On DVD and Blu-ray: Ponyo
In the "Introduction to Ponyo" feature on the Ponyo Blu-ray and DVD, producer Kathleen Kennedy explains that every animation cell that filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's creates is a painting worthy of a frame, and that's true. The art of Ponyo is gorgeous, especially any scene (that's to say 90% of them) involving water. Ponyo is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but although it's a Walt Disney picture, it has nothing to do with Ariel, singing, or obese octopi. There is, however, a fascinating(ly bad) theme song at the end of the film that's sung by the film's American voice-over leads, Noah Cyrus and Frankie Jonas, that might be our new go-to whenever we need a laugh. We're talking AutoTune and remixes, people. If you don't believe us, it's on YouTube.
Ponyo wasn't a bad film; it just was, as Miyazaki explains in the "Creating Ponyo" extra, a film specifically for five-year-olds. The two children in the film are five, and some of the plot points might only be understood by someone that young. Anyone too old to get nap-time might want to consider mind-altering drugs before watching, just to make the pink-haired sea wizard Fujimoto or his wife, who sires thousands of magic pink fish, make sense.
Miyazaki and his production crew from Studio Ghibli in Japan are beloved for their films which include My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. The special features on the Ponyo Blu-Ray and DVD won't disappoint their hardcore fans. There are extensive interviews with the cast and crew in "The World Of Ghibli" special feature, as well as detailed information about the score, Miyazaki's animation process, and inspiration for the film's location. Casual fans might be overwhelmed -- if that's the case, we recommend skipping to the "Behind The Microphone" feature where live the interviews with Tina Fey, Liam Neeson and Betty White. There are also three behind-the-scenes looks at Ghibli's other films, and an interactive game that allows you to watch scenes from other films when you unlock certain objects. (Note: If you buy the DVD/Blu-Ray Combo, the special features are only available on the Blu-Ray disc.)
Special features included:
Introduction to Ponyo
The World of Ghibli (includes the following):
Behind the Studio - A Conversation with John Lasseter and Hayao Miyazaki
Ponyo & Fujimoto
Producer's Perspective: Telling The Story
The Locations of Ponyo
Original Japanese Trailers
Behind the Microphone - The Voices of Ponyo
Creating: My Neighbor Totoro
Creating: Kiki's Delivery Service
Castle In The Sky: Character Sketches
Enter The Lands - Interactive game
Buyer, Renter or Coaster?: This one is a renter, but definitely a buyer for fans of the studio's other animated work.
Blu-ray Amazon Price: $24.99
DVD Amazon Price: $17.99