The Hunger Games return with such a sequel twist that you can't believe writer Suzanne Collins didn't think of film when writing. Catching Fire builds up with all types of subversive messaging which is interesting but also brings into relief the limitations of the genre and film.
Also known as "Ponyo On the Cliff By The Sea," the film is a retelling of "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen. In the film, Ponyo is a goldfish who lives in an undersea tank with her siblings. Her father, Fujimoto, is a human who travels the sea in a submarine. At the beginning of the film Ponyo sneaks away from her father's submarine to see more of the world. She comes across a five-year-old boy named Sosuke and quickly falls in love with him. Sosuke gives her the name "Ponyo."
Sosuke and Ponyo are soon separated, with Ponyo being returned to the sea and to her father. Fujimoto warns Ponyo of humans, but Ponyo declares her love for Sosuke and her desire to be human. Magically, Ponyo starts to grow humans limbs and Fujimoto has to use magic to turn her back into a fish. Fujimoto leaves to find Ponyo's mother, and while he is gone Ponyo unleashes a huge amount of magic, causing a great storm. Ponyo continues to become human and she runs on great waves to find Sosuke.
Sosuke and Ponyo are reunited. However Ponyo's mother, the Goddess of Mercy, finds Ponyo and Sosuke. She makes a deal with them that if Sosuke can pass a test she will allow Ponyo to remain human.
Sosuke & Ponyo
Sosuke and Ponyo have an adventure throughout Sosuke's town, which is flooded by sea water. By the end of the film Sosuke tells Ponyo's mother of his love for Ponyo, whether she is a fish or a human. Sosuke passes the test and Ponyo is allow to stay as a human.
About The Film
Ponyo is a simpler film than Miyazaki's previous, most recent efforts. It was obviously made with a very young audience in mind. It lacks the complex morality of Princess Mononoke, and does not have the elaborate animation of films like Howl's Moving Castle or the underlying mythology of Spirited Away. It uses mostly simple designs and broad lines, giving it the feel of a children's picture book.
However this simplicity did nothing to hurt the films marketability. On the contrary, Ponyo is perhaps Miyazaki's most commercially successful film. In Japan, the film earned US$91 million in its first month, a record for a Japanese film. In North America, Ponyo had the widest release of any Miyazaki film, earning over US$3.5 million in its opening weekend.