User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 202 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 202

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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 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. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 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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  6. Oct 24, 2010
    10
    every movie Hayao Miyazaki makes kick a**! this movie is definitely the right movie for kids and adults.
  7. 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). 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. j30
    Oct 7, 2011
    7
    A cute movie and interesting retelling of The Little Mermaid.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 hit and miss, and some parts can be a bit too young for some, but its still very fun and highly recommendable. Expand
  14. 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!
  15. Jan 6, 2014
    8
    Alegre e visualmente deslumbrante Expand
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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 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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  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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
    movie as innocent as Ponyo is something to cherish. Expand
  22. 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 6/10 because i think it could be a lot better. Expand
  23. Mar 24, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers. 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. Collapse
  24. Mar 23, 2013
    10
    Just So Cute And Charming! The Best Animated Film Of 2009!
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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 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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  28. 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.
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.