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Princess Mononoke (1997)

Even without the wolf, "Princess Mononoke" alone is not worth challenging.

Even without the wolf, “Princess Mononoke” alone is not worth challenging.

The picture above may show that this film is not for kids (it isn’t), but it does not go and show how extravagant the film is for those old enough to see it.

Princess Mononoke is one of the best animated adventures in the area of celluloid. It tells the story of Ashitaka (Billy Crudup), a skilled young warrior who is cursed from a cursed boar (which is putting it lightly) and must go find the cure. He eventually finds himself in the middle of a war between humans and the spirits of the forest. One of those spirits, a wolf Goddess, has taken in a child who is the Princess (Claire Danes), or San for short. She is against the human leader Lady Eboshi (Minnie Driver) and a bounty hunter named Jigo (Billy Bob Thorton).

In a line of great films by the unbelievable Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, this is justly one of the most famous. The animation is beyond the imagination, with imagery you would never have thought could exist. It is a movie you could freeze at any moment, and just observe the pain and time the animators put into the film. My only issue is that some of the film seemed to drag on a bit with a few stretches of dialogue. A minor issue, however, in an otherwise glorious film.

Parents, this may be animated, but don’t let it fool you: the PG-13 rating is just. There is some swearing (maybe two or three curse words), some animated cleavage, but mainly it is the violence, which is similar to The Lord of the Rings films. If they have seen those, this should be fine (though I would still say 13 and up).

One of the best things the film does is show the symbolism of the violence. We all have experienced violence in our lives (if you don’t think so, just turn on the news or read the newspaper). It is all caused by the curse of hatred, and that idea has never been shown so beautifully on film before.

Overall: Four Stars ****

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