User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 223 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 223
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  1. Jan 5, 2012
    9
    Ponyo is sweet, elegant, and innocent. With probably the best animation in Miyazaki's career. Ponyo has so much heart and a rich story. You have to think who would hate it. I give this movie 94%.
  2. Nov 10, 2012
    8
    Somehow, the word "charming" just doesn't say it. Unbearably cute and sweet, but also deeply beautiful at times. And, interestingly enough, while watching this I stumbled upon some of the most subtle, unexpected and delightfully out-of-place humor that I've ever had the pleasure of encountering in all my years of watching movies. And that factor of surprise makes these slipped in littleSomehow, the word "charming" just doesn't say it. Unbearably cute and sweet, but also deeply beautiful at times. And, interestingly enough, while watching this I stumbled upon some of the most subtle, unexpected and delightfully out-of-place humor that I've ever had the pleasure of encountering in all my years of watching movies. And that factor of surprise makes these slipped in little jokes all the more funny. I would even go so far as to say that there are some moments in Ponyo that are hilarious. Also, one thing I love about Hayao Miyazaki is that, no matter how unrealistic or fantastic his stories get, he never explains any of it. None of the fable-like creatures or enchanted play lands are rationalized or given credibility. They simply exist, and I find that wonderful. I'm glad that he approaches his animation that way, and I'm glad that he made no exception in Ponyo. It's kind. It's warm. And it is a treasure. Expand
  3. NeilR
    Aug 15, 2009
    5
    Miyazaki's genius reached its height in SPIRITED AWAY. Unfortunately, this was also the stage at which The Disney Company became more involved in Studio Ghibli. Sadly, nothing from Miyazaki has been the same ever since -- not the artistry, characterization, story-lines or philosophy. Luckily Joe Hisaishi still holds up his end with a brilliant score that falters only with the Miyazaki's genius reached its height in SPIRITED AWAY. Unfortunately, this was also the stage at which The Disney Company became more involved in Studio Ghibli. Sadly, nothing from Miyazaki has been the same ever since -- not the artistry, characterization, story-lines or philosophy. Luckily Joe Hisaishi still holds up his end with a brilliant score that falters only with the film's horrific end-title music. The song "Ponyo" might give a shark heartburn. PONYO is earnest and very pretty, but too predictable in its plot and too random in its attention to detail to satisfy this viewer. Great studios sometimes bring masterworks to Disney. Too often, today's Disney dumbs 'em down, as it did so well with its awful adaptation of clips from PLANET EARTH, titled only -- EARTH. To be fair, Miyazki has the right to craft a film exclusively for children, however, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO did just that --with artistry and reasonable sophistication. A mediocre film from a master makes one feel cheated, for it is the filmmaker who teaches and engages the audience. The market should never, ever drive= a great filmmaker's choices. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened with PONYO. Expand
  4. DanielW
    Jan 1, 2010
    2
    It is simply a massive idea condensed into a threadless mash of stupid. 2 points for some nice backdrops & colour, but overall the most disappointing thing I have seen in a long while.
  5. DianneA
    Aug 16, 2009
    3
    Boring! Lovely visuals only take you so far. At some point you need a story. Or good music. Or something.
  6. KenZ
    Sep 2, 2009
    4
    I've really enjoyed all of Miyazaki's previous films, but this left me pretty disappointed. The animation was subpar compared to any of his other films and the story is quite frankly makes no sense. Done right, the line between reality and fantasy is blurred until you have forgotten there was anything but the fantasy, but in Ponyo they chose never to address reality at all.
  7. Kenny
    Nov 4, 2009
    4
    History of animation that seeks only to soften. It's OK to leave behind from time to time 3D animation and see films like this, but perhaps it is too sweet and completely aimed at smaller and no more. The original story is even reminiscent of another Disney classic. Recommended for children, not more.
  8. SkipTick
    Aug 15, 2009
    1
    Do not believe the hype on this movie. It is a terrible, ugly, boring work by someone coasting on reputation. I give this movie 6 yawns.
  9. MarkP
    Aug 17, 2009
    4
    Ponyo should run with the following disclaimer: Warning! Do NOT go to this movie expecting another Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away! If you are going to see Ponyo, note that this film is firmly targeted to the pre-tween audience. I am an ardent fan of Miyazaki's work, but Ponyo is the weakest film of his that I have ever seen. Yes, the visuals are stunning, but the story lacks the Ponyo should run with the following disclaimer: Warning! Do NOT go to this movie expecting another Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away! If you are going to see Ponyo, note that this film is firmly targeted to the pre-tween audience. I am an ardent fan of Miyazaki's work, but Ponyo is the weakest film of his that I have ever seen. Yes, the visuals are stunning, but the story lacks the depth we have come to expect from him. Even Miyazaki's earlier works that are mainly targeted towards children (such as My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service) easily best Ponyo in plot and character development. If Pixar has taught us anything, it is that you can have all the beauty and all the technology in the world thrown up on the screen, but in the end, it comes down to the power of the story that makes a film great. The overzealous voice acting by the American actors further tarnishes Ponyo. Before Miyazaki was "discovered" by Disney, the less star-powered cast of voice talents used in the US versions of his films did a much better job of avoiding too much verve in favor of subtlety and color. Miyazaki is truly one of the all-time great masters of animation. It is a terrible shame that Ponyo may be his final work. Expand
  10. TonyL
    Aug 17, 2009
    4
    Of all the Miyazaki films that I have seen, this was the least interesting. I did not get a sense of wonder and awe that I had seen in his previous films. Ponyo did not do anything special that made me want to care about her. The mother character was terrible. Maybe it is time for Mr. Miyazaki to quit while he is ahead. DVD only!
  11. hollyc
    Aug 20, 2009
    4
    I usually love Miyazaki's stuff, but this was definitely one of his weaker films. It's got some good moments, but mostly I was left puzzled, bored, sometimes grossed out and kind of embarrassed by it. Some visuals were really great, but overall it feels like the scripted needed a lot more work than it got, and from there it's just downhill.
  12. Sauasge
    Feb 17, 2010
    4
    Maybe its just me, but I honestly found this movie BORING and even sadder a SOULLESS carbon copy of every other studio Ghibli production. I hate to say this but Miyazaki has been on a slippy slope over the last few years, maybe he doesnt have the passion or the enthusiam as he did during the Totoro, Nausicaa or even Mononoke days. Its just the same protagonist, same plot, same style, same Maybe its just me, but I honestly found this movie BORING and even sadder a SOULLESS carbon copy of every other studio Ghibli production. I hate to say this but Miyazaki has been on a slippy slope over the last few years, maybe he doesnt have the passion or the enthusiam as he did during the Totoro, Nausicaa or even Mononoke days. Its just the same protagonist, same plot, same style, same character faces, same pallett, same enchanting creature that teaches us all a lesson about nature vs human....do u see where Im going with this?? The first few minutes in the underwater lab was amazingly creative, however as soon as ponyo surfaced, it seems the fantasy and magic was left DEEP, DEEP on the Ocean floor. Im getting sick of these....drum roll please..."MIYAZAKI EVENT MOVIES"!!! Ill think twice about seeing his next production....About a "sad and lonely girl who finds a magical comet named 'KOMO' after it was hit by evil space junk. They learn how to care for each and cute 'Komo' slowly begins to become a human and the lonely girl becomes brave thanks to the Moon spirit...'Moono'. YAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!! Expand
  13. LeoL.
    Apr 25, 2010
    4
    Pretty but not logical and boring. Not up to the creator's usual standard. Story-light.
  14. RobertB.
    Aug 15, 2009
    0
    What??? You have got to be kidding me. This gets an 89? What??? A cartoon movie with that high of a score you expect to be funny and/or very moving with a great story line and good animation. No. This is some kind of psychotic whacked out fantasy that only may be halfway cute if someone is stoned. Even then they will say it was bad. People, what is going on with ratings??? Where are the What??? You have got to be kidding me. This gets an 89? What??? A cartoon movie with that high of a score you expect to be funny and/or very moving with a great story line and good animation. No. This is some kind of psychotic whacked out fantasy that only may be halfway cute if someone is stoned. Even then they will say it was bad. People, what is going on with ratings??? Where are the truly good movies? I mean really.... did they just quit being made years ago? We left the theater early as you would guess, but we were not the first ones to do so. Expand
  15. KellyM
    Aug 29, 2009
    1
    I waited for a moment where I might feel some sort of emotion for at least one character in the film. I waited and waited. I then waited a little longer. I sat in the theater watching the credits roll to some of the worst music I have ever heard. When it was over all I can say is "I waited." If you enjoy waiting by all means go see it. If you would like to be more productive with your I waited for a moment where I might feel some sort of emotion for at least one character in the film. I waited and waited. I then waited a little longer. I sat in the theater watching the credits roll to some of the worst music I have ever heard. When it was over all I can say is "I waited." If you enjoy waiting by all means go see it. If you would like to be more productive with your time I suggest painting a room in your house and wait for the paint to dry. It is equally entertaining. Expand
  16. Oct 24, 2010
    10
    every movie Hayao Miyazaki makes kick a**! this movie is definitely the right movie for kids and adults.
  17. Feb 14, 2012
    8
    I'm a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki and have seen all his movies. This is one of his more gentle fantasies like "Kiki's Delivery Service" or "My Neighbor Tortoro". I enjoyed the political incorrectness throughout the film (the mother is a horrible driver, plus she leaves her 5 year old alone at home during a monster storm so she can drive to the senior center to check on their safety). TheI'm a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki and have seen all his movies. This is one of his more gentle fantasies like "Kiki's Delivery Service" or "My Neighbor Tortoro". I enjoyed the political incorrectness throughout the film (the mother is a horrible driver, plus she leaves her 5 year old alone at home during a monster storm so she can drive to the senior center to check on their safety). The real star of the film, however, is the fantastic drawings and color palettes. This might be his most colorful movie he's made, and when you consider this is drawn and not computer generated some of the scenes are jaw dropping. When you have a lot of fish in a single scene and each one is doing its own thing it must be a nightmare to animate. Some of his movies can be a little preachy about the environment and balance of nature, but this one isn't too bad. I do wish that animators would not use voices that are so distinctive. Liam Neeson and Betty White have such distinctive voices that as soon as the character starts speaking, you immediately think of the actor. I'm sure that was a Disney decision, plus actors want to voice in a Miyazaki film much like actors want to be in a Woody Allen Film because they recognize greatness. This isn't a classic like "Spirited Away", but if you're a Miyazaki fan you will probably enjoy it. Expand
  18. Harry
    Jun 25, 2010
    10
    Amazing movie; poor dubbing. Do yourself a favor and watch it with subtitles.
  19. ChadS.
    Aug 20, 2009
    9
    The government isn't after the fish. This almost Henry Darger-like mermaid(because all the fish are curiously female) poses no threat to national security. Nobody wants to dissect this Vivian siren. That's the cliche of most American movies whenever there's a non-human creature on the loose. For instance, Ron Howard's "Splash", in which authorities track down the The government isn't after the fish. This almost Henry Darger-like mermaid(because all the fish are curiously female) poses no threat to national security. Nobody wants to dissect this Vivian siren. That's the cliche of most American movies whenever there's a non-human creature on the loose. For instance, Ron Howard's "Splash", in which authorities track down the otherworldly entity with the intent to kill. "Ponyo" gets around this banality by making the mermaid's pursuer a benevolent one. As a result, the film is lacking in suspense, which may put off a western audience, largely used to shopworn tropes such as FBI agents in black coats and shades, and a chase of some sort. Starting with the mother, the incongruous sight of a fish equipped with a human girl's face, never alarms like it would, or should, in most filmic cases. If the fish-face did, Ponyo's notoriety would eventually get the law's attention with predictable results. Sophisticated as all Pixar films are, the collected works of this filmmaker truly diverges from animation's preordained roots as strictly a children's genre. "Ponyo" distinguishes itself through its naturalistic domestic scenes, which are virtually indistinguishable from the human interaction you'd find in a live-action film. A good deal of time is spent on establishing the relationships within a family unit, which may some find boring, as the mother tends to her son and his new playmate with great deliberation. The bar is raised, quietly, as these seemingly uneventful moments that establish character are more exciting than the gorgeous depictions of the girl's underwater world, and the subsequent hurricane above, because such lifelike simulacrum helps make the case for animation as being the equal of your so-called "serious" films. (NOTE: Dubbing is a necessary evil to attract larger audiences, but some of the dialogue, notably towards the end, is truly hideous.) Expand
  20. TonyO
    Sep 29, 2009
    8
    Pretty good - but do be aware Ponyo is aimed at a somewhat younger audience than previous Miyazaki opuses. I would say it is aimed at 7-8 year olds, where as Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle were probably more suitable for 12-15 year olds. But, as might be expected from this stellar animation genius, some of the sequences are still absolutely magical in the atmosphere they Pretty good - but do be aware Ponyo is aimed at a somewhat younger audience than previous Miyazaki opuses. I would say it is aimed at 7-8 year olds, where as Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle were probably more suitable for 12-15 year olds. But, as might be expected from this stellar animation genius, some of the sequences are still absolutely magical in the atmosphere they invoke. The storm sequence where Ponyo rides the waves, and the underwater sequences generally are as good as anything you will see. And the supporting characters in the old folk's home are beautifully realised, and there is a lot of emotional resonance and family sentiment. But it is nevertheless pretty slow, with a simple story, and it is primarily designed to be cute and engaging for little kids. So all credit to Miyazaki, who hasn't fallen into the Pixar/Dreamworks/Disney trap of continually ramping up the scale and graphics and humour to capture every demographic and maximise the financial returns. Definitely worth seeing, but a gentle delight, rather than a blockbuster. Little kids will still be loving this movie in 50 years, long after most of the contemprary cartoons have faded away. Expand
  21. greatmovie
    Aug 14, 2009
    10
    Fantastic. A new great film for kids. Just as magical as Totoro.
  22. ivoryb
    Aug 15, 2009
    9
    I'm a pretty big Miyazaki fan so maybe I'm biased, but I had a huge grin on my face the whole time I watched it and enjoyed every moment of it.
  23. FrankL
    Aug 15, 2009
    10
    Miyazaki once again proves that he's not just "the Japanese Walt Disney," he's the one and only true heir to the Disney crown: THE pre-eminent animator of the 21st Century. "Ponyo (On a Cliff By the Sea)" is easily a masterpiece. The story is very loosely based on (Hans Christian Andersen's) The Little Mermaid, but unlike the Disney (Corp.) semi-animated abomination of that Miyazaki once again proves that he's not just "the Japanese Walt Disney," he's the one and only true heir to the Disney crown: THE pre-eminent animator of the 21st Century. "Ponyo (On a Cliff By the Sea)" is easily a masterpiece. The story is very loosely based on (Hans Christian Andersen's) The Little Mermaid, but unlike the Disney (Corp.) semi-animated abomination of that name, Ponyo is never predictable, always light, exotic, stimulating, romantic, touching and breathtakingly beautiful. North Americans not familiar with Miyazaki's unique approach may find the story disconcerting at first. I hope that many will persevere, and allow Ponyo to forever raise their expectations of what animated features should be. Expand
  24. JC
    Aug 16, 2009
    10
    One of the most magical films you will ever see.
  25. AndyM.
    Aug 23, 2009
    7
    I like Miyazaki films. I do. Not a HUGE fan, but I respect his work. I went into this one expecting another Spirited Away, unfortunately, and I came out disappointed. Perhaps part of it was the Disney re-release. The American music at the end is so terrible and juvenile, it feels too kiddy to be even congruous with the movie. That's off-putting, but what lessens the magic MOST, I like Miyazaki films. I do. Not a HUGE fan, but I respect his work. I went into this one expecting another Spirited Away, unfortunately, and I came out disappointed. Perhaps part of it was the Disney re-release. The American music at the end is so terrible and juvenile, it feels too kiddy to be even congruous with the movie. That's off-putting, but what lessens the magic MOST, I'd say, was the way it felt: dumbed down. There were no edgy, frightening elements, no threatening antagonist you'd expect in Miyazaki's work. There was just cute. Indeed, it was cute. The visuals were stunning, and not in the "in your face" Dreamworks 3D way, either. It makes you laugh, and it holds your attention. It is, however, forgettable and the juvenility becomes discomforting. I realize that this is trying to be more of a kid's movie, and it is successful as a cutesy kid flick, but Miyazaki, I have to say, is better than this. Expand
  26. CogeianE
    Aug 24, 2009
    10
    BEST MOVIE EVER! Great for kids, funny when it has to be. Some parts are almost sad because it is so touching. Of course, has the usual great message from Studio Ghibli about protecting the environment.
  27. TomP
    Aug 30, 2009
    10
    Superb animation, beautiful art, touching emotional dimension, environmental message without sour bludgeoning like WALL-E. For all ages.
  28. NickT
    Aug 30, 2009
    10
    A simple narrative, simply told, leaving room for you to enjoy the many wonderful moments. I thought it was very much like Totoro in that regard and Ponyo has easily become one of my favourite Ghibli films, along with Totoro and Spirited Away.
  29. ThomasH
    Sep 20, 2009
    10
    This is my favorite film of the summer. Miyazaki creates such a wounderful world where anyone, any age, can enjoy watching.
  30. MichelleH
    Feb 7, 2010
    10
    Ponyo is the best Hayao Miyazaki movie I've seen and that is a huge feat as all Miyazaki's movies are incredible stories with so much heart with valuable lessons in the plots. Miyazaki has a gift of capturing the beauty in the world and making kids see the beauty in the most unlikely places. Highly recommended, once you see it you will want to hunt down all his other movies.
  31. JonB
    Mar 21, 2010
    6
    I still don't know who this movie was aimed at. I am a fan of Miyazaki, I would of said a huge fan before this. The story is weak, which is the last thing I expected. It's not hard to understand, it's just not special. All of Miyazaki's other films are special. This one left me feeling like it was intended for someone younger than me. I took my nephew to see this (he I still don't know who this movie was aimed at. I am a fan of Miyazaki, I would of said a huge fan before this. The story is weak, which is the last thing I expected. It's not hard to understand, it's just not special. All of Miyazaki's other films are special. This one left me feeling like it was intended for someone younger than me. I took my nephew to see this (he is five) and he wanted too leave because it was boring. My personal feeling is that this film was dumbed too far down. I understand wanting to appeal to young children, (G-rating officially means you are trying to appeal to young children BTW) but if that's your goal, make it so children will love it for something aside from the beautiful artwork, which is the films saving grace if that exists. I'll will give someone a dollar if thier child can perfectly translate this plot to me, and show that they understood it 100%. If they can, then you are a monster because you forced it down thier throats just because you like Miyazaki. All joking aside, this movie is weaker because it doesn't appeal as well to the same group who loved all of Miyazaki's other films (aside from 1% of whom are mouth breathing conformists, who would lick Miyazaki's boots, and say it tastes like a pbj sandwich, who if they have children, are currently trying to contact me for a dollar) and it also doesn't appeal to anyone new very well either. I like Miyazaki, and I would love to see his future films have big american releases, but Ponyo did not cut it for me, and I think the folks that gave this thing a 10, or a 100, are really good at lying to themselves, which is the worst kind of lie. Expand
  32. WilliamS
    Aug 14, 2009
    9
    A really cute, humble film with a wonderful color palette.
  33. AC
    Aug 14, 2009
    10
    Another classic by the greatest film-maker on the planet. Best the film of 09.
  34. MidnaW
    Aug 14, 2009
    10
    I think that this is one of the best films of the summer. I also think that Noah Cyrus and Frankie Jonus were fantastic and Miaszaki was awesome!
  35. DannyR
    Aug 15, 2009
    5
    A great disappointment from Ghibli. Ponyo seems to pander to younger, dumber audiences. The film looks promising, but if you've seen the trailer you've seen the whole movie. It has a serious lack of depth, both in plot and message. It was surprising compared to his other masterpieces, in its score (whose final song featuring the disney teeney boppers rapping,) its plot, and even A great disappointment from Ghibli. Ponyo seems to pander to younger, dumber audiences. The film looks promising, but if you've seen the trailer you've seen the whole movie. It has a serious lack of depth, both in plot and message. It was surprising compared to his other masterpieces, in its score (whose final song featuring the disney teeney boppers rapping,) its plot, and even its overall message. The only positive side of this film is the artwork. Expand
  36. Rider
    Aug 16, 2009
    9
    A masterful work of art done my a master artist.
  37. CarolynM
    Aug 16, 2009
    5
    My husband and I walked into the theatre prepared to love this and did something we almost ever do: left after 45 minutes. We were bored. In spite of the reviews, there did not seem anything new or even special about this film.
  38. EnzoP.
    Aug 17, 2009
    7
    Hayao Miyazaki the director of ponyo has created his most kiddish movie yet. I am a big fan of Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle when I heard that the same director was making a film and it was coming to my theater I wanted to see it once it was friday. Well I failed I saw it on Sunday but I still saw it. I was a little upset but still a good film I wasn't expecting it to Hayao Miyazaki the director of ponyo has created his most kiddish movie yet. I am a big fan of Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle when I heard that the same director was making a film and it was coming to my theater I wanted to see it once it was friday. Well I failed I saw it on Sunday but I still saw it. I was a little upset but still a good film I wasn't expecting it to be so childish. But it still gave me laughs more chuckles though. To add on to that I think they picked the perfect cast for the movie. Tina Fey was a superb decision. Overall I think it's worth the cash. Expand
  39. CalebH
    Aug 17, 2009
    8
    Visually beautiful, light on story, and about as adorable as kittens in a basket. Ponyo is great for kids and rewarding for anyone looking for a fantasy land unlike anything you have ever seen. Expect to be cramped from smiling too much.
  40. JamesN.
    Aug 18, 2009
    9
    A weaker Miyazaki film that suffers from too light narrative reasoning, and an ending that I found to make little sense or emotional impact. But the journey, visuals and characters are amazing and extraordinarily lovable. I just wish more and exciting things had happened with them.
  41. GregB
    Aug 21, 2009
    10
    Is this a simple film? Yes it is. Does that mean that it can't be charming and engaging? No! Miyazaki does a great job portraying a story that everyone can understand. It is a fun film that everyone can enjoy. You don't compare his films one with another, it just isn't right. Each one is a separate thing. Just enjoy his story telling mastery, and watch it in Japanese if Is this a simple film? Yes it is. Does that mean that it can't be charming and engaging? No! Miyazaki does a great job portraying a story that everyone can understand. It is a fun film that everyone can enjoy. You don't compare his films one with another, it just isn't right. Each one is a separate thing. Just enjoy his story telling mastery, and watch it in Japanese if possible. The english voice actors don't do it justice. I could not stop watching and had fun the entire movie. Don't let the idiots who can't understand films like this discourage you from seeing a good movie in this day and age. Make the effort to support film makers of Miyazaki's caliber. :D Expand
  42. RobertC
    Aug 22, 2009
    10
    This movie has a quality rarely seen in children's films. It is delightfully slow paced, so that every beautiful scene stays for longer than it would in an ordinary movie. Some say that this made the film "boring," but I disagree wholeheartedly. It is when nothing is happening that this movie truly shines. In an industry crowded with explosions and non-stop action, Ponyo provides a This movie has a quality rarely seen in children's films. It is delightfully slow paced, so that every beautiful scene stays for longer than it would in an ordinary movie. Some say that this made the film "boring," but I disagree wholeheartedly. It is when nothing is happening that this movie truly shines. In an industry crowded with explosions and non-stop action, Ponyo provides a truly wonderful chance to stop and pay attention to the little things that really matter. The scene with Sosuke manning the signal light is one of the best in recent memory. The characters are also a delight, especially Lisa, Sosuke, and Ponyo. Miyazaki may have made his most convincing cast yet. Lisa acts like a mother, Sosuke acts like a five-year old, and Ponyo acts like a hyperactive fish-girl-thing. For parents of younger children, this movie is a must-see for the family. It is also a wonderful movie for adults who know how to forget about logic and enjoy magic. Expand
  43. NoBody
    Aug 24, 2009
    9
    A enjoyable movie for young and old. Visually beautiful and and a good story makes its worth going to see.
  44. D.S.
    Aug 27, 2009
    7
    I have been a long time fan of Miazaki's work but I must say this was definitely one of his lesser works and therefore I am truly surprised that it was rated higher by critics than princess mononoke and some other of his works. The script went downhill steeply from the beginning to the end and often times left me disgusted or embarrased. Where the movie won though, was the amazing I have been a long time fan of Miazaki's work but I must say this was definitely one of his lesser works and therefore I am truly surprised that it was rated higher by critics than princess mononoke and some other of his works. The script went downhill steeply from the beginning to the end and often times left me disgusted or embarrased. Where the movie won though, was the amazing visuals and story. While the visuals were some of Miazaki's best work, the story was often very touching as well as the statements it made. Overall it was a worthwhile experience but I must say that Miazaki should stick to older characters, his origional Japanese language and most definitely avoid working with Disney which ultimately led to the unusually dumbed-down nature of the film. Also, I highly suggest not staying for the credits, as the truly Juvenile English music which plays during the ending credits is excruciatingly nerveracking and out of place. Expand
  45. JoeyC
    Sep 11, 2009
    10
    My brother and I (him 19 and me 22) went to see this one together. Beautiful film, perfect in every way. We laughed through the whole thing. The theatre erupted with the giggles of children every time Ponyo did something silly. Had serious moments as well, I even cried. Not sure why anyone would rate this film low. An instant classic and masterpiece.
  46. JasonB
    Sep 2, 2009
    9
    The most beautiful, lyrical, and humorous passages of Ponyo occur when Ponyo is discovering the human world, and when Ponyo and Sosuke travel to look for Sosuke
  47. JulianM
    Sep 20, 2009
    9
    Extremely creative combination of low- and high-tech animation, combined with great lesson for kids.
  48. BrianC
    Sep 7, 2009
    7
    Not quite as good as Totoro, but if you and your kids are fans of Miyazaki it's worth seeing.
  49. FrankZ
    Jan 22, 2010
    7
    Slightly disappointed. A very predictable story, sometimes uncannily unrealistic (Do the old ladies never seem to be unnerved by the fact they are breathing in water..?, or do 5 year old kids really fall in true love..? or what type of mother would leave her 5 year old kid home alone during a storm..?). The movie was challenged with pacing problems, such as the scene with the family on Slightly disappointed. A very predictable story, sometimes uncannily unrealistic (Do the old ladies never seem to be unnerved by the fact they are breathing in water..?, or do 5 year old kids really fall in true love..? or what type of mother would leave her 5 year old kid home alone during a storm..?). The movie was challenged with pacing problems, such as the scene with the family on the boat near the middle-end, and Ponyo stops the baby from crying or something, I still haven't figured out why Miyazaki made us watch that. Visual effects weren't as stunning as Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle, especially the opening scenes, in which I felt the jellyfish weren't detailed anough and looked flat. However, a nice and fun enough movie for the family, and will at least leave you feeling good. Funny enough at places, and I guess if you love Miyazaki to bits (like me), you should watch this movie just for the sake of it. Expand
  50. AaronW
    Apr 18, 2010
    9
    A true decent into beauty, this film swirls within the fantastic while keeping a charming and ingenious story with many small laughs and deep character moments. The movie is a visual wonder, dancing in colors and beautiful artwork that belongs in an art museum. Hayao Miyazaki has truely done it again in this true wonder. The films only shortcoming is the length of some of its scenes. It A true decent into beauty, this film swirls within the fantastic while keeping a charming and ingenious story with many small laughs and deep character moments. The movie is a visual wonder, dancing in colors and beautiful artwork that belongs in an art museum. Hayao Miyazaki has truely done it again in this true wonder. The films only shortcoming is the length of some of its scenes. It seems a tad stretched out at moments, but the films childlike charms, beautiful artistry, and lighthearted but surprisingly deep and heartfelt plot make that easy to ignore. This movie is a truely charming fantasy that you cannot go without seeing. Expand
  51. AndrewMannMann
    Aug 14, 2009
    6
    I knew Disney was going to ruin this film by having voice actors that are related to those who we want to forget (e.g. Miley Cirus and the Jonas Brothers, I really hate these four idiotic dopes). Miyazaki, what were you thinking? Do you know that Disney is horrible now? Other than that, Ponyo is an okay film.
  52. NachoC
    Aug 15, 2009
    5
    I love the directors previous films, but I have a problem with his repetitive work. Also, it had a poorly chosen English voice cast that doesn't compare to the Japanese version. Sadly, Ponyo didn't feel as fresh as Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited away, instead it felt like a spin off of Totoro.
  53. CameronM
    Aug 15, 2009
    10
    I have always loved Miyazaki films and I was slightly hesitant going into "Ponyo". What I came out with was a euphoria beyond words. This movie represents all that is great in a masterpiece. Perfect characters are only followed by perfect dubbing and animation... not to mention the beautiful music that made it all come together. Let's be honest... there are a lot of crap movies I have always loved Miyazaki films and I was slightly hesitant going into "Ponyo". What I came out with was a euphoria beyond words. This movie represents all that is great in a masterpiece. Perfect characters are only followed by perfect dubbing and animation... not to mention the beautiful music that made it all come together. Let's be honest... there are a lot of crap movies coming out these days (Transformers 2, every "horror movie", every "spoof/mockumentary"), but it is films like "Ponyo" that make one believe in movies and humanity all over again. Love and possibility linger after this experience. Expand
  54. BrianE
    Aug 22, 2009
    9
    This was a ridiculously cute movie, and I loved the use of what looked like colored pencil backgrounds. There is an incredible amount of movement going on in every frame. It still doesn
  55. CarrieW
    Sep 16, 2009
    10
    Our family, mom, dad and three little girls (7,4, and 2) went to see this in the theater and loved it! Since then, my husband downloaded the Japanese language subtitled version and we have probably watched it at least a dozen times again and my kids sit through the ENTIRE thing enthralled. AND, we as parents actually enjoy sitting through it time after time. I think we like the subtitled Our family, mom, dad and three little girls (7,4, and 2) went to see this in the theater and loved it! Since then, my husband downloaded the Japanese language subtitled version and we have probably watched it at least a dozen times again and my kids sit through the ENTIRE thing enthralled. AND, we as parents actually enjoy sitting through it time after time. I think we like the subtitled version even more than the English version. It is really thought provoking for adults. I find myself thinking about its subtle messages during the day. My girls are drawn to it as well because the characters are funny and cute - but it's more than that - there is a magical quality that is missing from most kids movies today that it possesses. Go see it and give it a chance! Expand
  56. patrickh
    Sep 27, 2009
    10
    A simply delightful and charming film. I'm a late-comer to Miyazaki's magic and I'll admit that his work took a little getting used to, especially the fluid nature of some of his characters, such as the Great Forest Spirit in 'Princess Mononoke, but once I was able to let go and ride with the story I was hooked. I've seen 'Ponyo' 6 times at the theatre A simply delightful and charming film. I'm a late-comer to Miyazaki's magic and I'll admit that his work took a little getting used to, especially the fluid nature of some of his characters, such as the Great Forest Spirit in 'Princess Mononoke, but once I was able to let go and ride with the story I was hooked. I've seen 'Ponyo' 6 times at the theatre and by far the largest proportion of the audience were in their young twenties, followed by older adults and the smallest segment were young children, and the majority of them seemed slightly more than amused. In my opinion, this movie really is aimed at the adults who remember the magical world of the young, the intensity of friendship and are well aware of our impact on this planet. 'Ponyo' is another treasure from studio ghibli. Expand
  57. Aug 26, 2010
    8
    To make a movie where both adults and children can sit together and smile with the same wonderment is something that Miyazaki has mastered, and "Ponyo" is sure to capture both your heart and your imagination. That being said, this movie is certainly no "My Neighbor Totoro" because simple glee is compromised for a rather confusing and uninvolved plot.
  58. May 1, 2011
    6
    It's cute and harmless, with colorful visuals and delightful imagery surrounding every frame. On a story level, it's Miyazaki's weakest film, with some flimsy characters and dialogue. But with a track record like Studio Ghibli, it's not something to hold against them.
  59. Sep 27, 2013
    8
    Beautifully animated with all the style and grace of Miyazaki’s work. It is distinctively his own and I hope nobody ever tries to copy it. I saw it in the ‘Americanised’ Disney version with some well known names in the cast. For me though, I feel it always loses something; I would have rather seen it with its original Japanese soundtrack. For some reason, that gives it a little moreBeautifully animated with all the style and grace of Miyazaki’s work. It is distinctively his own and I hope nobody ever tries to copy it. I saw it in the ‘Americanised’ Disney version with some well known names in the cast. For me though, I feel it always loses something; I would have rather seen it with its original Japanese soundtrack. For some reason, that gives it a little more authenticity and also makes it a little more mystical. But the English language version was ok too with the likes of Cate Blanchett as Granmamere, Liam Neeson as Fujimoto, Tina Fey as Lisa, Matt Damon as Kôichi, Frankie Jonas as Sôsuke and (of course) Noah Lindsey Cyrus as Ponyo. They all did a pretty good job. I very much liked to music by Joe Hisaishi as well, it has a great feel to it and fits the visuals really well. Over all, although I’m far from the target audience, I have to say I really enjoyed this engaging mystical tale. Maybe one for a very young audience, which proves I must be young at heart, but certainly a worthy watch.

    SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

    My score: 8.2/10.
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  60. Apr 22, 2011
    7
    Though it's not Miyazaki's best film, Ponyo is still an enchantingly imaginative film for children of all ages. Pros: Beautifully animated; rich, colorful visuals; thoroughly charming. Cons: It's less rewarding than a Miyazaki film should be.
  61. Sep 7, 2011
    9
    A spellbinding movie that keeps it's magic throughout its entirety. Even when the movie seems to lag in the middle, the mother's line (played almost perfectly by Tina Fey), "life is mysterious and beautiful" (or something to that effect) picks it right back up. A modern Japanese mystical take on an old classic take, Ponyo will almost make you want to cry in its simple, sheer beauty.
  62. j30
    Oct 7, 2011
    7
    A cute movie and interesting retelling of The Little Mermaid.
  63. Oct 4, 2011
    10
    Amazing, the dub in Spanish is good, impressive animation, it is very charming, pretty and funny, A masterpiece by Hayao Miyasaki, I hope he will continue making this kind of movies.
  64. Jan 26, 2015
    3
    Extremely Slow. I think it could have been done in 60 minutes with a little faster pace. Really disapointed specially because I saw the 7,5 from the user score than normally is pretty fair compared to my film-taste
  65. Xon
    Jun 30, 2013
    9
    Ponyo continues Ghbili's ode to nature and the magic of imagination. This film will delight youngsters and adults interested in a modern fable about innocence and identity. This film does not embrace the lofty themes of Spirited Away or Mononoke. However, the film is a delight.
  66. Jan 29, 2012
    8
    A rare, pure movie to watch and a back to form for the studio. Its divided between two worlds, the ocean and land. Its in the ocean that the beauty of the movie lies, its so full of life that you cannot believe that this was hand drawn. There is an ecological agenda, but it is not too over done to shift the focus to it rather than to the fantasy. The western voice casting can be a bit hitA rare, pure movie to watch and a back to form for the studio. Its divided between two worlds, the ocean and land. Its in the ocean that the beauty of the movie lies, its so full of life that you cannot believe that this was hand drawn. There is an ecological agenda, but it is not too over done to shift the focus to it rather than to the fantasy. The western voice casting can be a bit hit and miss, and some parts can be a bit too young for some, but its still very fun and highly recommendable. Expand
  67. May 28, 2012
    10
    This Is My Favorite Studio Ghibli Movie!
    The Animation Is Amazing I Love How Cute The Plot Is! A Great Story And Movie For Kids! Watch More Movies Like This And Less About Talking Cars!
  68. Jan 6, 2014
    8
    Alegre e visualmente deslumbranteAlegre e visualmente deslumbrante Expand
  69. Jan 17, 2013
    6
    i love Ghibli i really do i love Totoro and Spirited away and Mononoke and all of them but Ponyo just isn't up to standards its too drawn out and the characters were not that likable Ponyo's father could be removed from the movie and with higher expectations for the voice cast this time so that's also disappointing
  70. Jan 23, 2013
    7
    This is a cute little movie that encapsulates imagination of the ocean and innocence of youth. I suspect Mark Twain would have liked this movie as it has many similarities to Huckleberry Finn.
  71. Jan 12, 2013
    7
    I really enjoyed watching this movie. There's no question that it is fun to watch and everything you see is done perfectly. My only complaint was the story. The actual plot line was barely there for me. I KINDA got what was going on but yet didn't fully get how or why things were happening. Also it was kinda weird for me to think a little girl fell in love with a little boy and that thereI really enjoyed watching this movie. There's no question that it is fun to watch and everything you see is done perfectly. My only complaint was the story. The actual plot line was barely there for me. I KINDA got what was going on but yet didn't fully get how or why things were happening. Also it was kinda weird for me to think a little girl fell in love with a little boy and that there was some kind of romance there. Other than that it was a great movie.

    So in a nutshell if you are looking for a movie that will satisfy your need for an in-dept story that will take you on an amazing visual adventure Ponyo will only meet you half way. It's great if you don't really want to think about what your seeing and just want to see cool stuff happen.
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  72. Jan 20, 2013
    7
    As far as Miyazaki, I never found the plot of this film to be quite as engaging compared to his other works. Still, it is a great film with amazing visuals and colorful characters.
  73. Feb 13, 2014
    9
    Ponyo was one if the best movies I've seen in the last week. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone. Studio Ghibli did a great job with this movie.
  74. Aug 4, 2014
    10
    This movie kind of reminds me of Winnie the Pooh: there isn't much of a plot, but it is just so charming and innocent, and the animation is just so adorable, that I would feel too guilty giving it anything less than the best score I can possibly give it.

    Especially in a movie industry filled with countless action-filled movies and romantic comedies and heartbreaking serious movies, a
    This movie kind of reminds me of Winnie the Pooh: there isn't much of a plot, but it is just so charming and innocent, and the animation is just so adorable, that I would feel too guilty giving it anything less than the best score I can possibly give it.

    Especially in a movie industry filled with countless action-filled movies and romantic comedies and heartbreaking serious movies, a movie as innocent as Ponyo is something to cherish.
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  75. May 22, 2013
    6
    Ponyo is probably the sweetest animation i've ever seen. I had really big expectations and i really enjoyed it! I missed the drama, the action.... There are few things that could make this movie a masterpiece, but it's really not one of the best. The test on the end was really weird and could be a lot better! I highly recommend it to all kids and Ghibli fans! Unfortunately i give it a 6/10Ponyo is probably the sweetest animation i've ever seen. I had really big expectations and i really enjoyed it! I missed the drama, the action.... There are few things that could make this movie a masterpiece, but it's really not one of the best. The test on the end was really weird and could be a lot better! I highly recommend it to all kids and Ghibli fans! Unfortunately i give it a 6/10 because i think it could be a lot better. Expand
  76. Mar 24, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Ponyo is sweet and innocent, but I would rate this as a rather mixed bag. I actually thought this movie was quite short. But honestly, I like this movie in many ways. Expand
  77. Mar 23, 2013
    10
    Just So Cute And Charming! The Best Animated Film Of 2009!
  78. Jul 6, 2013
    8
    With its charms of a kid fairytale-like film, "Ponyo" is visually inventive and wonderfully scored. With its story towards the more confusing, and weaker side, it's charming characters are sure to help win over. To watch Ponyo is watching not Miyazaki's finest, but probably most charming.
  79. Jun 1, 2014
    9
    Ponyo is a really awesome movie, it had a really good story, loveable characters and jaw dropping scenery. I feel that the movie Ponyo is just so cute and beautiful in every way.
  80. Jul 6, 2014
    8
    4 stars but 5 if you're watching in japanese with overdubs. The "inspired choice" of using big-name hollywood actors for voices, a rising tradition in big-budget animations, fails here. In Japan, voice-acting is a respected and coveted discipline, and the artistic integrity of it is important. In Japanese, the voices were appropriate and made me laugh, or cry, at moments, purely on4 stars but 5 if you're watching in japanese with overdubs. The "inspired choice" of using big-name hollywood actors for voices, a rising tradition in big-budget animations, fails here. In Japan, voice-acting is a respected and coveted discipline, and the artistic integrity of it is important. In Japanese, the voices were appropriate and made me laugh, or cry, at moments, purely on delivery alone. In english, the voice acting was 'ok' at best, and distracting (Liam Neeson) at worst.
    Visually this is a stunning film, and the plot, while it loses something in it's third quarter, is at least original, despite it's origins.
    You can't really trump a Miyazaki film for explorative imaginative scenes, and the best of these are during the water-boating/flood sequences, with a plethora of extinct sealife exposed.
    Despite a weak end and lack of an antagonist or any real danger, a solid recommend from me. Just watch in Japanese if you can deal with subtitles.
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  81. Nov 5, 2014
    6
    i likde the movie for a while, but the it stated off scare me! When ponya ate that ham that they gave her, cabannalmism, I GOT SO SCARED but even worse the parent are scared me again the mom was a towerging giant in the film, and the dad scared me. he walk all the way to there house JUST to see her. i got scared.
  82. Jun 30, 2015
    7
    Studio Ghibli's gives us again their imagination with this original and fun piece of work. The story is great, incredibly imaginative and it's really entertaining to watch. Nevertheless, don't forget this is a movie for kids, so some adults may feel bored or simply think it's just stupid. I think this is the most 'for kids' movie they have ever made, or maybe it has something hidden that IStudio Ghibli's gives us again their imagination with this original and fun piece of work. The story is great, incredibly imaginative and it's really entertaining to watch. Nevertheless, don't forget this is a movie for kids, so some adults may feel bored or simply think it's just stupid. I think this is the most 'for kids' movie they have ever made, or maybe it has something hidden that I don't yet see. But, anyway, it is entertaining, it has nice (very original) characters, it's a little like the Finding Nemo of Studio Ghibli. It is very different in many ways, but there are some cool similarities. Watch it if you like animated films. Expand
  83. May 25, 2015
    6
    This is a weird movie, and not weird as in unique or imaginitive, although I suppose it is those as well. Unlike, say, Spirited Away, it isn't the good kind of weird. I mean, it's not that interesting or anything. Still, it's far from garbage. I suppose it's more enjoyable for kids but there wasn't enough here to keep me interested. MY score: 5.5/10. There are a few good parts but it'sThis is a weird movie, and not weird as in unique or imaginitive, although I suppose it is those as well. Unlike, say, Spirited Away, it isn't the good kind of weird. I mean, it's not that interesting or anything. Still, it's far from garbage. I suppose it's more enjoyable for kids but there wasn't enough here to keep me interested. MY score: 5.5/10. There are a few good parts but it's barely above mediocre. Expand
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    80
    It's a movie for anyone who, like Miyazaki himself, can still happily commune with his inner five-year-old.
  2. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    90
    Though targeted at tots, Ponyo may appeal most to jaded adults thirsty for wondrous beauty and unpackaged innocence
  3. Don't tell Walt Disney, but Hayao Miyazaki really holds the keys to the magic kingdom.