His name is spoken in reverent tones by animation lovers, but as far as the wider American marketplace is concerned, Hayao Miyazaki barely exists; his 2009 release, Ponyo, probably played to fewer theaters than the asinine Fly Me to the Moon, and Ponyo received far and away the biggest U.S. push of any film in Miyazaki’s distinguished career.
Now that I’ve lamented Miyazaki’s low commercial profile in the States, this is the spot where I’d traditionally take a shot at Disney and its marquee-crowding, female psyche-twisting princesses — but empires aren’t always evil, and as a case in point, here’s a lovely, Disney-sponsored series of Miyazaki reissues, crowned with Ponyo‘s Blu-ray debut.
If you’ve never watched a Miyazaki film, it’s probably important to note that while not all of his movies are appropriate for young children, they’re all childlike in some way; he tends to favor young protagonists, for one thing, and then there’s the matter of his endlessly inventive cast of supporting creature characters. Watching a Miyazaki movie, you’re never sure whether you’re seeing the jaw-droppingly beautiful work of an unbridled genius or just the byproduct of an awful lot of drugs. Either way, they’re all enjoyable — all classics in their own way. Now, on top of getting Ponyo on Blu-ray, consumers can own expanded versions of Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), and Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989). Continue reading