I have spent much of this summer developing a very important set of rules about which movies not to watch. For instance, rule number one: if it’s from the 80s and you haven’t heard of it before now, don’t touch it. Rule number two: don’t ever watch a Harry Potter movie ever again. You no longer have to pretend that the next one might be better.
The newest rule is this: trust Miyazaki films.
I’ve seen a couple movies I’ve liked this summer—most recently and notably, X-Men First Class. But I liked it because it had James McAvoy in it (squee!) and because Erik Lencher is a total bad-ass. Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, on the other hand, is not only enjoyable, but demands respect as a film.
|Oh, and Ashitaka is struggling to lift a curse placed|
on him by a demon.
The story is a simple tale of man vs. nature: Fern Gully, Japanese Edition. But with outlandish creativity and complex characters, Miyazaki transforms a simplistic tale into a confusing reality where there aren’t black and white answers. The leader of humanity’s forces—undoubtedly the bad guy in an American film—is Lady Eboshi, defender of lepers and downtrodden women.
|Also a total bad-ass. If only:|
Princess Mononoke vs. Magneto.
I may or may not also love this movie because for once, women aren’t getting rescued or being led. They are in charge: Lady Eboshi is a strong leader; she is supported by a loyal band of strong, capable ex-prostitutes; she is opposed by Princess Mononoke, who is first seen with her mouth and hands covered in blood as she treats a wolf’s arrow-wound.
One of the most rewarding parts of this film is the CG. Unlike such stunningly terrible and over-budgeted films like Transformers 3 or Tron, Miyazaki actually makes use of the new technology to create a stunning fantastical world. Avatar has nothing on Miyazaki, despite being released 10 years further into the digital age.
All that to say, I recommend a Miyazaki film to help wash away the let-down of the every single Harry Potter movie.