Featured In Issue 147, March/April 2010

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
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Hayao Miyazaki, John Lasseter, Brad Lewis & Peter Sohn
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Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Ponyo (Gake no ue no Ponyo) is inspired by the classic Hans Christian Anderson story "The Little Mermaid." The story tells of a five-year-old boy named Sosuke (voiced by Jonas). Walking to the beach near his home, Sosuke finds a beautiful goldfish trapped in a bottle. He releases the tiny creature and, sure that she is no ordinary fish, names his new friend Ponyo (voiced by Cyrus). As Ponyo and Sosuke grow closer, she reveals to him that she is the daughter of a powerful wizard (voice by Neeson) and a sea goddess (voiced by Blanchett), and magically transforms herself into a real human girl. But by crossing from her watery world onto land, Ponyo has created a dangerous imbalance in nature. As the moon begins to draw closer to the earth, sea levels rise and a giant tsunami threatens to destroy Sosuke's home. Ponyo's father marshals all his might to find his missing daughter, as the two children embark on an adventure of a lifetime to try and save the world. (Gary Reber)

Special features include a disc introduction to Ponyo (HD 03:22); The World Of Ghibli featurette—an interactive behind-the-studio experience that includes a conversation with Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter (HD 03:33), creating Ponyo (HD 03:58), Ponyo & Fujimoto (HD 02:59), The Nursery (HD 02:00), and the Producer's Perspective: Telling The Story (HD 02:28); The Locations Of Ponyo (HD 09:35); Scoring Miyazaki (HD 07:19); Behind the microphone: The Voices Of Ponyo (HD 06:04); original Japanese trailers; "Enter The Lands"—a multi-layered interactive introduction to the characters and Ponyo's Land, Kiki's Land, Castle's Land, and Totoro's Land; up-front previews; and BD Live functionality.

The 1080p 1.85:1 AVC picture is reminiscent of the look seen in comic books and children's books, with a soft color palette filling in sharp lines of animated figures and objects. The hues are pure, vivid, rich, and warm. Contrast is excellent, with deep blacks, which are scarce, instead, with deep grays and blues. Numerous scenes are impressively bright and colorful, with a range of hues that fascinate. The imagery is sharp and perfectly pristine in clarity, with no distracting artifacts, such as edge enhancement. This is an amazingly beautiful animated picture that is absolutely visually captivating. Children and adults will be fascinated and enthralled. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is wonderful, with an excellent natural balance between the various sound elements. Dialogue, while ADR, is nicely executed, with acceptable spatial integration and excellent intelligibility. The dialogue is effectively directionalized as well. The orchestral music score is beautifully recorded, with a wide and deep soundstage that resonates throughout the soundfield, providing an aggressive holosonic® experience. Atmospheric and sound effects are nicely executed, though, predominately frontal focused, except for instances of rainstorms and swelling sea. Bass response is full and solid in the 40 Hz range, but at times, extends lower in the .1 LFE channel. This is a superb soundtrack that never shouts out but is refined and carried by the music and dialogue, to tell this lovely story. (Gary Reber)