Ponyo - Rotten Tomatoes Scores a 95%

Ponyo is currently scoring a very impressive 95% on the Tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes. The AP's Christy Lemire remains the only holdout; we won't hold that against her, as everyone has the right to their opinions. All other critics have put Ponyo into the "fresh" column.

There will be scores more reviews tomorrow when all the daily newspapers have their say. I'll be shocked if there are more than a couple "rotten" reviews in the whole bunch. Ponyo should emerge as one of the year's favorites among movie critics.

Needless to say, Hayao Miyazaki's latest movie is a must-see, but we already knew that. This is just extra news for you to pull in reluctant friends and family members.


Anonymous said...

"If you consider Teletubbies to be a work of creative genius then, yeah, okay, Ponyo is great, too."

Wow this guy is an asshole

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Who wrote that?

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Ah, yes, I see now. NGO's review, which was definitely a mess; it almost sounded like a hipster backlash against Miyazaki. If Ponyo becomes a popular hit, expect such a backlash to grow among that crowd.

Miyazaki's career is vast, and everyone should know that Ponyo is a children's film in the vein of My Neighbor Totoro. If you're expecting one of his more serious works like Nausicaa, well....where were these hipsters when Howl's Moving Castle was playing in theatres?

Weigy said...

I'm glad this movie received an almost universal love for it. The imagery is very pure and I was afraid the modern crowd would have dismissed it as it wasn't in-your-face about the new things it held in store.

I loved it for the uncompromising drive Miyazaki show in this. I remember reading that Miyazaki doesn't worry whether there is an audience for his craft or not, he will just keep making movies the way he wants to until there isn't anyone who'll be an audience of his.

I think with Ponyo, he has seriously cast aside what is perceived as the modern crowd's needs and expectations of what a movie would have to sell... I love Ponyo.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

@Weigy Yours is the best review I've read so far. Great work!

Chris said...

Wow! The UGO review is so bitter and angry! It's kind of hilarious.

This man really watched the wrong movie. (Which is always my criticism of "popular" critics: Every single human, no matter how educated and erudite and wise, is a victim of their own interests and experiences. Subjectivity is an illusion.)

Anyway, let me have some fun quoting this:

"Ponyo, is a stinking piece of rotten raw fish."

"Ponyo is something that should only appeal to newly-verbal children, people on mescaline or critics afraid to point out that the Emperor is wearing no clothes."

"Sure, I am being a little flip, but this is because I am free from the cult that thinks Hayao Miyazaki is the Messiah walking among us."

"I liked Spirited Away enough, but previous good work does not give a filmmaker to make garbage and expect people to call it gold."

"For every adult who is genuinely touched by this movie, there will be ten shysters behind him."

Wow . . . there's just so much anger there. It's fascinating.

Chris said...

One thing I'd like to say that both the UGO review and the AP review have in common is this:


Also: the mother (voiced by Tina Fey) should have Children’s Services on her ass. What responsible woman says, “I know you are only five, but I need to leave you alone in this giant house during this treacherous storm to take care of yourself and your fish girlfriend”?


Mom feels compelled to leave her son and the fish-girl home alone while she battles rain, winds and flooded roads to get back to the senior center where she works: "You're only 5 but you're very smart," she tells Sosuke. Could she be the most neglectful mother ever?

Independently, both reviewers mentioned this, the same criticism. Odd, when I watched the movie I never, ever for the briefest of moments even imagined to think what they said. I'm curious if this response of theirs is brewed from that cauldron of American reaction from people brought to believe that Dr. Phil and Oprah and quick psychological fixes in women's magazines are the correct ways to live our lives.

(These critics complain that the mother is neglectful, yet this in the same story as a magical fish-like creature from the sea turning into a human and a mythical flood that covers a whole town!)

Their thinking is the same thinking that forced all of us Americans growing up on Saturday morning cartoons to have a simplistic "Knowing is Half the Battle" kind of lesson in every show we watched. There's that same American belief that all children's programming needs to clearly morally educate. Why can't children purely enjoy and foster only creativity and imagination? Why do they always have to be instructed in the values of American culture? (Which, I might add, sometimes are quite different from the values of other cultures.) I learned on Growing Pains quite clearly that I should never lie. Great! I learned on Full House that stealing is very wrong. Wonderful! G.I. Joe taught me not to play with exposed electrical cords. That saved my life a few times, let me tell you!

God forbid that Miyazaki's young heroes become responsible for their own fates and take control of their own lives and overcome great difficulties by relying on their own love and friendship.

I wish more American creators of children's programming could follow the amazing and brilliant example of Fraggle Rock, where lessons were ambiguous and multi-layered. There were no episodes that told you: "You shouldn't steal" and then finished, credits roll. No, there were episodes that showed that stealing is a reaction to needs and wants and that this reaction resides in us all. Stealing has various repercussions that reverberate out from us like waves from a stone in a lake upsetting more than we could ever bargain for at the first act of theft. Instead of the Christian Ten Commandments way of instructing America's children, I'd love to start seeing a three dimensional understanding of the problems of the world. I truly believe this partly plays into many Americans' reaction to the horrors of September 11th by killing hundreds of civilians indiscriminately in Afghanistan and Iraq to "protect American lives".

Perhaps, ultimately, this is Miyazaki's greatest gift to the American audience.

Anonymous said...

UGO's Jordan Hoffman is clearly someone who spends a great deal of time playing with his Tinky Winky.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Ahem. We can do better than that.

It's never the end of the world if you find someone with a contrary opinion. Indeed, if we all got along all the time, life would be boring. And everybody here would have one less thing to talk about.

I see that someone mentioned GI Joe's "knowing is half the battle." Hah hah...I'd actually go see the GI Joe movie if there was an actual homage to those preachy moral lessons.

The online parodies, of course, are priceless. Pork chop sandwiches! Help, I'm a computer!

Geoff N said...

I think Jordan Hoffman would fit in nicely with the folks at those Town Hall meetings.

Anonymous said...

"Ahem. We can do better than that."

Of course but Jordan Hoffman is unworthy of better. He set out with the intention of doing a hatchet job on Ponyo and deserves nothing but contempt. Now that you've seen the film perhaps you'll agree?

Weigy said...

Hey! Hahah, I'm glad someone enjoyed my vague review. I'm planning to watch it again with a notepad and jot down all the things I've caught and maybe have yet to catch out of the film.

For those interested in reading my humble opinion of it, here is the link

Those angry reviews are just hilarious... and best ignored.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

@floatingtanuki: Hah hah hah. I hear ya. That review didn't feel like honest criticism, but a Comic Book Guy rant. But in a week, it will be forgotten, and we will still be here. I think it's better to let these sort of things go.

My "outrage" is reserved for the really big targets. Global warming, wars, the Iran regime, yadda yadda. I'm trying my best to become less of a '90s grunge crank, and more of an aspiring optimist.

@weigy: Great to see you back again! Don't forget to leave comments on this week's Ponyo posts, including my own "20 Observations" post.

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