On my second viewing of Ponyo last weekend, I was with a small group of parents and children of various ages. They loved every moment, of course. Their favorite moment was a bit of a surprise to me. It's this moment, when Ponyo and Sosuke wake up to the flood at their front door, stick their heads under the water, and see the large prehistoric fish. That scrolling shot of the dinosaur fish earned Ooh's and Aah's from everyone.
I was very pleasantly surprised by that. I would have expected the spectacular tsunami sequence to get the biggest applause. Yet here is a quiet, meditative moment, a moment where nothing of any consequence happens. We dip our heads underwater, and we take in the sights of a strange, alien world. This moment - and its reaction - give me hope for the future. This proves that these children have not been completely corrupted by endless waves of Hollywood explosions and Disney Channel Barbie Doll pop stars. Awe and Wonder still hold power. Humanity may not be finished quite yet.