Netflix summarizes, "This Japanese anime feature from famed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki follows the adventures of a 5-year-old boy, Sosuke, and his burgeoning friendship with Ponyo, a goldfish princess who desperately wants to become human. After running away from and then being recaptured by her strict father, Ponyo -- with some help from Sosuke -- becomes more determined than ever to make her dreams come true. But will her wishes throw the entire earth off balance?"
Think 'Little Mermaid' meets Japan. This story is told with surprising depth, and still retains light hearted, playful, and fantastical elements. Although the movie is animated, you quickly believe the existence of Ponyo, gfish princess, and her amazing abilities.
I have never been an anime buff, so I came to this movie with little to no knowledge of the genre. What I found was a beautifully illustrated masterpiece. The backgrounds are like Asian art set to motion, carried along by powerful orchestral scores, while the flatter anime characters interact over them. The artwork and music are so strong, the film could be viewed with just as much enjoyment and comprehension in Japanese (although the version I watched was English).
Also impressive is the cast. The estimable Liam Neeson voices Ponyo's father. Betty White, Lily Tomlin, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Cloris Leachman and Tina Fey all lend their voices to the film, as well.
'Ponyo' offers a beautifully crafted, fantastical world that viewers will lose themselves to. An excellent escape from an otherwise dark day!