Friday, July 03, 2009

Disney says Ponyo will be in theaters August 14, 2009

The Disney version, known simply as Ponyo, seems to have scrubbed out the "cultural differences" of the Studio Ghibli original pretty nicely. Probably not a bad idea at all. I'm not sanguine about Ponyo's chances in theatrical release, even in the art houses, so hopefully Christmas 2009 means "straight to DVD"...?

I'll wait for the DVD anyway, myself. Look for John Lasseter on track one to chirp on and on with breathless re-anticipation for "the art of Hayao Miyazaki," downplaying the peculiar relationship between Ponyo (a goldfish girl with chicken legs seeking desperately to escape from her father's iron influence) and her father (a human wizard at odds, for some reason, with Ponyo's beautiful sea-goddess mother).

Probably no Japanese story will turn out to have been so re-worked for U.S. consumption since Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966) — e.g., confronting pollution in the Inland Sea, the Japanese father bellows, "Stay, Ponyo, you'll only be safe here!" while the American father cheers, "Go, Ponyo, go out and save the world!" It will be interesting to see if Disney includes the usual subtitled Japanese tracks on the DVD this time. Or even if they go ... straight to Blu-Ray?

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