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Alive 5

------------------ An Amazing and Enchanting Tale -----------------

Published by Buena Vista Ent. Inc
Created by Ghibli Studios
Running Time : 2h10
DVD content : movie, chapter selection, audio options, bonus

 Ever since AKIRA, Europe  has been  aware that Japanese  Studios could compete
 with American  moguls like  Disney  in the  field of  animated  movies (called
 animes when it comes to Japanese ones). Tho many are still unknown or just not
 spread in our countries, we've been able to enjoy other  master pieces such as
 Ghost In the Shell or Porco Rosso (another Ghibli production) for instance.

 As their new movie  called Chihiro's Journey has  been given on the big screen
 for several weeks already, I decided to  go forward and buy Princess Mononoke,
 while I had only seen  a trailer. This DVD  release comes as two editions, the
 only difference between them being the presence of a genuine bit of film, what
 doesn't justify the 10 or so Euros rise in price.

 Ghibli Studio has gained a good reputation with their latest animes so that
 Princessc Monoke had a chance  to be enjoyed in  theaters, something not so
 common for Japanese productions.


 Action is set in middleaged Japan, 16th century more precisely. This is a time
 when the country is still  covered with  seemingly endless  forests that hosts
 all sorts of  spirits. Animal gods, mostly  giant  hogs, wolves and deers keep
 protecting  their territory. Unfortunately this  is also a time  of changes as
 humans want to push civilization further  and gain  more space  over  forests.
 That's when the story starts...

 One day, a huge beast, infected by  some evil  spirit, leaves the  forest and
 enters the  humans  territory. It is  stopped before  it reaches a village by
 Ashitaka, a young warrior. But the latter gets wounded in  the fight and gets
 himself gradually infected by the same demon. His only chance to escape death
 (or worse as he could turn into a demon) lies in the most powerful god of the
 forest : a giant deer  with a human  face. That's how  he leaves  on his long

 He finally reaches a river from which he saves two men. Shortly earlier their
 caravan had been attacked by angry animal gods, giant wolves, led by Princess
 Mononoke, a  young girl who lives with beasts. He takes both survivors to the
 fortress where they come from, a giant and blazing forge settled on an island
 and surrounded by vast mountains.

 There he meets  Lady Eboshi, the leader of that community. More than a hundred
 people live here, working  hard  nights and  days, cutting  tress to  feed the
 forge fire that will turn melted metal into deadly weapons. Lad Eboshi doesn't
 hide her ambition : she wants to  erradicate the  entire forest all  around to
 make room  for  so  called 'Civilization'. Of course  her  ennemy  is Princess
 Mononoke who keeps fighting her community.

 As usual, no need to spoil the story and tell you what happens, you jsut have
 to know  that  somehow a  terrible  battle will  take place, opposing  forest
 animals and gods to  a human army... The rest will be known if you watch that
 superb movie.


 There are three major characters, already named above, who clearly represent
 and defend opposed points of views.

LADY EBOSHI perfetcly  embodies 'modern progress'. To here there's no room for
 ancient gods  or protected  territories. All that  matter is  productivity and
 development. And if that implies burning  the whole forest and bannish animals
 from their home, she'll do it without hesitating for the sake of the community
 she leads.

PRINCESS MONONOKE (also known as SAN) : abandoned by her parents she was grown
 by wolves. She leads them  in raids against  humans to protect  the forest. In
 spite of her roots, she  considers herself  an animal and  wants nothing to do
 with humans... except wiping  them  out. The way  she runs and  jumps actually
 makes her look more like an animal than a human being.

ASHITAKA : on his quest to find a  remedy against his curse, he finds out that
 every time he gets angry or aggressive, the stain  that covers his arm extends
 and amplifies the infection. He'll use this to show both parties that rage and
 violence bring nothing but death and mutual destruction.


 This surely one of the  most beautiful  animated  movie ever ! And  when I say
 'beautiful' I feel the word  isn't sufficient  to describe the beauty of these
 forests, vast plains, skies, animals and so on. Unlike most Disney crap, there
 are no computer  aided  animations  every  ten second, actually if there's any
 computer stuff in this movie I  didn't see it at all ! Everything looks like a
 painting with smooth shapes and colors, pure bliss for your eyes !

 The musical score is also awesome with Japaneselike  melodies (hey why not
 trash metal or tekno ?). They underline important situations and perfectly
 complete the graphical feast.

 The storyline is just captivating till the end... More than two hours later !
 I guess it says enough about the movie quality.


 Unlike THE CELL (report to my other DVD review), this one looks really poor...
 The only bonuses are a theatrical trailer and  a 5  minute long "making of" of
 little interest as you'll see the American actors who gave their voices to the
 US version  of  the  anime (who  cares ?). Besides  they all  say it  was "the
 greatest experience of their life" if you see what I mean....

 In spite of these few minuses, PRINCESS MONONOKE is undoubtedly a master piece
 in animation EVERY manga (or even animated movies) fan  HAS to see ! I've seen
 it three times so far and believe it or not, I seldom do that !

-------------------------------------------------------------------------STS - 

Alive 5