Projections - Movie Reviews

Princess Mononoke

Director Hayao Miyazaki's animated feature thrusts us into a place where civilization has begun to encroach upon the natural world, its gods and unique characters.

This very successful film from Japan draws us into a place of enormous beauty filled with perfect human, animal and ghost like characters.  We meet wide eyed characters as we follow Ashitaka (voice of Billy Crudup) on his quest to rid himself of hate which is imprinted on his body after he is attacked by a wild boar that has been transformed into a demon.  His adventure takes him on a search for a lion-like god who walks on water and holds the balance of life in place.  Resisting his quest is Lady Eboshi (voice of Minnie Driver) a bold industrialist who is willing to destroy the forest in order to keep her iron works and people prospering. San/Princess Mononoke (voice of Clair Danes) is her opposite, she rides on the back of three large powerful white wolves and protects the natural world.

We are treated to a stunningly beautiful imaginary world with a complex sometimes violent story and characters that remind us of the gods of nature that Native Americans carry in their folklore.  We are introduced to the: Great Forest Spirit, the primary god of the forest who grows flowers wherever his hooves touch down; the Demon God, a rampaging boar-god turned into a monster by anger and agony; Kodama, tree spirits, small white creatures of various shapes and sizes who fall to the ground or float to the forest canopy as the situation requires; Moro, the Wolf God and queen of the forest who is also the adopted mother of San/Princess Mononoke; Nightwalker, the night transforms the Great Forest Spirit into this shimmering, illusory creature; The Tatara, a clan of ironworkers struggling to survive at the edge of the forest; and Yakul, a loyal and noble red elk who accompanies Ashitaka on his journey.

This is a visually stunning, quality animated adventure that holds wonder for adults and kids alike, but be warned that very little children will have difficulty with the violence.

Princess Mononoke

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