Okay, everybody, here is Disney's second trailer for Ponyo's US release on August 14. This trailer is presented in 1080p high definition, and really looks terrific. I watched with the sound off and admired the brilliant fluidity of the animation, the motion of the waters, the movements of the characters, the sight of Ponyo splashing in a bucket. This is really a triumph for the hand-drawn craft of animation.
For Ghibli Freaks, it's the Disney dub that's going to cause the most trouble, and I'm sure this is going to become an issue of controversy for many of us. I know that I am a strickler when it comes to the soundtracks, and always stick with the orginal Japanese language whenever possible; if there are family or children who want to watch, then Spirited Away or Howl or My Neighbor Totoro are the fast picks, because those have the best dubs by far.
I'm trying to be generous on this subject, because, after all, these are the realities of the American moviegoing public. I'd love it if all children and adults in the US were fluent in multiple languages. In truth, it's a miracle just to get them to learn the one.
John Lasseter has always done well with his dubs, and I personally believe Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle were the best American anime dubs ever. And we've all sat through some painful clunkers. Compared to those old Toei dubs (he was a Magic Boyyyyy), or worse, Warriors of the Wind. Ponyo will be very pleasant indeed.
That said, I do have a couple complaints that I have to get off my chest. The voice actors all talk in the "Disney Voice." That's the syrupy and slightly patronizing tone you get on all the Disney products. It's like watching a parent talk down to a child they think is stupid, speaking slowly and with those chirpy notes in their voice. What's the deal with this? I never hear anybody in the real world talk like this.
This sort of thing always gets on my nerves, and having to sit through another generation of packaged, manufactured Disney Channel pop stars is going to be a pain. What's this I'm hearing about not wearing the purity rings?! Why is Billy Ray Cyrus still tormenting me?! I had to put up with his hideous shit music back in 1991, what gives him the right to hurl his kids at me? Ugh! You just know they're going to wind up in rehab one day, like all the other child stars who are ran through the Hollywood sausage factory. And Jonas Brothers suck!!
I am hoping that Ponyo will sound good in English. I'm always hoping for the best, and I'm wise enough to know that I'm not the target audience for this. It's the average American family that's being targeted. If they turn out and make Miyazaki's latest movie a hit, that's great. Just as long as the original story isn't sacrificed in the process - that's my only concern. And I'll reserve judgement until August 14, wishing for the best. We need more Ghibli Freaks.
Oh, and I really hate the way Hollywood trailers give away the entire movie. There really is this expectation that the average American is stupid. Fast cuts, loud sounds, SNAP SNAP SNAP SNAP!!! Hell, the whole corporate media enterprise works on that notion. It's how we end up with Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Fox News. Paddy Cheyefski was right, folks.