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Name: Princess Mononoke (89.41% in 17 votes)
Platform: VHS/VCD
Company: Studio Ghibli
Release date: 1997
Reviewed by: Scream

Hayao Miyazaki's animated feature Princess Mononoke is a classic masterpiece.

In Japan, Princess Mononoke has earned more than $150 million making it Japan's first "homemade" film to reach the $100 million mark. It is also the second highest grossing film in Japan followed by Steven Spielberg's E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (the first is James Cameron's Titanic - no surprise here). Also, according to Buena Vista Home Video, Princess Mononoke has sold more than five million copies of the tape.

Princess Mononoke takes place in fourteenth century Japan and tells the tale of San, a young girl who was raised by wolves, as she struggles to protect the environment from Lady Eboshi, who is trying to expand human civilization by destroying some of the environment. The story behind the movie is not your typical good versus evil because both characters could be considered good if we ask ourselves which is more important to us the protection and preservation of nature or the advancement of man.

By the title of the movie, the protagonist is obviously San, the Princess Mononoke, since the story mainly focuses on her and her strong determination to protect the environment in which she lives. Therefore, the antagonist would definitely be Lady Eboshi since she is opposed to the actions of the protagonist. As for Prince Ashitaki, he could be considered a second protagonist since the story also involves him and his journey for a cure to save him.

I wouldn't consider this animated movie a children's movie, like Hayao Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro, because the story and plot is so deep that many young children will not be able to understand it's complex storyline.

The animation in this movie is absolutely beautiful along with the musical score. Hayao Miyazaki has definitely captured every detail and element of fourteenth century Japan. From all the anime I've seen throughout the years, nothing can compare to the superior animation and music of this movie.

I would definitely recommend everyone to see this movie before the English version is released, not just to compare the two but to relish the original, untouched version of Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece. Hopefully, Neil Gamain, the one responsible for writing the screenplay to the dubbed version, will be able to emulate and capture the original storyline perfectly. I'm pretty sure he will considering his previous credentials and reputation. For those who don't know, he is the one who created the award-winning comic book series "Sandman" and my favorite of his works "Death: The High Cost of Living", which will be heading to the big screen courtesy of Warner Bros.

Anyway, the original Japanese movie is definitely worth the buy; and, for those who don't understand Japanese, trust me you don't need to know Japanese to understand the plot of the movie. The animation itself explains the plot for you. So, when you purchase this movie, watch carefully because every scene is important.

Also, for those who aren't aware, Miramax will be releasing a dubbed version of the Japanese blockbuster in the summer of 1999. The voices include Claire Danes (William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet) as San, Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting) as Laby Eboshi, Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) as Moro, and Billy Crudup (Without Limits) as Prince Ashitaki. Other actors and actresses lending their voices are Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton. Out of all the actors and actresses casted in this movie, I find Gillian Anderson's role as Moro to be strange since, in the Japanese version, Moro was played by a male actor. I'd rather see her in the role of Lady Eboshi.
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