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Pom Poko Blu-ray Review

Pom

“Pom Poko” is a weird and relatively obscure Studio Ghibli film.

The Plot: The tanuki (AKA raccoon dogs) living in the Tama Hills near Japan are facing a crisis. Not only are the tanuki being displaced from their homes due to construction work by the homes, but they are starting to fight amongst themselves. Thankfully, the wise old Oroku gets them all to band together to try and stop the human development from taking over their home territory. Using all of the tricks in the book (including their power to shapeshift), they set out to scare away the humans, but it’s easier said than done.

“Pom Poko” isn’t a title you hear mentioned much in the pantheon of Studio Ghibli films and I’m not entirely sure why. Is it a weird movie that runs a needless 119 minutes? Absolutely, but it’s creativity and poignant messages about nature and humans and animals coexisting together make it a unique animated feature film.

From the get go, “Pom Poko” doesn’t look or feel like the average Studio Ghibli movie. It doesn’t contain any one main characters (it’s very much an ensemble piece with mini character arcs spread about), it is heavily narrated to the point that it almost feels like a spoof of nature documentaries, the tanuki animals shapeshift and have the ability to walk on 2 legs, there’s a surreal sequence in which the tanukis transform and try to terrorize the humans, comedic moments pop up here and there (the tanuki watching TV is especially amusing) and there are sudden dark moments in which characters bite the dust. If this all sounds peculiar, that’s because it is. And yet, the movie still works in spite of its eccentricities. As mentioned above, the movie has heart and genuinely has something to say about the human and animal worlds. The fact that the viewers are watching the story from the POV of the tanuki really drives home these themes as we see the world through their eyes. As odd as it may be at times, it’s quite an effective storytelling tool in that we get to journey along with these rambuncious creatures that are simply trying to survive. You feel like you are right there with these packs of wild animals.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? A colorful hi-def transfer that really gives you a chance to look at all the hand drawn animation work.

Audio Tracks: English and Japanese 2.0 DTS-HD. How does it sound? The English track is satisfactory. You can’t go wrong with having the voice actor that did The Brain (Maurice LaMarche) do the narration. The Japanese track is equally impressive here as well.

Extras: Original theatrical trailers and TV spots, feature length storyboards, a booklet containing photos, a written piece by Toshio Suzuki, and a statement by director Isao Takahata.

 

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January 22, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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