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Princess Mononoke  

Ashitaka (Billy Crudup)
San (Princess Mononoke) (Claire Danes)
Lady Eboshi (Minnie Driver)
Moro (Gillian Anderson)
Toki (Jada Pinkett Smith)
Jigo Boh (Billy Bob Thornton)
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki Written by Neil Gaiman
Rated PG-13 for violent images and gore
Running Time: 135 minutes Distributed by Miramax

Princess Mononoke is a unique and well-written Japanese animation film. Mature in theme and mystical in style, Princess Mononoke is set in ancient Japan, a time of Samurai warriors and isolated villages. A war rages in the land. The Taltara clan, forgers of iron, are ravaging the forests. The Great God of the forest gives power to the forest gods to protect their domain against the humans in forms of huge beasts. The story centers around the character of Ashitaka (Crudup), who is the last young warrior of a dying clan. Ashitaka's journey leads him into the middle of the battle between man and nature. Ashitaka believes in peace and wants the Tatara clan and the forest to be able to live together.

Princess Mononoke is an interesting film to watch. Even though the film slow and dragging, the overall experience is pretty amusing. Director Hayao Miyazaki really opens audiences to a story of will and hope. The film's animation has quick and drastic action sequences and beautiful visionary aspects that are bright and colorful.

Princess Mononoke took Japanese filmgoers by storm in the summer of 1997. Just weeks after its release, the animated story of a battle for the future of nature surpassed the previous box office holder, E. T. Princess Mononoke went on to gross more than $150 million dollars in a country with one-half the U. S. population and less than 1/10 the number of screens. The film also won Best Picture at the 1998 Japanese Academy Awards.

I liked the story surrounding this film about man vs. nature. However, the film did get awfully slow at times. Princess Mononoke is an animated feature that is not for young children. It is very bloody and violent due to its battle content. The film is rated PG-13, but maybe should have been considered being rated R. However, most adult audiences will probably like the visual storytelling in Princess Mononoke.

Report Card Grade: B-

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