“When you’re going to kill a god, let someone else do the dirty work.”
Hayao Miyazaki has always had a strong relationship with nature that he’s portrayed in a number of his films, but nowhere has it grown as dark as it did in his 1997 film Princess Mononoke. While an animated film, the level of violence is very high and the themes are much more adult than his previous films, particularly fare like My Neighbor Totoro. And while he hasn’t returned to such dark films since, it’s clear that this was an important step in his storytelling and how his films look at the relationship between man and nature. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our second Hayao Miyazaki series with his 1997 film Princess Mononoke.
We talk about the violence in this film, what our thoughts are with showing these films to children (in particular our own) and why we think there is a strength in kids seeing films like this. We discuss Miyazaki and the themes presented here, notably how mankind is left in a position that allows for growth in responsibility, and why it works for us, even if the storytelling doesn’t work for both of us. We chat about the cast, both Japanese and English, and which performances work better for us than others. We look at the sound editing by Michihiro Itô and gorgeous score by Joe Hisaishi and how well they both work to enhance the world Miyazaki creates. And we look at the yin yang nature of everything within the film and why it works in context of the Tokien-esque story.
It’s a strong film with a powerful message that worked better for Andy than it did for Pete, but it allows for a lot of interesting elements to discuss. So check out the movie then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, the conversation begins.
- Script Transcript
- Original theatrical trailer
- Original poster artwork
- “On Your Mark” — Miyazaki music video by Chage and Aska