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Princess Mononoke [DVD] [2001]

Price: £14.98
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Product details

  • Actors: Yôji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yûko Tanaka, Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thornton
  • Directors: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Writers: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Producers: Seiichirô Ujiie, Seiji Okuda, Takahiro Yonezawa, Toshio Suzuki, Yasuyoshi Tokuma
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: Japanese, English, French
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Ghibli
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Oct. 2001
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005QB7X
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,448 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Hayao Miyazaki's magical box office hit in Japan is re-presented here for the US and UK market using voices of Hollywood stars such as Claire Danes, Billy Crudup and Minnie Driver. Ashitaka (Crudup) is a young warrior who travels to the forests of the west in order to search for the cure which will save him from a terrible curse. But almost as soon as he arrives he gets caught up in the prolonged battle which rages between the humans and the forest animals, the former being led by Lady Eboshi (Driver), and the latter by San (Danes), a young woman raised by wolves.


This epic, animated 1997 fantasy has already made history as the top-grossing domestic feature ever released in Japan, where its combination of mythic themes, mystical forces, and ravishing visuals tapped deeply into cultural identity and contemporary, ecological anxieties. For international animation and anime fans, Princess Mononoke represents an auspicious next step for its revered creator, Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service), an acknowledged anime pioneer, whose painterly style, vivid character design, and stylized approach to storytelling take ambitious, evolutionary steps here.

Set in medieval Japan, Miyazaki's original story envisions a struggle between nature and man. The march of technology, embodied in the dark iron forges of the ambitious Tatara clan, threatens the natural forces explicit in the benevolent Great God of the Forest and the wide-eyed, spectral spirits he protects. When Ashitaka, a young warrior from a remote, and endangered, village clan, kills a ravenous, boar-like monster, he discovers the beast is in fact an infectious "demon god," transformed by human anger. Ashitaka's quest to solve the beast's fatal curse brings him into the midst of human political intrigues as well as the more crucial battle between man and nature.

Miyazaki's convoluted fable is clearly not the stuff of kiddie matinees, nor is the often graphic violence depicted during the battles that ensue. If some younger viewers (or less attentive older ones) will wish for a diagram to sort out the players, Miyazaki's atmospheric world and its lush visual design are reasons enough to watch. For the English-language version, Miramax assembled an impressive vocal cast including Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup (as Ashitaka), Claire Danes (as San), Minnie Driver (as Lady Eboshi), Billy Bob Thornton, and Jada Pinkett Smith. They bring added nuance to a very different kind of magic kingdom. Recommended for ages 12 and older. --Sam Sutherland --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

110 of 112 people found the following review helpful By MT on 8 Mar. 2007
Format: DVD
In my opinion this is the best film from Studio Ghibli, and possibly the best animated film ever. This is because all of the different parts- the images, the story and the music- work together perfectly to transport the viewer to another world. Yes, it is set in Japan, but a Japan where iron was still a novelty and giant talking animal-gods ruled the land.

The imagery is probably the first thing that blew me away with this film. Even at the very beginning, there is about half a second of the hero, Ashitaka, riding through a wood, with the light and shade dappling his clothing so realistically that you are almost fooled into thinking it's a live-action shot they've sneaked in. The design of the characters, from the humans to the gods, is flawless, and some show real imagination (particularly the kodama).

The film's story is also brilliantly written, and never feels rushed or drawn out (although the ending feels a little abrupt). I won't waste time with a synopsis (as there's one above). I found that I became really emotionally attached to all of the characters, and you are constantly torn between which side you want to win; I eventually sided with Ashitaka, who basically just wants everyone to get along together, and although I found the ending a little rushed, it was extremely well done, and tied up most loose ends whilst leaving a sense of mystery.

However, it is the music that I think really makes this film stand out. The tunes are all beautiful on their own, but when paired with the imagery they help enormously to bring out all the emotions that Miyazaki (probably) intended. After hearing the song in the final scene, you'll have it stuck in your head for days.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "matthew2501" on 9 Sept. 2001
Format: DVD
One of Japan's most successful films finally gets a release in the UK. Essentially a tale of man's destruction of nature, the brilliant storytelling of Miyazaki presents us with one of the most enjoyable fantasy tales since Star Wars. Set in a time when forests cover the Earth huge forest Gods keep watch over the creatures that inhabit the woods. When young prince Ashitaka slays a Boar God turned Demon he's left with a curse on his arm that threatens to kill him. His only option is to travel to where the demon came from in hope of a way to lift the curse, instead he enters a conflict between the miners of Iron Town and the wolf clan of Moro and San, the Princess Mononoke. The english language version is suprisingly of high standard compared to other dubs of Japanese movies. Featuring the voices of stars like Gillian Anderson and Billy Bob Thornton i didnt find myself wishing to view it in its original language unlike Akira. Special mention must be made to the terrific score by Joe Hisaishi which adds to the emotion of the story. Mononoke doesn't have the cgi effects of Shrek and recent Disney animations but it has some of the most imaginitive ideas seen on screen whether it be live action or animation. One word of warning though, Japanese anime's don't hold back on violence and some scenes in Mononoke may not be suitable for young children, but if your dismayed at the lack of quality at the cinema this summer this is one blockbuster you may well want to check out and an absolute must for fans of Manga and Anime.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By on 25 Sept. 2001
Format: DVD
This is the best animated film I've ever seen. If you think you don't like japanese animation, get this, if you do like it, get this, if you're not sure, get this !
Absolutely everything here, is simply brilliant...
It's a shame Europe had to wait so long for this release, but now it's here, (again), GET THIS MOVIE NOW !!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Paul S. Bird VINE VOICE on 30 Oct. 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When I heard that this film was finally coming out over here I was very excited. I'd never seen it before, but had seen other works of Hayao Miyazaki such as Totoro and Cagliostro. I was worried when I heard it had been bought and dubbed by Disney, fearing another mangled and edited poor translation as happened with Nausicaa /warriors of the wind.
However, the translation is superb - done by no less than Neil Gaimen of Sandman fame - and the voice acting actually very good, with little of the poor acting and odd characterisation we've come to be used to. Perhaps the translation looses us some of the finer points, but none the less, it's superb.
The film - What can I say? This is an epic tale that will draw anyone in who starts watching it, no matter how old they are. I watched this with my father, who's not a fan of animation (especially not Japanese animation), and he was enthralled, loving the beauty and the characters. It's certainly not a children's film, as it becomes quite dark towards the end. Dealing with themes such as mankind's effect on the environment and the destructive power of anger, this film tells the tale of the conflicts between a group of humans and a group of nature gods. Some scenes have echoes of Nausicaa, especially in character designs, and fans of Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood books will find much they like here. Scenes of the Forest Spirit changing from the Night Walker to a multi horned, human faced deer that can walk on water have a strange magical pagan feel to them, and an eerie beauty.
I'm trying not to say too much about the story as to give things away would be a crime if you've not seen the film before.
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