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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Princess Mononoke
Princess Mononoke
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Review by Chuck Arrington | posted December 24, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
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PRINCESS MONONOKE

Synopsis:

Nature is at war with man. Choosing to strip-mine and deforest thousands of acres of land, man has set wheels in motion that benefit him but place the lives of all those that dwell in the forest in jeopardy. Just as there is an oligarchic hierarchy in the domain of man, there are gods that dwell in the forest, gods, not at all happy with man's contempt for the life giving forests they call home.

Man's intrusion has turned the sacred into the profane and that is where the story of Princess Mononoke truly begins. Ashitaka, a young warrior of a feudal Japanese clan is alerted to the concerns of a tribal elder by a group of children. After sending them onto the village, he climbs the tower to speak with the elder. It is there that he sees the "demon" that is raging through the forest, killing everything it touches. Desperately attempting to save his village, Ashitaka, confronts the demon and single-handedly kills the beast suffering only what appears to be a burn sustained in the battle with the Boar god/demon Nagon.

In counsel with the clan's leaders, it is decided that the wounds sustained in battle will prove to be fatal to Ashitaka. His only hope is to travel to the East in search of the Deer god, in hopes that he will heal his wound and return to him his life. Ashitaka heads east upon his red deer Yaku and encounters a bitter war between the humans led by Lady Eboshi and the gods of the forest. In particular, the Wolf clan headed by its god, Maru. Mononoke is Maru's daughter and leads the fight against the humans.

Mononoke and Ashitaka become inextricably tangled in a battle for not only the forest's survival but that of the Earth as well! Unlikely allies in a war rife with casualties, Mononoke and Ashitaka will find their true redemption in one another, as they square off in a war destined to determine the next stage in Earth's development. Princess Mononoke is an epic adventure that will forever be the benchmark in animated cinema!

Audio/Video:

I love it when a plan comes together! Thanks to all of us at the DVDTalk Forum who signed the petition and to Geoff for providing the platform, we effected a change in the way this disc was finally released. For those who don't know, Disney intended to release this in an English-language only format, as it was released theatrically here last summer. Anime fans all over were up in arms and demanded the inclusion of a 5.1 Japanese language track at the bare minimum. Smarter minds prevailed and the Japanese language track was included and in a blistering 5.1 platform! The audio for the feature is incredible at the very least! The sub is wonderfully employed in provided the dramatic punches found throughout Hisaishi's soaring score! The surrounds are active and do an awesome job as well. The dialogue is rich and full and the surround effects are extremely impressive. The center is perfectly delineated and fits the balance of the film's incredible audio experience. To the "voice" actors' credit, the English language track is not that bad. It's just not anywhere as good as the Japanese language track. The audio is in a word…awesome!

The video much like the audio is pretty darn impressive! The colors are rich and vibrant and the images are stark. As anime titles go, the colors are usually off the scale and incredibly rich. The same can be said for Princess Mononoke. Not having seen the film either theatrically or on video, I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the film's visual content. No pixellation was evident, nor did I see any transfer errors worth mentioning. Truly a beautiful digital rendering.

Extras:

The extras on the disc consist of a 10-minute featurette with interviews from the American voice cast and director. Their insights into Mononoke are neat but add little or nothing to the experience that is Mononoke! Additionally, the film's trailer is presented. The only problem is that the trailer is in English as opposed to Japanese. It's in pretty good shape and does a fairly good job in conveying the overall texture of the movie.

Overall:

Miyazaki's masterpiece has finally been put to disc! Like the Wings of honneamiese, Mononoke is steeped in lore and is an undeniable anime favorite! For those waiting for the film, the wait is finally over and what a treat it is! I'll admit, I got caught up in the whole Mononoke hype after seeing a commercial for it last year. Now after seeing this film I am in awe of the genius of Miyazaki! Truly, this film is an epic. It transcends even the boundless regions of anime and takes on the feel of an actual non-animated movie. Visually, it's unparalleled. It's storyline is first rate and it's execution is simply incredible. You really won't believe your eyes or ears while experiencing, Princess mononoke! Highly Recommended!

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