Disney just released the first U.S. trailer for Hayao Miyazaki’s new flick Ponyo, complete with English voice actors and a whole lot of trippy shit. I’d tell you not to bother seeing it in the theater, except that Disney is already doing a fine job of that, since they’ll be releasing the DVD of Ponyo a month before the film premieres in the U.S. Making the theatrical release utterly irrelevant. Which is fine in the sense that Ponyo is clearly fucking insane in the way that is whimsical and somehow reasonable to mass Japanese audiences, but kind of terrifying to mass U.S. audiences.
So why bother with a theatrical release at all? Because Miyazaki has won one Academy Award for Best Animated Feature before (for the justly acclaimed Spirited Away) and should have won a lot more. So is Disney hoping for a second Oscar? No, because like all Pixar films, Up has it in the bag (it might deserve it this time, I haven’t seen either Up or Ponyo). I’m dead certain that Disney is legally required to release all of Miyazaki’s films in theaters as per their contract with Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki’s studio, who want the Oscars. Disney doesn’t give a shit. Which is why they’re releasing the DVD early. They don’t expect to make money on Ponyo’s theatrical release, and they don’t even care to try. I will be shocked if Ponyo is released in more than 100 studios.
And that’s the reason why I’m going off on theis rant; maybe Ponyo is too fucking weird for US families to see, but Spirited Away should have been in as many theaters as any Pixar film. Howl’s Moving Castle should have too, although that film kind of sucked — Disney should have thought it deserved a chance. It just sucks that one of the world’s best filmmakers (listen to Pixar’s John Lasseter talk about the man, and you know who he thinks is the master) has signed a deal with Disney, one of the world’s biggest film studios, and Disney just buries the films whether they’re suited for American audiences or not. Grr.
End of rant. Ponyo seriously freaks me out. I have very little drug experience, but I imagine this trailer is exactly like being on LSD.