Wii Music - Chariots of Fire

There's no real reason why I'm posting this on the Ghibli Blog.  I just wanted to show off all my cool songs from Wii Music.  If you're the creative type at all, then Wii Music is the best thing that ever happened to you.

This is my favorite song so far, although I have a few others that are fab. The amount of freedom given to you in this music game is just staggering. It was roundly beaten senseless by critics for its looks, but don't let that distract you. Wii Music is revolutionary. Enjoy!

Australian Ponyo Blu-Ray Cancelled

The following message comes from Madman in Australia:

Please note that due to circumstances beyond our control the PONYO BLU-RAY scheduled for December 29th is canceled.  Furthermore, the PONYO DVD is now a single-disc DVD product and remains scheduled for release December 29th.  We thank you for your ongoing custom and apologise for any inconvenience these changes cause.

One common theory why the North American Ponyo BD was delayed was to give an exclusive window to Japan.  Region-free players and discs make the home markets more vulnerable to imports than ever, and when you consider the high retail prices for Blr-Rays, this makes sense.  If this is so, I would expect to see Ponyo in Australia about the same time as the Americans.

In any event, this is a very hard blow for fans.  Whatever the reasons, everyone had their heart set on Ponyo for Christmas.  That's a real shame.  Somebody in the corporate food chain seriously FUBAR'd.


The Hidden Dimension

I saw this final paragraph from Roger Ebert's review of Fantastic Mr. Fox, and I thought it perfectly aligned with my thoughts on Hayao Miyazaki's films like Ponyo.  This is a paragraph that should be framed and hung in the wall of writers and storytellers everywhere:

Like the hero of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," also based on one of his books, the creatures of Dahl's valley seem to know more than they're letting on; perhaps even secrets we don't much want to know. Children, especially, will find things they don't understand, and things that scare them. Excellent. A good story for children should suggest a hidden dimension, and that dimension of course is the lifetime still ahead of them. Six is a little early for a movie to suggest to kids that the case is closed. Oh, what if the kids start crying about words they don't know? -- Mommy, Mommy! What's creme brulee?" Show them, for goodness sake. They'll thank you for it. Take my word on this.

The Hidden Dimension.  I think that's a key factor in great storytelling.  It's kind of like Super Mario Brothers, with coin boxes buried in the walls and hidden pipes just off the screen.  Not everything needs to be shown or explained away.  The mystery itself is sufficient.  I think this was a point of contention for many Western viewers where Ponyo was concerned, but I think it's a great movie because of it.

Photos - The Spiriting Away of Sen and Chihiro

Since I'm waiting for the family car to pick me up, I decided I should get off my duff and share some hi-res photos from Spirited Away.  If you're looking for a great Thanksgiving movie to share with the family today, you can't do better than this one.

As always, click on the photos to see them in the full size.  They're fairly large as they are hi-res, so please be patient if your internet connection is being a pain today.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  Hope your Turkey Day goes well and the relatives are manageable.  This might be a good time to spring your Ghibli DVDs on those cousins and nephews.


Short Program Note

A short program note for everyone: registration is now required for leaving comments.  OpenID is available in addition to Blogger.  Fortunately, all of our regulars are registered, so this shouldn't mean changes for anyone.

This is my latest salvo in the battle against spam-bots, and hopefully it will keep them out.  They really are termites who are travelling salesmen.


3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (Marco) Fansub Now Available!

Excellent news, everybody!  3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, aka Marco, is now available for download.  Yes, English subtitles are included!  Just head down to the Download section and begin downloading.

The 1976 World Masterpiece Theater series is an anime masterpiece.  The brainchild of Isao Takahata (director), Hayao Miyazaki (layout, continuity), and Yoichi Kotabe (character design), Marco is the second of three classic television series of the 1970s, both directed by Takahata-san - 1974's Heidi, Girl of the Alps; 1979's Anne of Green Gables.

This middle series is the most complex, and most emotional of the three.  Heidi paired exuberant energy with high melodrama; Marco scuttles the niceties and goes straight for the heart.  I think 3000 Leagues is the richer experience; the tragedy of Marco's suffering, and his endless search, becomes an archetype for man's search for meaning.  It achieves an epic grandeur.  At its heart, this is a deeply Jewish story.  You almost expect God to appear at the end and deliver his speech from the Book of Job.

Once again, Neo1024 delivers the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  One request: could you break up the torrent into smaller downloads?  14GB is probably going to be too much for many people.  Smaller file sizes would enable faster downloads and help make sharing easier.

Again, my deepest thanks.


Night of the Living Spam-Bots

I've been getting hit with a lot of Spam-Bots in the comments for this blog recently.  Thank goodness I am able to screen them out, but it's becoming a bit of a pain.  Does this mean we're becoming more popular?  I think we'd all agree that we would much rather have real visitors than zombies.


For Your Consideration

If you visit Cartoon Brew this morning, you'll see Disney's banner ads at the top of the page.  These are "For Your Consideration" ads for the upcoming Oscar awards season.  Ponyo is pitched as a potential nominee for Best Animated Feature, while Pixar's Up is pitched for Best Animated Feature and Best Picture.  Very interesting.

I can't say that I'm surprised that Up is getting the Best Picture push.  It is the studio's big movie of the year.  And the expansion to 10 Best Picture slots will make it easier than ever for Pixar to be given a place at the table.  Up's first 20 minutes pushes a lot of buttons and won over all the major critics.  And I'm sure a few folks still feel that Wall-E was unjustly snubbed.

However, I'm going to continue to insist that Ponyo is the animation movie that deserves a Best Picture nod.  It's the far better film of the two, wiser, smarter, quieter.  Hayao Miyazaki is arguably the world's greatest living film director (I'd gladly hand the title to Paku-san, if only he'd get back to work!), and Ponyo is the work of a master artist at the peak of his powers.

Pixar's Up, beloved at it is, remains a deeply uneven movie to me.  The marriage sequence is brilliant, wonderful, and frankly, overshadows the rest of the picture.  Most of the movie is just rehashing loud Star Wars chase practically every other summer blockbuster these days.  I could care less about the talking dogs and the endless action scenes and the impossibly old Kirk Douglas who's chasing some silly bird.  I cared about the marriage.  That first 20 minutes should have been the entire picture, and it could have been a masterpiece.

Of course, I wouldn't expect Disney to promote a foreign movie (Ghibli) over one of their own, so I can't blame them for giving the extra push to Pixar's latest.  I'd do the same in their shoes.  Instead, I believe it is the imperative of every one of us, Ghibli Freaks within and without the movie business, to promote Ponyo for a Best Picture nomination.

How much does a banner ad at Cartoon Brew cost?  Why not pool some money together and buy a front page ad for Ponyo?  For Your Consideration - Best Picture!

Let's see what we can do to make a difference.  We won't know unless we try...right?

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