Princess Mononoke is directed by Hayao Miyazaki and this film follows a young prince, who, in the brilliant opening scene is attacked by a boar that contains a demon inside of him. After he comes into contact with this boar he also gets infected with a strange rash on his arm that gives him odd powers but also causes him to be banished from his village because now they view him as unclean.
Now, he must go out into the world and discover it for the first time, which is where he comes across Princess Mononoke. A girl who lives with the wolves, who are at war with this town led by a woman who’s obsessed with killing the spirit of the forest.
There’s no escaping it, the animation is brilliant, this is one of the best-looking Studio Ghibli movies there is, this film came out in 1997 in Japan and it was revolutionary for hand-drawn animation.
Today you have films like Zootropolis, Inside Out and the Toy Story franchise and all these amazing animated films. You are amazed at the computer animation and it’s really incredible at what they are able to do today.
Thinking that people sat there with their pencils and pens, they painted these hand-drawn cells, they animated them to interact with each other, that they worked their butts off. If you really think about that, the animation in this film becomes all the more impressive. What they accomplished with this movie for its time and still to this day it is breathtakingly beautiful.
What’s even more impressive is Miyazaki rarely ever directs action sequences. Most of his films are children friendly, this film has a lot of gore and a lot of action scenes and what I took away from it is how masterful the editing is: Miyazaki’s timing is on point with the editing in this film to fully maximize the stunning visuals at what we’re looking at.
There’s something childlike and beautiful about his vision for this world. Whenever our main character sees the spirit of the forest, you almost get the sense that Miyazaki is showing you the most beautiful thing ever. I would go as far he is showing us a vision of Heaven and that level of wonderment is maintained throughout this film.
Something else that is amazing is Iron Town; the depiction of this city, it feels like a believable city, you see the politics side of it, you see the women and how they control things and you see the men and how they control things too. You understand how this city can prosper and because this film takes its time to show you this town you understand what these people are after, how they all work together to get it and how this town specifically relates to the opening scene with the boar and you understand how it all ties together.
The main message Miyazaki is telling us in this movie is that the human race is at war against nature and if nature ever decides to fight back at all we will lose, and although it can get a little bit preachy and slightly heavy-handed at times, this is still one of my favourite Miyazaki films and Princess Mononoke is Glorious.