Saturday, July 23, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 21: Your Favorite Animated Film

(A) Favorite Animated Film (Non-Disney*): Princess Mononoke
When I was in my freshman year of high school I begged my parents to drive me downtown to see Princess Mononoke.  At that point, it was just an animated import from Japan (2 years after the fact) that the critics were going wild about and that I didn't know how to pronounce.  I can’t recall how I caught wind of the buzz at that age, but I had, and the movie was playing at approximately one location: a three-screen cinema that, from the outside, looked more like a windowless brick factory complex than a theater.  This was the now defunct McClurg Court, which is now nothing but (if I’m not mistaken) a luxury apartment complex just off Michigan Avenue.  At the time, Princess Mononoke may have been my first real theatrical experience with foreign cinema, though the version we saw was the dubbed Miramax offering that was the only one around (not bad, as dub-jobs go).  All of this, I suspect, contributed to my immediate obsession with the film.  It was new, shiny, unlike anything I’d ever seen before, and completely untainted by the existence of any preconceived notions on American Manga/Anime culture (in 1999, this was fringe stuff for a newly hatched teenager).   Hayao Miyazaki’s film spoke to me at that point in my life and Mononoke has remained my favorite even in the wake of further imports like Spirited Away.  This one was dark, environmental and mythological; magical without being saccharine.  While I’d grown up believing that animation wasn’t just for kids, this was perhaps the film that really proved it to me.   For a kid who spent ages 6-10 telling teachers she wanted to grow up to be an animator, Princess Mononoke was proof of life after the Mouse. 

*Miyazaki films now distributed by Disney or affiliates (Miramax, then) do not factor as Disney or Disney/Pixar offerings.

1 comment:

  1. I mean I understand I love the anime but I have to say by far I loved Akira more.


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