Thursday, February 18, 2016

Eyes Unclouded by Hate: A Movie Review of Princess Mononoke

The Story: After being cursed while doing a good deed, a young warrior in a magical ancient Japan travels to a faraway land to search for a way to cure the curse. Once there, he finds himself in the middle of a war where neither side is truly evil, and seeks to bring peace to all involved, even if it costs his life.

My Thoughts: Princess Mononoke is one of the top contenders for the title of most beautifully-animated film of all time (look below for a few screenshots). It is just as remarkable for its direction and storytelling, which I believe place it in the five best movies ever made, and it is also my favorite film from legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki. It’s even better than his earlier masterpieces, Castle in the Sky and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. The story is superficially a traditional epic fantasy tale involving a quest, but the attention to detail, numerous fascinating characters, and moral clarity make it a one-of-a-kind speculative adventure.

Even set in a pagan culture, the hero’s dedication to seeing with eyes unclouded by hate provides one of the best illustrations I’ve ever seen of the Bible’s teaching that we should fight for what’s right in a loving, impartial way. He’s a skilled warrior who doesn’t hesitate to kill when necessary, yet he does all he can to bring peace in every situation. How this theme is woven naturally into the story is well worth studying for storytellers who want to create powerful tales. And anyone who appreciates the art of cinema, even those who don’t usually watch animated films, should see this movie.

Content Overview: A small amount of foul language and mild innuendo. Despite the PG-13 rating, there’s a lot of intense violence, and had this been a live-action film, it probably would have been rated R for violence.


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