Ponyo Reviews

Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
July 6, 2010
Even when the film feels murky, Miyazaki's painterly eye keeps things afloat
Top Critic
David Jenkins
Time Out
February 16, 2010
We're drawn under the waves of the sea to a hidden enclave of neon-hued aqualife more vibrant, surreal and enchanting than any of the floating 3D whatsits in 'Avatar'.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Ruth Hessey
MovieTime, ABC Radio National
August 27, 2009
Children will love this. It's classic Miyazaki.
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Andrea Gronvall
Chicago Reader
August 20, 2009
One of the anime master's weaker efforts.
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
August 19, 2009
Ponyo hasn't changed my mind about Miyazaki. But I'm willing to accept and enjoy this little window into the dream life of fish.
Top Critic
Ben Lyons
At the Movies
August 17, 2009
I liked that it wasn't bound by the conventions of normal storytelling and I loved seeing a film that is just hand drawn animation.
Top Critic
Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies
August 17, 2009
I was, I'm afraid, a little lost at times.
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
August 14, 2009
Trippy in the right way, and wholly enchanting.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
August 14, 2009
This exquisite pastel-colored, eye-popping example of hand-drawn animation is still very Japanese, aimed most specifically at children around the world -- but with a storytelling sophistication that adults will savor.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
August 14, 2009
Miyazaki's artwork can be lovely -- and the delicate, watery colors of Ponyo are particularly well done -- but he's still a slave to the genre's peculiar traditions.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
August 14, 2009
Five minutes into this magical film you'll be making lists of the individuals of every age you can expose to the very special mixture of fantasy and folklore, adventure and affection, that make up the enchanted vision of Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 14, 2009
You watch a Miyazaki film with the pie-eyed, gape-mouthed awe of a child being read the most fantastic story and suddenly transported to places previously beyond the limits of imagination. It's quite a trip.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
August 14, 2009
Miyazaki works marvels. Sit back and behold.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Alan Niester
Globe and Mail
August 14, 2009
It's very much a charming kids' film, created by a master of animation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
August 14, 2009
The 68-year-old filmmaker shows that he's at the peak of his skills, both as a visual artist and a storyteller.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
August 14, 2009
Hayao Miyazaki's magical Ponyo blends fantasy with just a drop of reality, and the result is irresistible.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
August 14, 2009
A bright tale of wonder and connection, Ponyo is a reminder that a G rating needn't be a "little kid" designation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
August 14, 2009
When you see Ponyo -- and you must -- be prepared for a movie that doesn't abide by Hollywood rules. This is a tale for children (yes, of all ages) who are ready to be coaxed into another world through simple words and luscious pictures.
Top Critic
Greg Quill
Toronto Star
August 14, 2009
It's a wonderful place that Miyazaki creates, an alternatively sweet and savage world that defies physics and common sense, as imaginative and impossible in its own way as Jules Verne's sci-fi fantasies or Maurice Sendak's animal kingdom.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joanne Kaufman
Wall Street Journal
August 14, 2009
If the plot of Ponyo is small as a minnow, its themes -- the relationship between parent and child, between the young and the elderly, between friends, between man and nature -- are large and fully realized.
Top Critic
Dan Kois
Washington Post
August 14, 2009
Ponyo isn't Hayao Miyazaki's greatest film, but his beautiful, quirky fable has magic other children's movies can't touch.
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
August 14, 2009
When the ocean rises in this wonderful movie, each leaping wave stares out at us with a baleful eye as if in watchful and worried wait.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
August 14, 2009
Even though Ponyo is not one of Miyazaki's great masterpieces (at least from a narrative perspective), it is so beautiful and immersive that it's hard to imagine grown ups not losing themselves in it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
August 14, 2009
It's unlike any other animated feature -- excepting, of course, Miyazaki's own.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
August 13, 2009
With its ever-shifting world and palpable sense of magic, Ponyo captures the wonder of being a child.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
August 13, 2009
If you've never experienced a Miyazaki movie, here's your chance to try one. Come on in. The water's fine.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ronnie Scheib
Variety
August 13, 2009
Ponyo possesses an almost demonic childish energy and a delight in form stronger than reason or narrative.
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
August 13, 2009
Nothing in the great animation of a Miyazaki movie stays cute for long. Not the ocean, not the trees, not the critters that live in them. Change is constant but rarely natural.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Deborah Young
Hollywood Reporter
August 13, 2009
A superb work of Japanese fantasy from animation wizard Miyazaki that transcends age barriers.
Top Critic
Tasha Robinson
AV Club
August 13, 2009
Older kids and even adults are unlikely to get bored, thanks to the story's unforced sweetness, giddy highs, and stunningly beautiful visuals. Even in the unspoiled Devonian, real life never looked this good.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 13, 2009
Ponyo isn't quite as memorable as some of Miyazaki's previous works, but it's a magical experience that's far superior to most animated offerings.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
August 13, 2009
This poetic, visually breathtaking work by the greatest of all animators has such deep charm that adults and children will both be touched. It's wonderful and never even seems to try: It unfolds fantastically.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
August 12, 2009
Don't tell Walt Disney, but Hayao Miyazaki 
really holds the keys to the magic kingdom.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
August 12, 2009
Ponyo has elements of both a classic fairy tale and an environmental message movie, but it shifts as nimbly between those genres as Ponyo herself does from person to goldfish and back again.
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
August 12, 2009
A children's film that's at once overly simplistic and needlessly nonsensical.
Top Critic
Aaron Hillis
Time Out
August 12, 2009
What held in the animator's previous films as eccentrically multifaceted dream logic comes off for once as a series of non sequiturs -- but really, why complain while sucking on an Everlasting Gobstopper of eye candy?
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
August 12, 2009
Charming, amusing and firmly anchored in a child's point of view, this movie from the master animator of Spirited Away makes a great introduction to that acquired-taste style of filmmaking.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
Village Voice
August 11, 2009
It's a movie for anyone who, like Miyazaki himself, can still happily commune with his inner five-year-old.
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 3, 2009
When Miyazaki makes films that decry the threat to the natural world, every molecule onscreen resonates with that belief -- a belief that dissolves the boundaries between form and content.