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    • Jay

      Donate to JWFan, win a CD!   05/30/17


      We are significantly behind on our funds for keeping JWFan alive, and need to collect donations again.
      As an incentive, I am offering a series of free CDS to anyone who donates over a certain amount!   Donate at least $10 and you will be entered into a pool to potentially win one of the following once we hit our $250 goal:   Tyler Bates - God of War; Ascension (OST, La La Land Records) Danny Elfman - Planet of the Apes (OST, Sony) Danny Elfman - Taking Woodstock (OST, La La Land Records) Christopher Lennertz - Identity Thief (OST, La La Land Records) Christopher Lennertz - Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (OST) Michael Giacchino - Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (OST, Varese Sarabande) Dave Holmes & Various - Ocean's 11 (OST, WB Records) Joel McNeely & Various - Hollywood '94 (Varese Sarabande) Joe Kraemer - Jack Reacher (OST, La La Land Records) John Williams - Born on the Fourth of July (OST, MCA Records)   Donate at least $20 and you will be entered into a pool to potentially win one of the following once we hit our $500 goal:   John Barry - First Love (La La Land) Jerry Goldsmith - The Challenge (La La Land) Jerry Goldsmith - In Harm's Way (2009 Intrada edition) Jerry Goldsmith - The Red Pony (Varese) Alan Silvestri - Dutch (La La Land) Shirley Walker - Willard (La La Land) John Williams - Family Plot (Varese Sarabande) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer   Donate at least $30 and you will be entered into a pool to potentially win one of the following once we hit our $750 goal:   James Horner - Gorky Park (OOP Kritzerland Edition) James Newton Howard - Outbreak (2CD, Varese Deluxe Edition) Laurence Rosenthal - Clash of the Titans (2CD, Intrada) John Williams - The Fury (2CD, La La Land) John Williams - Jane Eyre (OOP, La La Land) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer   Donate at least $50 and you will be entered into a pool to potentially win one of the following once we hit our $1,000 goal:   Jerry Fielding - The Wild Bunch (3CD, FSM) Ira Newborn - The Naked Gun trilogy (3CD, La La Land) Shirley Walker and Various - Batman: The Animated Series Volume 3 (4CD, La La Land) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer     All shipping will be paid by me to anywhere in the world!   I will pull names from a hat for each pool, and you get to pick whatever CD set you want if I pull your name!   To be eligible, leave your JWFan username in the comments area of your donation.  If you want to donate but not be in the running for a free CD, mention that in the comment.   Use this link or the link on the mainpage.       Thank you!   Jason, Ricard, and Andreas.


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nightscape94 last won the day on February 11 2016

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About nightscape94

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  1. Recognized.
  2. Not a Fish fan, but if I had to pick an album from that era I don't think you can beat Misplaced Childhood. I strongly disagree about Kid A being better. In fact, their previous effort, The Bends, I find to be better than OK Computer. In Rainbows, in its 2-disc form, is fantastic.
  3. I'm being absolutely serious when I say this: Let Go is one of the best albums to come out in the last 20 years. Easy. Unspeakably awesome album by an underrated band. The Weight is a Gift is also extremely good and serves as a great one-two punch.
  4. Afraid of Sunlight is pretty good, probably just as good as the others in the early Steve Hogarth era, but let's just agree that Marbles is amazing and call it a day.
  5. Listening to a bit of Marillion this week.
  6. Oh neat, I was not aware they were coming out with a physical CD release of Elfman's Rabbit & Rogue. Purchase upcoming!
  7. Lia's already put her foot down!
  8. Maybe they practice Hinduism.
  9. Ponyo on the Cliff (2008) Or, how Miyazaki Got His Groove Back. Artistically, it's a departure from his most recent work. The opening scenes are intentionally exaggerated and loose, appearing more cartoonish, with their designs not trying to resemble a reality consistent with the outside world. This works especially well with the underwater setting but it took a bit getting used to. Oddly, something more realistic would have felt less believable since there is an immediate feeling that is geared toward a young audience, inviting you in and instantly heightens the sense of curiosity. Even the first frame looks more like an impressionistic painting, and then we are absorbed by the vast ocean, passing a myriad jellyfish and other brilliant aquatic life as we catch a glimpse of an unknown man working magic, creating new sea life. Ponyo is a simple story directed at children about the likewise-named little fish girl who aims to become a human after finding a warm and common bond with a boy named Sosuke. The essential conceit is not an original idea by any stretch, but handled here by Miyazaki and his team, he makes a mostly joyful and interesting movie that avoids being entirely masterful due to some contradictory plot elements. Still, the result is quite pleasant, and a nice rebound after Howl's Moving Castle. I found the moments between the two children so infinitely watchable that it almost independently makes up for a murky story otherwise. Miyazaki does wonders with silence, and here again we have a scene where so much is said without saying anything. The entire beginning section gives us a confident impression of a young fish surreptitiously escaping her father's home-bound prison, where even in her basic design with limited facial range, we can see her anticipated delight of an unknowable adventure. There are some interesting themes at work here. Most notably, at its center there is the father, Fujimoto, who continually works to exert power over his child, triggering several scenes where he attempts control her direction, her dreams, and defines what he believes are "innocent and pure" characteristics. This is the parent's viewpoint about what it means to be a perfect child in their own mind instead of thinking of what the idea means to the child; the need to project their desires onto the child instead of letting them naturally become their own person though their own decision-making. There is an idea of accepting for who you are and to greet and build relationships with those who we perceive as different by not thinking of those differences as roadblocks or some type of prejudicial obstruction. Children, more often than adults, tend to overlook things that myopic adults miss or dismiss after a lifetime of conditioning and jaded worldviews. When I watched it the first time I thought Miyazaki made a mistake in making the children so young. After all, Sosuke is only 5, yet either ventures off entirely on his own, or is left alone several times. Then there is the ever-important idea of Love (there it is again!) between Sosuke and Ponyo. But this should be understood more as the love a child has for their parent or for a friend, which is innocent and pure, stripped out outward complexities, just like Fujimoto demanded of his daughter. With the obsessiveness that he exhibits in his life, the distractions that he's brought on himself, it didn't occur to him that that Ponyo could maintain this type love while still being someone different than what he envisioned. This general idea was more effective during my second watch. Even the Nature theme makes an appearance with several scenes, some more subtle than others, but none of them obtrusive or distracting. It actually feeds directly into Fujimoto's goals, which I'll get into later. In fact, it's telling that the way Sosuke meets Ponyo is by saving her from being stuck in a discarded open glass container. As he hesitantly approaches her, the surround rocky bank is also littered with trash. After he cuts his thumb by breaking the jar open, Ponyo licks the wound closed through her magic. The taste of blood affects her DNA which starts the process of transforming her into a human. I would be interested in knowing the further metaphorical implications, if any, meant by Miyazaki here since there is a buried concept of becoming something on merit, by assuming its qualities, and through a willful internal acceptance and, additionally, external acknowledgement; that we're not strictly tied to our biology. In a sense it expands on his previous Nature theme by taking it beyond just our surroundings, and brings it to a more intimate setting. However, ultimately, it's more or less a setup to tell a simple parable. Anything beyond that could be an interesting discussion, regardless of whether it was conceived that way. I feel I have to discuss the story, because there's an actual plot in here, it's just underachieving with how it's told. When I watched the Japanese version first, Fujimoto's motivations were confusing. The way I understood it, over time he had amassed elixirs representing different oceanic decades and even stretching back several Periods containing ancient creatures. In one scene he concurrently expresses regret by saying "I almost upset Nature's balance" and then immediately spells out his goal of wiping out humankind so he can usher in a new era of dominant sea life in a worldwide ocean by distilling the tides so it swallows the earth. Ponyo spoils this plan by prematurely filling the elixir well with seawater, causing it to spill over and start a chain reaction much earlier than intended. As such, it prevents widespread catastrophe but provokes a massive localized tsunami. After the shipping ports swell and flood the entire area the story from Fujimoto's viewpoint shifts to his concern for Ponyo, and her wish to become human. When he meets his wife, Gran Mamare, the Goddess of Mercy and the ocean, he again expresses fear of upsetting the balance of the world even though he was very clearly working to unbalance it. I'm not sure if this contraction is intentional or just poorly formed, but it's never clarified. Also, the moon approaching the earth isn't mentioned explicitly until close the end, and even then it's not explained. In the English language version, it's fleshed out better during that same scene with Gran Mamare, when Fujimoto offers an explanation that Ponyo's actions have influenced reality itself, and that the Earth's gravitational pull is drawing the moon closer. This is all tied to Ponyo because she cannot exist as both a human and a child of magic. This doesn't resolve the opposing conflict of Fujimoto's initial plan, or his actions, but it helps understand the basic story, but it very well could be a subtitling issue. Secondly, it's possible that his later regret was triggered by his sudden understanding of Ponyo's care for humans, her ability to see their goodness, as well as her ability to detect their sincere and strong love for family and the strength we feel in solidarity and community, but this is in no way clear. I feel like I'm forcing an explanation so it makes sense. In some way it felt like the movie got so caught up in the magic of the characters and situation and lovely scenes between Ponyo and Sosuke that it forgot to tell a coherent story. In this way, I would actually recommend the English language version more, my first such recommendation since My Neighbor Totoro. The scripting otherwise doesn't change many important details, though you do lose cultural quirks like Sosuke calling his parents by their first names. It might have been interesting to see Fujimoto be more of a major player given his ambitions, and to actually see him be on the verge of realizing his dream, only to have Gran Mamare set things right, taking a more active role, teaching a lesson, while also assuming the Blue Fairy role in this broad Pinocchio-esque story. Some odds and ends: The Tsunami sequence is extremely powerful, simultaneously depicting the terrifying and awesome display of devastation while also containing a lot of energy with Ponyo bouncing from one wave to the next as she tails Sosuke with uninhibited and gleaming joy, desperately seeking to be reunited with him and his green pail. Joe Hisaishi's music channels Ravel to an obvious degree, especially in the oceanic moments, but that is not a criticism. It seems very intentional. The music supports and strengthens all of the varying elements and ties it all together nicely. The traditional orchestra helps to ground us, as is usually case with his later collaborative efforts with Miyazaki. I also very much liked the detail of Ponyo reverting back to more of a fish form, even partially, when she has to use magic. If I had the opportunity to remove one, just one, thing from the film it would be the strange fascination with Lisa's driving ability, or lack thereof. Actually, at one point, she appears to foolishly risk both her and her son's safety when she disregards the crossing guard's advice as a massive wave and ship freighter threatens the throughway. Ponyo is a brightly colored project that is filled with youthful exuberance which made me smile constantly. It gets tangled in some of the uneven storytelling snares that Miyazaki can sometimes get tripped up on, but it stretches its legs across the finish line with conviction. Ponyo, the character, is confident and strong-willed in the face of adversity, even more important when that opposition is a parent. She heedlessly seeks out her dreams, knows exactly what she wants, and teaches us to pursue those endeavors to the very full extent of our being. On the journey of discovering yourself, you may just help push others to discover themselves along the way. 1) Spirited Away 2) Princess Mononoke 3) Laputa: Castle in the Sky 4) My Neighbor Totoro 5) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind 6) Ponyo on the Cliff 7) Kiki's Delivery Service 8) Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro 9) Howl's Moving Castle 10) Porco Roso
  10. "Fallen Kingdom" sounds like the title of a cheesy fantasy RPG.
  11. 30 second slice-of-life ramen commercial with unnecessary love confession? Um, okay.
  12. Until we get the extended extra-special unrated edition on blu ray clocking in at 3 hours.