16 months ago I put out a review in a “what I watched” post about Princess Mononoke saying it was boring and a waste of time. Now having watched it a few days ago I disagree with that because I really enjoyed the film!
And with that it brings the number of Ghibli films I dislike down to 5, and takes the total I do like up to 6, Ghibli is now in the positives with one extra film being straight neutral. But I watched a lot of those films I disliked a long time ago around the same time I first watched Mononoke so I’ll have to re-visit a lot of the films I didn’t like because I’m sure I’d like a lot of them now.
If you want to know:
Ghibli films I like:
- Princess Mononoke
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Castle In The Sky
- Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea
- Porco Rosso
- Gauche The Cellist
Dislike(d because I’ve not revisited them in ages)
- Spirited Away
- Howl’s Moving Castle
- Grave Of The Fireflies
- Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind
- The Wind Rises
And the one I’m neutral about is “The Ocean Waves”. I think if I were to revisit the top three films I would like them though.
Princess Mononoke has a brilliantly fleshed out world with great backgrounds and a really feel good tone. The only real problems I had with the films environment was how everything feels like it’s within a mile of each other. The sense of distance really isn’t communicated well because it takes a seriously short time to travel “a very long way” and all of the forest gods, who are meant to all own their own individual forests feel like they all live in the same place 5 minutes away from each other. It doesn’t actually take away from the enjoyment of the film but it just makes the gods less impressive.
Basically what happened last time I watched the film was that I zoned out immediately because the film was slow to start. But this time I sort of enjoyed the set up. The creepy monster at the start with the black tentacles surrounding it was cool, creepy and excellent. It was baffling to watch and a really enjoyable scene. It also had great animation adding to it that made it fun to watch. And it’s only really takes a hook like that to draw you into the film completely so that you can take yourself away from the idea that someone made this, and worked very hard on the writing, structure and pacing. It’s much easier to enjoy a film when you’re thinking about the world in the context of the story and themes instead of what was going on in the directors mind.
The idea of humans vs nature was really interesting to me because here nature actually fights back, very well. It’s pretty on the head with “You mess with nature, nature will mess with you worse!” and I think that’s pretty funny.
It’s not that anything has really changed much about the film, just that I was more interested and entertained this time. I didn’t get bored of the plot to play on my phone and I was rewarded with a fun experience. That’s about it really.