Reviewed by Stephen Hornbrook
Witness the majesty of the celebrated animator Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece, Princess Mononoke, for the first time ever on Blu-ray High Definition. This exquisitely animated, critically acclaimed adventure from one of the most illustrious filmmakers of all time is now even more spectacular with dazzling HD picture and sound!
A village is attacked by a demon, a god in the shape of a boar who was poisoned by iron mined from another village. After killing the demon and being infected with a deadly curse, a young warrior, the last Emishi prince, named Ashitaka sets out to the forests of the west in search of the cure that will save his life. Once there, he becomes inextricably entangled in a bitter battle that matches Lady Eboshi and a proud clan of humans against the forest’s animal gods…who are led by the brave Princess Mononoke, a young woman raised by wolves. This monumental struggle between man and nature will have you transfixed as stunning artistry blends with epic storytelling to create a uniquely entertaining motion picture.
- 1997, Color, rated: PG-13, 2 hours 13 Minutes
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- English DTS-HD MA 5.1
- Starring: Billy Crudup, Billy bob Thornton, Minnie Driver, John DiMaggio, Claire Danes, John DeMita, Jada Pinkett Smith
- Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
- Violence: Yes
- Sex: No
- Language: No
Princess Mononoke paved the way for further Studio Ghibli releases here in the US. I remember it being one of the few mainstream Japanese Anime releases, and one of the finest films to come out of Japan. The essence of the story is nothing new, one of human vs. nature, but the way it’s told through beautiful artistry is something special. The images of the boar demon, covered in black eel-like creatures is unnerving, haunting and not easy to forget. There is a scary amount of truth to the portrayal of human greed and our ability to destroy nature. There are some great action scenes which I believe helped to propel its success here in the States.
On top of the forest spirits and iron ore mining, the movie is tied together by an incredible score by Joe Hisaishi. It is wonderful to finally have this treasure of a movie on Blu-ray and I highly recommend it.
The picture quality is essentially flawless on this Blu-ray. I can’t imagine any more detail even being extracted from the source material. Like the other Studio Ghibli releases by Disney, the colors are spot on, contrast excellent, and images free of noise and compression artifacts.
This release benefits from a 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track and it is easily the best sounding release of Princess Mononoke to date. Crank this one up and enjoy the sweeping score by Hisaishi.
Original Japanese Storyboards; Original Japanese and English Trailers; Original English Theatrical Trailer; Original TV Spots; Princess Mononoke in the USA – In September of 1999, Princess Mononoke’s director, Hayao Miyazaki traveled to the US and Canada to promote the film’s release. This feature is a record of those events; & Featurette -Jada Pinkett Smith, Claire Danes, Billy Bob Thornton, Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup talk about acting in the English voice cast in Princess Mononoke.