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     " If you've never seen a Miyazaki film, and especially if you've never seen anime, this is the film to start with. "

      Title: Princess Mononoke by Studio Ghibli

      Format: Anime DVD Movie

      Reviewing Monkey: Ben F.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Story and Acting: For those in the know, it doesn't get much better that this. The animation in all of Miyazaki's films is truly moving. It can be as or more effective than live action, and is head and shoulders above anything Disney ever pumped out. The characters are intensely humanized through the animation, and while you are really just looking at cartoons, you never fail to accept them as real people. This is truly animation as an art form and not as a gimmick. Of course, it also exploits animation's inherit ability to convey humor. Only in a drawing could decapitation by arrow be not just acceptable, but uproariously funny. 5 out of 5

      Visuals and Directing: The story is a truly moving allegory of industrialization and man's impact on the environment. We follow a boy on a journey to save his own life after a demon poisons him, dooming him to be ostracised from civilized society. I could talk volumes about the story, but it is truly better for you to experience it on your own. The voice acting has some big names, like Minnie Driver, and is excellent without exception. Unlike much anime, where the dubbed version can be almost laughable, the voice-overs are just what you'd expect from Hollywood talent. The performances are just as moving as the rest of the film. 5 out of 5

      Value vs. Price: This movie is one that transcends the value vs. price debate. If you have to think about whether or not it's worth the twenty bucks, you are probably not going to appreciate the film. Or, for the truly poor or tightfisted, rental is always an option. 5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       If you've never seen a Miyazaki film, and especially if you've never seen anime, this is the film to start with. Hearts will be moved, souls will be touched, minds will be challenged, and, yes, tears will be shed. C'mon, tough guy, you know you want to. A truly moving motion picture. All five thumbs up.


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