Princess Mononoke is a film both written and directed by acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli. The film was released in both Japan and North America in 1997. Some fun facts:
-This became the first animated film to win Best Picture at the Japan Academy Awards.
-Acclaimed fantasy novelist Neil Gaiman helped with the English translation of the film, and is credited as a writer in the English version of the film.
-This is the first Studio Ghibli film to earn a PG-13 rating, as well as the first to use computers to help animate certain sequences.
The story is about Ashitaka, who helps to defend his village when it's attacked by a pack of demon boars. The head boar appears to have been cursed by some sort of plague, which attaches itself to Ashitaka's arm, cursing his body and giving him inhuman strength. The film then follows him on his search to cure that which has poisoned his body.
This film is stunning to look at. The forests and spirits within are incredibly lush and detailed. The messages about the environment and our delicate ecosystem really hit home here, and remain incredibly relevant to this day. It's hard to believe that this film was so unsuccessful when it was first released in North America, as it's now become one of the most well-known of the entire Studio Ghibli catalogue.
There is a lot of blood and violence in this film, hence the PG-13 rating. I would highly recommend seeing this, as it's one of the best animated films of all time, but take care when showing it to younger viewers.
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