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PONYO

About The Production
One of the most respected and admired filmmakers working today, Hayao Miyazaki consistently transports moviegoers into worlds of fantasy unlike anything they've experienced. The only foreign director to win the Oscar® for Best Animated Feature, Miyazaki is a hero to animators, animation fans and audiences around the world.

"He is one of the great filmmakers of our time and has been a tremendous inspiration to our generation of animators,” says Lasseter. "At Pixar, when we have a problem that we can't seem to solve, we often look at one of Miyazaki's films.” Miyazaki says the look of the ocean in "PONYO” was significant. "If a child looks at the sea, it could look like a living creature,” says the director. "I made the film with the idea that the ocean is a living thing.”

"It reminded me of when I was on holiday at the beach with my boys,” says Lasseter. "The waves were very different—coming up out of the water and smashing right on the boys. They were scared, so I started giving the waves personality—like they're hiding from the kids and waiting for them to come close and then they'd reach up and get them.

"In ‘PONYO,' Miyazaki actually made the ocean a character,” Lasseter continues. "The waves become creatures and the style of the water is actually very believable for the world that he created.”

"A little seaside town and a house at the top of a cliff. A small cast of characters. The ocean as a living presence,” says Miyazaki. "It's a world where magic and alchemy are accepted as part of the ordinary. The sea below, like our subconscious mind, intersects with the wave-tossed surface above. By distorting normal space and contorting normal shapes, the sea is animated not as a backdrop to the story, but as one of its principal characters.”

Miyazaki's treatment of the natural world in his films reflects his commitment to preserving the Earth. Much of "PONYO” takes place underwater, featuring a beautiful, awe-inspiring ocean that's startling in its majesty. But it is also under assault. Early in the film, Ponyo is actually trapped in an old jar tumbling through the ocean; she's ultimately rescued by her future friend Sosuke.

"‘PONYO' can be seen on lots of different levels,” says Liam Neeson, the voice of Ponyo's environmentalist father. "There's an ecological side to the film that's painted in very graphic detail.”

"That speaks to the kind of stories Miyazaki always tells: he forces us to look at what human beings are doing to the Earth,” says Kathleen Kennedy, executive producer of the English-language version. "There's an underlying message in all of his movies that has to do with conservation and the environment and taking care of the place we live in.”

Of course, Miyazaki's passion extends to the visuals his team creates. Animated features have become increasingly realistic as filmmakers employ computer graphics for life-like, three-dimensional settings and characters. Yet Miyazaki showcases the power of drawn animation to create fantasies, offering a personal vision of an alternate reality. Instead of rendering thousands of individual blades of grass bending in the wind, he suggests a breeze passing over a grassy hillside by moving a rippling line of color over a painted background. The results suggest the difference between poetry and prose. Miyazaki's philosophy was summed up in a sign he once posted for his animation team: "Do everything by hand, even when using a computer.”

Music is an essential element in all of Miyazaki's films. For "PONYO,” the director called on Joe Hisaishi, a frequent Miyazaki collaborator, to compose the film's distinctive score. "When Mr. Hisaishi heard about Ponyo's story he said the melody came to him right away,” says Miyazaki. "He ran back home and started working on it, then played me

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