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.
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.