Princess Mononoke, A Classic Masterpiece for the Discerning Film Lover

Estimated read time 3 min read

      Hayao Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke” is truly ground-breaking in its time. At this time, the animation industry is monopolized by the bigger Hollywood companies like Disney and Warner Brothers. The introduction of the anime style of moviemaking is kind of a sweet surprise for moviegoers, especially westerners. The movie is quite realistic in its depiction of rain, fog, and the elements and also makes use of brilliant cinematography, something that is rare in animation.

This Movie Broke Records in Japan

        Not only did it break box office records in Japan but it was also the first animation film to be nominated and win top place in the Japanese Oscars.

The Movie Introduced Studio Ghibli to the World

    The movie is said to be Miyazaki’s International Breakthrough. Breaking Box Office records in Japan, it soon began to be noticed by the western world, prompting Miramax to produce an English version for the western public. Fortunately, there were no changes to the movie except the language.  Hayao Miyazaki expressly forbids any cuts in his work if it was to be shown. The movie was that much of an impression that the choices for making the script more westernized fell between Neil Gayman and Quentin Tarantino, both legends in their own rights. The movie also had an enormous impact on the then-emerging Disney Animator that made Toy Story. An All-Star English voice cast was assembled to put action and drama to the English dubbing.

A Refreshing Take on A “Princess”

      Princess Mononoke destroyed the notion that princesses always need rescuing, and that somehow all princesses should have a loving suitor to make them whole and complete. Not this movie, both female heroine and antagonist portrays the strength of character and a climactic ending with no clear-cut on whos the villain or hero.

There Is No Need for a “Prince Charming”

      Another rule or norm that this movie has torn down is that when there is a princess there should also be a prince doting over them. In the movie, although a deep bond between San and Ashitaka has developed, it portrayed an uncertainty of the future making it more relatable than the happily ever after of the usually animated fantasy movies.

The Influence Has Spread To Video Games

     Ori and the Blind Forest, Child of Light and the most recent installment in the game Legend of Zelda were all heavily influenced by Princess Mononoke in particular and not just Studio Ghibli’s other works. Forest Spirits and wild animals abound in these games. These games are a real treat for those wanting to interact in the fantasy world of Miyazaki’s creations. Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda was just released recently and that was about 20 years after Princess Mononoke.

A Great Film with Excellent Animation

    Although the movies ending may seem unresolved, it is a huge possibility that Miyazaki himself wanted it to be that way. The movie touched heavily on man vs nature theme and should warrant closer and more scrutiny because of the all too valuable lessons embedded in it. This is a movie where the villains are as noble as the heroes, and no one sings to sideswipe your attention from the nitty gritty parts of the movie. This is storytelling at its best.

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