Movie Review: Princess Mononoke

Hello dear readers, it has been a while. Today’s Ghibli review is for Princess Mononoke. It has been suggested to me by a few people, so I knew I had to watch it as soon as possible. It was a lot less innocent than the rest of the Ghibli movies I have seen already, but it was a great movie in itself.

If you are interested in my other Studio Ghibli movies that I have reviewed, you can see them here:

Spirited Away My Neighbor Totoro Ponyo Kiki’s Delivery Service

And, as always, if you want to chat about books, movies, or anything else, make sure to follow me on social media!
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Title: Princess Mononoke
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★★☆

In the 14th century, the harmony that humans, animals and gods have enjoyed begins to crumble. The protagonist, young Ashitaka – infected by an animal attack, seeks a cure from the deer-like god Shishigami. In his travels, he sees humans ravaging the earth, bringing down the wrath of wolf god Moro and his human companion Princess Mononoke. Hiskattempts to broker peace between her and the humans brings only conflict.


Blood and Gore

I was quite surprised when a Giant Boar Demon’s head was sliced in half early on in this movie. The rest of the Ghibli movies I had seen were relatively family friendly.

They had moments that might have been seen as “violent” but I would let any kid watch them.

Princess Mononoke was a lot different though. I wouldn’t say it was excessively violent or bloody, and some moments had that family friendly feeling to it, but it is definitely violent.

Even though it is rather violent, it still comes off as a fun light-hearted movie. Some of the sub-story lines would be harder to understand, but the core of the movie is simple.


One With Nature

I don’t fancy myself as a religious or overly spiritual person, but I am a big fan of the Ghibli movies having the idea of “spirits” that inhabit the world.

Princess Mononoke doesn’t have as strong of a spirit presence as other Ghibli movies, but I like the idea that the forest’s animals are more sentient and have conscious thought.

Man vs. Nature is one of the forms of conflict, and is probably one of my favourite. It simplifies down to technology vs. animalistic behavior.

Base instinct and raw power vs. technology and strategy. It’s a simple concept but the storytelling possibilities are nearly endless.


Simple Story

Princess Mononoke‘s story is simple at its core. Humans vs. Nature.

The recent human settlement, now a mining town, is at war with the wolves and other animals of the forest.

One man, Ashitaka, is trying to stop the war and find peace amongst the two warring sides.

He is caught in the middle of a war between three factions, but still holds true to himself.

I wouldn’t say there was a lot of character growth in this movie. For the most part they seem to stay true to the characteristics, which is fine.

Not every movie needs to have a great amount of character growth, but it’s always nice to see it when it happens.


Final Thoughts

There are some stories that just wouldn’t work as a live-action movie, and I think Princess Mononoke is one of those movies.

It has a reliance on animal spirits that wouldn’t make for a great live-action adaptation in my opinion.

The more I think about this movie, the darker it really is. I wouldn’t recommend it for any young children, but teenagers would be fine with it.


What did you think of Princess Mononoke? Do you have any recommendations of Ghibli movies to watch next? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
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