User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 225 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 225
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  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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!!!!! Collapse
  8. LeoL.
    Apr 25, 2010
    4
    Pretty but not logical and boring. Not up to the creator's usual standard. Story-light.
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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.
  19. 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.