Princess Mononoke (1997)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)
Alright, let’s deal with the elephant in the room, shall we?
I watched the dubbed version.
マウスの死亡! (Death to Mouse!)

マウスの死亡!
(Death to Mouse!)

Yes. Yes. Yes. Illiterate. Ignoramus. Buffoon. Yada yada yada. Look, to a certain degree I sympathise. When it comes to live action movies, I cannot STAND dubbing. Der Untertang is one of my favourite films and if you ever suggested watching it in anything other than the original German, I’d accuse you of being the first person to ever talk about Der Untertang who was actually worse than the main character. But that’s for live action. Animation is slightly different. One of my big problems with dubbing over live action is that even when the characters are outside in a forest or whatever the voices coming out of their mouths always sound like they’re in a recording booth. Which of course, they are. Also, you just can’t make the lip movements synch up, it’s just not possible. With an animated film, however, everyone, original voice actors and unwashed gaijin alike are in a recording booth anyway so it doesn’t matter. It’s also easier to make the lip movements more closely approximate the new language in animation. So basically, when it comes to animé, subbed or dubbed, I’m easy. For Princess Mononoke I’m reviewing the dubbed version for the following reasons:
  • It is a phenomenal dub. Great cast, fantastic performances, wonderful adapted script by Neil Gaiman, just amazingly well done.
  • Miyazaki himself prefers his movies to be watched rather than read and supports his films being dubbed into foreign languages.
  • I don’t want subtitles clogging up my screencaps when I’m makin’ mah dick jokes.
  • It’s easier for me to come up with jokes for the American voice actors. “Perhaps I wasn’t clear, I’m Hisaya mother fucking Morishige” doesn’t quite have the same ring.
  • Watching the subbed version means I don’t get to hear Gillian Anderson’s voice. I want to hear Gillian Anderson’s voice. Why don’t you want me to hear Gillian Anderson’s voice? Try and take it away from me and see what happens. Just. Try.
I’m not arguing for the superiority of the dubbed version over the original Japanese, or vice versa. What I’m saying is; it doesn’t matter. Watch either. Watch both. This movie is so damn good it will not make a lick of difference.
Monoke-Hime “The Spirit Princess” was released in Japan in 1997 and almost immediately became the most successful Japanese film of all time against a budget of 2 billion yen (aka around $20 million dollars or a third of what it cost to make Foodfight!). Following that, Miramax, a tentacle of the vast Disney octopus, purchased the rights for distribution in the West. Now, it’s a tired old truism that the big difference between animation in Japan and in the West is that here, animation is seen as being “just for kids” and I really hope we can put that one to rest finally. No, animation in the West is no longer seen as being children’s entertainment. The most successful television show in American history is The Simpsons. The airwaves are full of animated series specifically marketed towards adults. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncutwas one of the biggest grossing movie musicals of all time. It’s done. Grown ups watch cartoons now. War is over.  If you want it. Having said that, it’s certainly true that animé can be…well, pretty shocking to Western audiences used to animation being almost totally comedic. Animé is into some messed up shit quite frankly, and I’m not even talking about their lax stance on schoolgirl/tentacle relationships. There is an intensity to the violence and body horror in animé that’s like nothing you’d see in Western entertainment. Which, of course, is why it’s so popular here. Even Miyazaki, who is about as far as you can get from Fist of the Northstar, can serve you up some pretty disturbing imagery and Mononoke is probably the darkest movie in his filmography (I’ve heard Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is even darker but I haven’t seen it yet). We got decapitations, monstrous transformations, severed limbs, giant bleeding boars turning into worm monsters of pure hatred and all kinds of dark horror that Disney just doesn’t do.
Ahem. Anymore.
HELLO!

HELLO!

So legendary Miramax producer Harvey Weinstein wanted to make heavy cuts to the movie to have it more in keeping with American expectations for a full length animated film. Studio Ghibli’s response was simple and eloquent, sending Weinstein a katana sword with a note saying “NO CUTS!”. It’s my blog, so I will add to the story that it was delivered to Weinstein’s room in the dead of night by a ninja weeping a single tear as he crouched silhouetted in a window while behind him, cherry blossoms fell in the moonlight. But of course, the sword was probably just delivered by some FedEx guy (ah, the days before 9/11). Weinsten got the message and the film was released without cuts, thereby ensuring that Studio Ghibli did not have to take things to the next stage.
Horsehead
Miyazaki may well be the greatest animation director who has ever lived. Princess Mononoke is widely considered his greatest work. Just how good is that? And can I actually make any jokes about a movie this excellent? And will you actually laugh at them?
"Why start now?"

“Why start now?”

Let’s take a look.

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Unshaved Mouse Fanart is now a thing. Also, new audio reviews!

Know how you know you’ve made it?

The money?

Nah.

The respect?

Please.

The legions of adoring fans?

No. You know you’ve made it when there’s fanart of you on the internet.

my_tribute_to_the_unshavedmouse_by_ladyaquanine73551-d7f65z2

Thanks to Lady Aquitane, this is both very cool and quite possibly the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me.

In other news, Erik’s  audio reviews for Song of the South  and Fun and Fancy Free are now up. Enjoy!

The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 3

CHAPTER 3: THE MASK

She had run home after the hanging, tears burning in her eyes like lime, her chest trying to wrestle breaths between sobs. But when she got home, the house was empty. She wandered the three rooms, hers, her father’s and the kitchen again and again, hoping that he would leap from behind some nook or cranny, or slide out from behind a picture on the wall. She could not accept that he was not here, in this moment when she needed him as she never had before.

She was still young.

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The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 2

CHAPTER 2: THE THIEF

It was exactly nine months two days and ten hours later when Marie learned that her father was not a soup maker. She was sitting on a wall on the outskirts of the village, watching horses galloping in the sun, as polished and brown as chestnuts. Marie had decided long ago that she was going to be a horse when she grew up. Perched with her on the wall were Olivia and Sylvie, and the three sat so close together that Olivia’s jet black hair ran off her shoulder and intermingled with Marie’s red, whereas on Marie’s opposite side Sylvie’s nut brown tresses mixed with her own. Four feet further down the wall, in compliance with the unspoken rule, sat Bernadette-who-smelt-of-cack. It had often seemed a shame to Marie that Bernadette always had to keep a distance, which she did amicably and without bitterness, because on the whole she preferred Bernadette to the other two. Olivia could bully and be patronising, and Sylvie had a tendency to be sullen, but Bernadette was very sweet tempered and pleasant to be with.
Just not too closely.

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The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 1

Hi guys, okay, so firstly thanks so much for all your kind words and support. I honestly expected to announce this to the world to deafening silence and maybe a polite cough in the darkness, so the fact that so many of you have said you’re willing to follow this story means the world to me. So, starting from today I’m going to be posting one chapter every Thursday that’s not a review day. But to get the ball rolling I thought I’d do three chapters so that we can actually get pretty far into the story and establish the setting and a few of the main characters, particularly Marie and Luke, the daughter and the hangman (seeing as they are kinda important). Alright, so, here we go.

Aaaaaand…deep breath.

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Want to help me write a book? Sure ya do!

Hi guys. So most of you already know that when I’m not yelling at sassy maps on the internet I write plays and comics. But once, a long time ago, I had notions. I aspired to be a novelist. Around a decade ago I started work on an epic fantasy trilogy called TheHangman’s Daughter. It’s about a young girl living in medieval France named Marie. Marie is not like other girls. She can see angels and demons, and she can control the flow of time around her. Her father is the village hangman, and one terrible night he is killed by the son of a man he executed. Marie is then taken in by a woman named Mariana, who tells her that she is  a Temporal Adept, one of a small group of people with a natural ability to travel through time. Marie becomes embroiled in a war between the other Temporals and a man named Mabus, the most powerful Temporal of all who is marshalling an army of soldiers from across all of space and time to conquer and invade hell and so forestall his own inevitable damnation.
It’s a big, epic fantasy story with a cast of hundreds that spans nations, past, present, future, earth, heaven, purgatory and hell.
So what happened? Well, I finished the first book, got close to the end of the second, realised that the first one didn’t work with what I was trying to do with the second, rewrote the first, ended up doing a lot of damage and basically…I gave up. I started writing for stage a lot more, life got a whole lot more complicated and eventually the time and energy I was spending on the book just wasn’t justifiable and I ended up putting it to one side for a few years. But it’s always been nagging me in the back of my mind. There’s too much good stuff in there, too much work and effort, too many characters I worked really hard on, to just give up on it.
So, here’s what I’m thinking…
Starting from next week I’m going to be serialising the Hangman’s Daughter every second week between reviews. If you’re not interested in reading, that’s absolutely fine. Don’t worry about it. But if it sounds like something you’d be interested in, I’d really like to get a conversation going on what works, what doesn’t, what should be changed etc. Basically I’m just looking for feedback and maybe some inspiration to get me excited about writing this thing again. Please be (constructively) brutal. I started writing this when I was still technically a teenager and believe me, in places it will show.  And don’t worry, this is not going to effect the regular review schedule, I’ve got enough material to keep us going for years.
I look forward to hearing what you think,
Mouse out.

Disney Reviews with Unshaved Mouse #46: Chicken Little

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

"WE WANT BLOOD!" "WE WANT BLOOD!"

“WE WANT BLOOD!”
“WE WANT BLOOD!”

"Guys, that crowd is getting pretty nasty. Has he started reviewing it yet?"

“Guys, that crowd is getting pretty nasty. Has he started reviewing it yet?”

"Nah man. He just watched it and now hes just sitting there not doing any damn thang."

“Nah man. He just watched it and now he’s just sitting there not doing any damn thang.”

"What?! Mouse, cmon! Snap out of it!"

“What?! Mouse, cmon! Snap out of it!”

"..."

“…”

"I told you it was too soon! I told we couldnt expect to review so soon after Foodfight! I TOLD YOU ALL! "

“I told you! I told you we couldn’t expect to review another movie so soon, after…that…other movie. I TOLD YOU ALL! “

"SHUT UP! Mouse, listen to me! You've kept them waiting too long, if you don't review this movie we're going to be killed by hardcore Disney fans!"

“SHUT UP! Mouse, listen to me! You’ve kept them waiting too long, if you don’t tear this movie apart they’re going to kill us all!”

"I...can't..."

“I…can’t…”

"I knew it! He's too traumatised! Why din't you listen to me?! Making him watch that piece of shit so soon after Foodfight..."

“I knew it! He’s too traumatised! Why din’t you listen to me?! Making him watch that piece of shit so soon after Foodfight…”

"NYAAAAAARRGGHHH!"

“NYAAAAAARRGGHHH!”

"Sorry, sorry, my bad."

“Sorry, sorry, my bad.”

"BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD!"

“BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD!”

"Listen dawg. Ain't no thang. Just go out there and tell them that the movie was a piece of shit."

“Listen dawg. Ain’t no thang. Just go out there and tell them that the movie was a piece of shit and then you never have to see it again.”

"That's not the problem. I...I liked it."

“That’s not the problem. I…I liked it.”

"Oh Jesus. That's it everybody, run for your lives. Latin America, you run out and create a distraction."

“Oh Jesus. That’s it everybody, run for your lives. Latin America, you go out and create a distraction.”

"Sure thing...heeeeey, wait a minute!"

“Sure thing…heeeeey, wait a minute!”

"What?"

“What?”

"That's a "diversion", not a "distraction" silly."

“That’s a “diversion”, not a “distraction” silly.”

"Aw, you're so smart. Now get going! We'll rendezvous in the afterlife."

“Aw, you’re so smart. Now get going! We’ll rendezvous in the afterlife. Let’s go Mouse. You packin’ Asia?”

"You know it."

“You know it. Let’s murder some bitches.”

"No. It's alright. I'll go and talk to them."

“No. It’s alright. I’ll go and talk to them.”

***

Okay. Well. No point beating around the bush. Time to take my punishment like a mouse. Here goes.

ATTENTION INTERNET! CHICKEN LITTLE IS NOT THAT BAD! I REPEAT! CHICKEN LITTLE IS NOT THAT BAD! PLEASE ADJUST YOUR OPINIONS ON THE BADNESS OF CHICKEN LITTLE ACCORDINGLY!

DINOSAUR REMAINS SHIT!

THAT IS ALL!

"..."

“…”

"Um...hello?"

“Um…hello?”

"I think they're paralysed with rage, boss."

“I think they’re paralysed with rage, boss.”

"Ah. How long before they recover and tear me limb from limb like wet tissue paper?"

“Ah. How long before they recover and tear me limb from limb like wet tissue paper?”

"Eight, nine minutes?"

“Eight, nine minutes?”

Okay. Better make this quick.

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