Studio Ghibli | Distributor Optimum | Certificate PG | Price £14
This deserves its reputation as the jewel in Studio Ghibli’s crown. A film that has grace, colour and momentum in such large measures, it wins over even the most die-hard cartoon-haters.
A film with many layers and a lush visual texture, Mononoke attracted an A-list Hollywood cast to provide voice-over duties. Despite this, Mononoke didn’t become a crossover hit, so now you can enjoy the movie without the hype.
The film starts with a young prince, Ashitaka, fighting off a demon-possessed boar as it attempts to smash up his village. Unfortunately, during the scrap he is touched by the mass of worms that infest the beast and becomes infected with an evil, which will slowly engulf him.
His village has no choice; Ashitaka is exiled and sent to find the cause of the boar’s sickness. His travels bring him to a forest and a town called Irontown. These two are in conflict, the spirit of the forest and the spirit of human progress.
It’s here that he meets Mononoke for the first time, a wild wolf-riding girl from the forest who has vowed to kill the head of Irontown – Lady Eboshi. It seems there’s no compromise possible as Eboshi sets out to kill the spirit of the forest, the only creature able to remove the infection that Ashitaka carries.
If it’s robots and guns you’re after you’re in the wrong department with Mononoke. If you want to see an intelligently written, beautifully animated and engaging movie this one is a must. Actually, if you’re here for the robots, it’s still a must.