Movie Review: No 98. Princess Mononoke

Movie Review: No 98. Princess Mononoke

Worst. Movie. Ever.

I’m not even exaggerating. I’ve watched a shedload of terrible movies since I started this challenge but none, not even ‘Once Upon a Time in the West‘, can compare to the sheer shiteness of this piece of Japanese garbage.

To be fair, anime is clearly not my thing. I don’t even remotely get it. I’m all for creativity and imagination, but the animes I’ve seen all play out like unedited, disjointed nightmares rather than imaginative stories.

Where else would you see rattling ‘Scream’ masks paired with Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer? Or a glowing blue Godzilla with a blind (but not mute) wild boar with the worst case of worms you’ve ever seen? An obsession with decapitations (in some cases, resulting from the firing of a single arrow) and the goofiest looking spirit this side of ‘Spirited Away‘ just add to the ranting lunacy of the whole thing.

The most baffling thing, however, has got to be the cast list. I decided to watch the dubbed version rather than sit through more subtitles, but it wasn’t till after the film that I realised the Nigella-esque villainess was none other than Minnie Driver, the heroine Clare Danes, and the strangely sassy black woman (in Japanese woman’s clothing), Jada Pinkett-Smith. Bearing in mind that this film was made in the 90s, those were some big names of the day. Why they agreed to degrade themselves in this fashion is beyond me, but I’m sure it was at least partially responsible for Minnie’s subsequent fall from grace and Clare Danes’ demotion to the small screen.

They make a whimpering pass at a love story too, but it misses the mark so badly that it’s hard to even tell it’s there, and beyond that I refuse to dignify it with any further comment.

Prince Ashitaka: [opening his eyes] You’re… beautiful…
[San gasps, jumps back]
San’s Wolf Brother: What is it, San? Want me to crunch his face off?

If that all wasn’t bad enough then, please, sit back and relax while they try to jam a moral down your throat too. I mean, I’m assuming there was a moral in there. The story wavers all over the place so it’s really hard to tell whether, in the end, it’s okay to shoot someone’s head off with a bow and arrow as long as you’re doing it for the environment. Or, you know, whether it’s okay to toss someone off a high wall onto the jagged rocks below as long as it’s in the interests of peace.

I’ve thought about this movie from all the usual perspectives. When I’m rating my movies I often loosely base my ratings on a number of categories such as visual appeal, originality, the quality of the story, how well the story is written and how well the story is told, the acting ability, whether it held my attention throughout, whether it made me think or feel something and, more generally, whether I actually liked it. In the case of ‘Princess Mononoke’ I couldn’t think of one single redeeming feature to render the film worthy of even a single slice of pumpkin. It didn’t even inspire hatred in me. It just inspired irritation.

So, if you’ve got 2 hours to waste, please be my guest. At least you can multitask by watching the grass grow at the same time…

0 pumpkins.

Have you seen ‘Princess Mononoke’? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.

4 responses »

  1. Could it be a sense of impending closure that is making it harder to enjoy? Here’s a question for you now that you’re almost done. What 2 or 3 movies do you wish you’d left til last?

    • Hmm… interesting question. I suppose it doesn’t matter much because I’d have to watch them all anyway. But, maybe leaving some of the shorter movies till last would have made the process more tolerable! Most of the Top 100 movies are over 2 hours long!

      As for the sense of impending closure – I don’t think so. There’s no possible circumstance I can think of that would make me enjoy this film! Then again, perhaps I am becoming less tolerant of rubbish films because I’ve seen so many good ones!

      • I was thinking more like the ‘impression’ I am getting that the latter reviews seem to have been harsher. Could be wrong but that’s a vague impression. Perhaps you either consciously or unconsciously watched those that might be more appealing at the start. I’d like to see the pumpkin graph though. It would be interesting.

      • Check out the ‘Movies’ tab – you can do your analysis there! Perhaps I am getting harsher… Although my average ranking is currently sitting at 7.11 which seems rather reasonable to me. The average imdb ranking is only 8.52…

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