Studio Ghibli

film 3 of 9

Pom Poko

Draft Review by Dean Duncan Aug 6, 2015

Hayao Miyazaki is so great, but you’ve got to admit that he’s made some pretty strange films; his old colleague Isao Takahata is probably less known over here: he’s also so great, & quite distinctly; style & sensibility aside though, Pom Poko gives ample evidence that he can be every bit as weird as his more celebrated counterpart!

Can I just say that this is by far the most testicles that I have ever seen in a movie? Don’t worry though: these are folkloric testicles, so everything is going to be okay …

Activism, which the world needs so badly & multiply, can be so heavy-handed & humourless, so self-satisfied, & discourteous to contrary views; how bracing then that this deeply convicted piece of essential environmental advocacy is also so sensitive to the complexity of the issues, so burstingly energetic, so joyful in the midst of its fear & anger & regret;

Pom Poko features a cataclysmic environmental disaster—not Hiroshima cataclysmic, but like the one, say, in Watership Down, or the rain storm in Microcosmos; it’s a disaster that shows us how little it takes to utterly decimate the habitat of our fellow creatures from the animal kingdom;

That’s so profound, protagonistically! It’s like Horton Hears a Who, or Things Fall Apart, it’s a perspective that we might never even have considered, but which we can’t now escape from;

Is that perspective, or perspectives? The aftermath or aftershocks from this disaster (relating to the development of that theme park) comprise a number of different responses, depending on the characters involved, rooted in a number of possible political, ideological, philosophical responses; reminds me of nothing so much as the amazing 2nd book of Paradise Lost, in which several fallen angels set forth particular proposals as to what they might do next, how they might live, & what it all might mean—the kids’ll like this one; the bigger folks might consider it as a subject for their upcoming dissertation …