fitting that we close out with a great action scene. I don't think there's a filmmaker alive who can move things as fluidly as Hayao Miyazaki. Pay close attention to the lines of movement, to the way actors on the screen flow and move. Pay attention to the role the camera plays in portraying action.
When watching this, I'm also struck by how Chaplin-esque this all is. Ponyo could almost work as a silent movie, without any spoken dialog. Interestingly enough, one of Miyazaki's 2006 short films for the Ghibli Museum was entirely free of speech. Instead, voice actors performed the sound effects, the rushing of water, the flowing of wind. It was a brilliant experiment, one that closely tied animation not only to its roots in the silent film era, but Japan's Manga Eiga roots in the world of manga.
For animators here in America and the West, the key lesson lies in the world of comic books and graphic novels. American animation is built upon very different principles from Japan, but storyboarding, framing, directing - these are crucial elements of action. Animation depends upon movement within and without the picture frame. You must paint with your eye on the whole canvas.
Oh, one more thing? Old people! 2009 must set a record for senior citizens in animation. How's that for good timing? It's high time Hollywood discovered 14-year-old boys aren't the center of the universe.