Movie Review: Ponyo

Hello dear readers and watchers, welcome back to my third review of a Studio Ghibli movie.

I started this journey a few weeks back with my review of Spirited Away, and continued last week with My Neighbor Totoro.

I plan on reviewing a new Studio Ghibli movie every week until I no longer enjoy it, so if you have a favourite movie of theirs you want me to watch and review, let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message on social media.

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Title: Ponyo
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★☆☆

During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives her the name Ponyo. Ponyo longs to become human, and as her friendship with Sosuke grows, she becomes more humanlike. Ponyo’s father brings her back to their ocean kingdom, but so strong is Ponyo’s wish to live on the surface that she breaks free, and in the process, spills a collection of magical elixirs that endanger Sosuke’s village.


Lowering My Standards

I think I started this journey incorrectly. I started with what is often considered the best Ghibli movie; Spirited Away, and then started going down the list.

Spirited Away blew me away, and I haven’t been quite impressed since. I’m not saying Ponyo is bad, I just don’t think it was a movie I would want to watch again.

Others might think this is one of the greatest movies ever made, but the story didn’t do it for me. I was often guessing what would happen before they happened and coming up with better plot points.

Ghibli movies go for very simple stories, so it’s not hard to follow along. They also seem to mainly be focused on coming of age stories for young children, or at least the ones I have seen are.

This can be nice because they’re simple to follow along with, and they are fun the whole family can enjoy, but I guess sometimes they are a bit too simple for me.


Lost in Translation

I’ve read online that Ghibli movies can be watched in its natural Japanese or in your native language and enjoyed to the same extent.

I appreciated that when I watched Spirited Away and My Neighbor, because I was able to multi-task while I was watching the movies.

This didn’t seem to be the case so much with Ponyo. It just seemed like the English language wasn’t as playful and fun as the Japanese language is, or at least it is in my experience.

Also, I haven’t looked it up to confirm it, but I am pretty sure Liam Neeson was in this movie and that kind of threw me off. Maybe I am paranoid, but it felt weird to have a man who has killed hundreds of people in other movies play a cartoon character.


Beautiful Artwork

Though I found the story a bit lacking, I loved looking at the artwork. If Ghibli did nothing right, they definitely know how to match their visuals with the story.

It’s almost as if the story is written around the artwork, not the other way around.

Ponyo was colorful, playful, and happy, which is how most would probably describe the movie.


Final Thoughts

I didn’t dislike Ponyo at all, I just found it a bit predictable and boring. If I had watched it when I was a kid, maybe I would think differently, but as a mid-twenties adult, it was too childish for me.


What did you think of Ponyo, and what Ghibli movie should I watch next? Let me know in the comments!
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Movie Review: Rise of Skywalker

Hello my dear readers. Since I was lucky enough to go see the new, worldwide sensation that is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker last night, I thought I would give you a review of it this morning.

Obviously, as it is just released in theaters, there is a SPOILER WARNING in effect!

If you don’t want to read spoilers about what happens in the movie, leave now. You continue reading at your own risk.


Going into Episode 9 of the Skywalker Saga, I didn’t have high hopes for the ending. Episode 1, 2 and 3 were good for story purposes, but not very good movies. Episode 4, 5 and 6 were good overall. Episode 7 was good, but just a rehash of 4…and 8 was just pointless in my opinion.

I had lost hope in the Star Wars world. There were so many things that just went wrong through all the movies that I didn’t really care any more.

Honestly, I think my biggest problem with the Star Wars world was the Jedi…but that’s a story for another day.


I was pleasantly surprised by Episode 9 though, and I have to say I enjoyed it thoroughly.

We know some time has passed since Episode 8, and Rey has grown stronger in the force. She is being trained by Leia, who finally has a reason for her Force Powers.

The Resistance is fighting the First Order, who has just received a message from the thought long-dead Emperor Palpatine.

We all know what needs to happen, we just don’t know how they are going to happen yet.


Well, some things might come as a surprise, while others might not.

I remember turning to my brother a few times during the movie pointing out different turn of events, and I can say that about half of them were right, while half of them were things that would have been a lot cooler than what the movie did.

For the focus of this review though, I want to talk about three different moments that made the movie good, before giving you a few issues I had with it.

The three topics are:
1. Kylo
2. Jedi
3. Po


Kylo has been the best part of the new trilogy. He is constantly at war with himself, battling between the Light side and the Dark side of the force.

Well he finally comes back to the light, and in that change of his internal feelings, he finally overcomes Darth Vader, the man he strived to be on the Dark Side of the Force.

He turns on the Emperor and the Final Order, helping Rey defeat him, before bringing her back to life.

Kylo wanted nothing more than to be the next Darth Vader. A true beacon of evil. Darth Vader couldn’t bring back his loved one from Death, which was a major catalyst to his turn to the Dark side. Kylo, in his pure act of selflessness, gives his life for Rey, bringing back his love from Death, something Vader could never do.

I like to think this is an irony in the Force. The act of bringing someone back from the dead is a selfish act, bringing them back to live beside you. It is a very Dark side desire, but it is only in the selfless act of the Light side, giving your life for another, that can truly bring them back.


For the Jedi as a whole, I disagree with what a lot of them believe in. You’re not supposed to have attachments, or feelings, or possessions. There is sense in their beliefs, but their beliefs are unreasonable.

The Sith belief in anger and hatred takes an opposite viewpoint, but theirs is also wrong.

What’s nice is that we get Rey’s way of the Force, and of being a Jedi. She hates herself for using the Dark side, but doesn’t follow the beliefs of the Light side.

She seems to find a sense of balance between the two, with more of a focus towards the Light if anything.

Plenty of people want the Grey Jedi to be real, and Rey would be a candidate if there was ever one.

She isn’t raised under the normal conventions of Jedi, and it is because of that, that I enjoy her beliefs so much. She’s not held to their strict rules, and the Jedi she experiences during the movie don’t force her either.

They understand what has happened, they understand what things have become, and they guide her to the path she needs to go.


Finally Po. I hated Po until this movie. He was arrogant, selfish, and not a very smart commander in the Resistance. In any normal army, he would not be given much responsibility, but he is acting General when Leia dies halfway through the movie.

He finally understands his what it takes to win, to survive, and to lead. I wouldn’t say he makes or breaks the movie, but he is a nice added touch. It’s nice seeing his growth as a character, and his self doubt.


If I had to pick something wrong with this movie, it would be the plot holes. None of them are major. A few character’s lineages come to question, a few Force powers we never learned of before, and a dash of relationship statuses that we are confused about.

Other than that, it’s rather enjoyable. We are left wanting to know more about Rey’s parentage.

We know she is a Palpatine, we just don’t know who her grandmother is…because bless whatever woman would want to parent a child with the Emperor.


A few last notes.

The Emperor’s return was something I was not excited about at first, but the movie does it so brilliantly that it doesn’t feel out of place at all.

I would give the movie an 8 out of 10 overall.

Assuming it is the end. I want this saga to be over with. I want no mention of these people ever again. I don’t want to hear Skywalker, or Emperor, or Resistance ever again.

I don’t want future stories to follow the same story that we’ve heard since the first movie. All 12 movies have focused on this time period, and I don’t want any more of it.

There’s dozens of old-canon books to follow, stories to tell, and movies to make, and I hope we get to explore the greater Star Wars world. Maybe we get a movie trilogy about the start of the Jedi, or about a Jedi hundreds of years after Rey (possibly) restarted the order.


Overall it is a good movie, and I definitely recommend seeing it if you have any interest in the Star Wars storyline at all.

It is a nice end to the story, and wraps things up rather well.