Ponyo Blu-ray Disc - 2010

Despite its charming score and visual flourishes (an opening shot of billowing jellyfish floating through a sunlit sea was superb) this is the most Disneyesque, and hence my least favourite, Miyazaki creation. Unlike the childhood insights of "My Neighbour Totoro" and "Spirited Away" which examined the tiny joys and terrors of growing up in the most wonderfully imaginative ways, Ponyo’s rather flat, and at time confusing, presentation seems content to simply dole out the standard lessons in love, hope and responsibility. The timeless sense of magic we’ve come to expect from Miyazaki is missing here, replaced instead by a cuteness overload which gives the film a Saturday Morning Cartoon feel. Nevertheless, the animation remains impeccable and there are more than a few artful touches whether it be a scene of monstrous waves beneath a starlit sky or a gaggle of old ladies rediscovering their youth in an underwater meadow. Too bland for adults, too baffling for the young ones.

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