Sunday, July 26, 2009

I missed ComicCon, but I did see Miyazaki in person!

Well, I got to see Ponyo by the Sea/Ponyo on a Cliff (whatever they're calling it in English) a month early, and it's a beautiful but strange film. It seems a more eccentric, more upbeat version of Hans Christian Anderson's "A Little Mermaid" with an environmental twist. It had a lot more humor in it than most Miyazaki films; Tina Fey in the English dub plays the hilarious, feisty young mother who doesn't really resemble any character Miyazaki's done before. The drawing is purposefully childlike, different that the ethereal, elegant drawings in Howl's Moving Castle. The two main characters are five years old, so a lot of the movie is geared towards a very young person's aesthetic; the themes are similar to those in Princess Mononoke. I enjoyed watching it with children in the audience; their delighted laughter behind me reminded me that they were the real audience for this film.

Hayao Miyazaki, with a translator and in a conversation led by Roland Kelts (who wrote Japanamerica) gave a wonderful hour-and-a-half talk in which he discussed advice for young animators ("Draw what you see in life; then give a more experienced artist your drawing and ask for a tough critique") and his frequent roles for strong women ("There are so many strong women now, I might have to start making films about little boys!) as well as his views about apocalypse (generally, he's pro?)and how natural disasters can bring people together. He laughed a lot, expertly evaded questions like "which character in your films do you most resemble," and was generally really fun to watch.

Berkeley itself is a beautiful campus and the weather was lovely and cool.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Happy Potter Movie, Comic Con, Miyazaki in Berkeley

It's a banner week for geekiness!

Saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and besides leaving out (spoiler alert) Dumbledore's funeral - which would have been really easy to film - and the final fight between the kids and the death eaters - and some really important Voldemort flashbacks about his really sad family that would have revealed where and what the horcruxes were - I thought it was fairly competent.

Just getting excited to hear all the announcements and gossip from Comic Con, and excited for my trip next weekend to see Ponyo by the Sea and see Hayao Miyazaki give a lecture up in Berkeley.