Movie Review: PRINCESS MONONOKE (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray + CD

PRINCESS MONONOKE was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and features the voice talents of Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Jada Pinkett Smith and Billy Bob Thornton. The classic animated adventure was produced by Toshio Suzuki and features music composed by Joe Hisaishi.

Inflicted with a deadly curse, the young warrior Ashitaka heads west in search of a cure. There, he stumbles into a bitter conflict between Lady Eboshi and the proud people of Iron Town, and the enigmatic Princess Mononoke, a young girl raised by wolves, who will stop at nothing to prevent the humans from destroying her home, and the forest spirits and animal gods who live there.

This 1997 anime fantasy takes place in 14th century Japan and follows Ashitaka who kills a demon before it attacks his village but he’s left cursed by the demonic beast and is banished by his own people due to fear. He leaves peacefully and sets out on a journey to the west in hopes to find a cure. Along the way he hears a rumor that the Great Forest Spirit could possibly heal him. Ashitaka ends up meeting Lady Eboshi, the leader of Irontown who welcomes him in along with her people. She’s at war with a wolf pack that’s led by the mysterious wolf goddess Moro. There’s also San, a young girl who rides one of the wolves and when these two women clash in front of Ashitaka, he quickly stops the feud before things get deadly but in doing so he’s also left mortally wounded.

Ashitaka leaves with San to keep the peace but he doesn’t make it back to her home because of his life-threatening injury and this is when San decides to help save him even though she’s really not a fan of humans – even though she’s one herself. The two slowly become close as he heals and then the mysterious Great Forest Spirit finally reveals itself to them. What happens is, some of the local warriors attack the magical creature and when they try to kill it, it goes on the defensive and becomes the deadly nightwalker. Now darkness is spreading and it’s killing everything it comes in contact with but Ashitaka and San know how to stop it and when they do it’s almost like the Great Forest Spirit starts healing everything it came in contact with before and has given it all a new beginning and this includes Ashitaka because his curse has finally been lifted.

This limited-edition set comes housed in an elegant hard slipcase and includes a new 40-page book with stunning art and essays. The set’s 40-page book features new essays by film critic Glenn Kenny alongside amazing imagery and statements from director Hayao Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki, and Miyazaki’s poems about the characters. Featured in a deluxe disc portfolio will be a Blu-ray of the film paired with hours of special features, and the film’s soundtrack made available on CD for the first time in North America.

Bottom line is, Princess Mononoke ended up being another first time watch for me even though it’s a movie that I’ve heard so much about over the years. The story is extremely deep and the characters are so interesting that you forget you’re actually watching an animated movie as it pulls you into this amazing world. It’s all about these characters and creatures ultimately coming together for a greater cause while some finally see the error of their ways. It’s also about redemption and new beginnings. The voice cast did a great job with their characters and this is old school anime style under the direction of Hayao Miyazaki who delivered a masterpiece for the ages. Shout! Factory has partnered up with GKIDS and Studio Ghibli to bring this epic anime classic to the U.S. in a beautiful 2-disc set that is a must have for the fans. The soundtrack is also included on this stunning release. Princess Mononoke will be available on a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray + CD on May 14th.

Distributor: Shout! Factory (GKIDS and Studio Ghibli)

Run Time: 133 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 / French Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English, English SDH and French

Special Features: The extras include storyboards, eight theatrical trailers, thirteen TV spots and two making of featurettes that includes interviews with the cast and crew.

  • Feature-Length Storyboards (2:13:28)
  • Original Theatrical Trailers (16:26)
  • TV Spots (13:32)
  • Princess Mononoke in USA (19:55)
  • Behind the Microphone (05:13)
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