Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Princess Mononoko

Princess Mononoko – Hiayao Mayazaki – I was pretty tired when I watched this, so feel like my review will short-change the detail of the film – which was, in expected Studio Ghibli fashion, exuberantly imaginative. At the film’s core – behind the battles, beasts, and oddly Tolkien-like vibes, is a meditation on nature and mankind…the wrestling and not uncomplicated relationship twixt the two. The ‘spirits of the forest’ are memorably iconic creations from the Ghibli universe: like small lunar dolls, ticking their bulbous eyed blank faces, somewhere between Moomins and haunted milk bottles. Elsewhere there is the eponymous ‘Mononoko’ who is an agile wolf riding warrior, packs of wild and giant boar and the amorphous and translucent spirit that stalks the forest, morphing between a deer and a ghostly enormity. The narrative begins with Ashitaka defending a village from a giant boar who has been possessed by a demon, the demon is vividly depicted as a writhing mass of carmine strands – like warring red maggots throbbing and burrowing, the film does not hold back on its blood erupting evil. Having saved the village and killed the possessed boar, Ashitaka is subsequently scarred with the mark of ‘hate and rage’ leaving purple prints blotched across his arm. As a result he embarks on a journey to see whether or not the life and soul destroying curse can be lifted. Spectacular images of strange creatures are definitely the best thing going in this film…the translated Americanisms in the stunted dialogue – complete with the anime disregard for lip-syncing gets a tad annoying at times. 7/10

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