Archive: Princess Mononoke (1997) A Review

Continuing my first ever foray into Studio Ghibli, next I am tackling one of the most famous, and most loved of the studio’s offerings.  I have loved what I have seen so far, so I hope this doesn’t disappoint.

Certificate: PG

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Screenwriter: Hayao Miyazaki, Neil Gaiman (adapted by: English version)

Starring: Yôji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yûko Tanaka

Genre: Anime, Adventure

Runtime: 134 Minutes

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

After being cursed by a demon inhabiting the body of a forest God, Ashitaka must leave his community to try and find a cure.  When he arrives at a distant town he finds he has arrived in the middle of a war between a prosperous mining colony lead by the enigmatic Lady Eboshi, and the Gods of the nearby forest who want revenge for her cutting down the forest to build her colony.  He also meets San, a young girl, raised by the wolf gods, who reluctantly agrees to help him end the war.

This might be my favourite of the Ghibli films that I have seen to date.  It has a great and important story to tell, even now over twenty years later, when humans are still chopping down more trees than we can EVER hope to replace.  Maybe if giant Wolves, Apes and Boars came out of the real forests it would give us reason to rethink our actions no?  But this film tells the story in a really engaging fashion, there is never a dull moment and I enjoyed every minute of this action-packed plot.

There are a lot of characters in here that I feel are made to be unlikeable.  Jigo for sure, when we meet him at the beginning, he seems harmless enough, but it is only later on we see how greedy and ruthless he can be.  The same with Lady Eboshi.  Although those who live under her care, especially the woman all idolise her, and even at the end of the film are relieved and overjoyed at her return to the now destroyed mining colony, she is very much displayed as the villain of the piece, and this alone makes her a very interesting and complex character for a movie that in a way was written and produced for children.  It is always nice to watch a kid’s film that doesn’t talk to children like they are idiots, and trust that they can understand complex storylines and character motivations.

That said, I wouldn’t say that this is a film for very young children.  There is a lot of dark and sometimes frightening visuals that might be too overwhelming for smaller children and there can be quite a bit of blood and violence at times so just beware before you let your young ones go mad on Netflix, clicking on something that looks innocent and cartoony.  But for older kids this film is beautifully animated and tells a great and impactful story.  This is one they really shouldn’t miss out on.

Princess Mononoke, along with all the other films from Studio Ghibli are available to stream on Netflix UK now!

1 Comment

  1. A close friend introduced this to me as my first ever Ghibi movie and I’ve been hankering for one of their works ever since! Great film!


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