Princess Mononoke 20th Year Anniversary Review

Daniella Mimoso, Reporter

Princess Mononoke is a brilliantly crafted animated movie from Studio Ghibli. The film was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who is known for many films like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. This movie has a large cast of memorable characters played excellently in both English sub and dub versions of the film. Some of the voice actors include Billy Crudup as Ashitaka, Minnie Driver as Lady Eboshi, Claire Daniels as San, and Jada Pinkett Smith as Toki.

(Image courtesy of Studio Ghibli)

The movie is about Ashitaka, a young prince and protector of his people. While trying to defend his land from a demon boar, Ashitaka is afflicted with the curse of hatred in the form of a mark on his arm. This is what sets the story in motion, as Ashitaka tries to save himself and others from the curse that eats him alive.

Throughout this journey, Ashitaka meets a variety of characters that have polar opposite ideas and beliefs. This is handled well, and no one side is the “good guys” or the “bad guys.” Both have their own motives and aren’t wrong. They are just trying to survive. The main character helps the audience see both sides through a clean, unbiased lense. This gives the characters layered and complex personalities that are morally gray.

On top of the strong plot and characters, the soundtrack and voice acting is fantastically done. The music can be bombastic and whimsical in action scenes, while other times it can be quiet and somber. The music really supports the movie and provides an emotional impact in addition to the already tear inducing plot.

Princess Mononoke has impressive voice acting performances by Billy Crudup and others. They are great during all of the scenes given to them, and the cast has great chemistry on screen. Although there are many good performance in the English dub, some of the voices don’t match the ages of the characters. For those who know that will bother them, I would suggest to watch the English sub version of the film.

Another thing that the film executes well is its animation. Its cell animation holds up despite being 20 years old. The action scenes are fluidly animated, and the CGI nightwalker creature seamlessly fits into the 2D animation.

There are few flaws to be found in this film. It is one of Miyazaki’s many critically acclaimed films and for good reason. It is a movie for anyone who loves good cinema.

Overall Score: 9.7/10