Michael Sporn, everybody's favorite animator of crocodiles and tightrope walkers, shares his thoughts on Ponyo today. A devout supporter of hand-drawn animation, he is often very critical of the CGI that has completely overtaken Hollywood, but he is fair and honest and works hard to defend his traditional animation craft. For artists and animators alike, Ponyo comes as a patron saint for the cause.
I'll let Michael take over from here:
I’ve already stated that I think this is the Best Picture of 2009 - to date. Nothing else has stirred my imagination, my sense of hope or my belief in the medium as this film has.
There were no lackluster set pieces in the way of most Western animation. The story was built from the respect for the human spirit and its intermingling with the earth and sea around it.There were no traditional filmmaking formulas; this film created its own rules. We’re in the hands of a master who knows all the rules and knows when and how to break them.There was no irony, cynicism or sarcasm in the way of telling the story (as we find in most of the other children’s films these days.) Ponyo is glorious, life affirming, a real treat as a moviegoing experience. Before the film was over, I was making plans to see it again.
I’m glad the film was so brilliantly 2D; I’m also glad there was no attempt to add 3D illusions so that I’d have had to gray-down the experience with those wretched glasses. I will see it again before it leaves theaters. The visuals are so dense, this is should be seen on a big screen. The audience attending my screening also loved it.
If you have any interest in animation, you owe it to yourself and the medium to see this film.