Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) is a film that shows that Miyazaki had Spirited Away in him. The edge of genius is detectible in this one, though not so thoroughly fulfilled.
A complex fairy tale, the titular princess is a feral girl who runs with wolves & is protected by the Wolf-god. She is a ruler among animals, akin to Mowgli of The Jungle Book. A dark, gruesome iron mining town is destroying the forests & gutting the mountains, so that war has broken out between Princess Mononoke's animal clans & Irontown.
Into this grim realm where humanity is a contagean against nature, a young prince rides upon his stag, upon his own quest for a cure for the disease placed upon him by the vengeful Boar-god. His illness is incurable, unless the Deer-god of the forests ravaged by the miners can reverse the curse. Unfortunately a cult of cruel hunters is after the head of the mystic deer, whose death they believe will confer immortality upon themselves.
Although dealing with themes generally regarded as children's literature, this is an entirely adult treatment. Even animated it is convincingly bloody with a nightmare quality to several of the scenes.
I would not let younger children watch it without the immediate presence of their parents, but I would not keep them from it altogether, as even Disney gave us a pretty nasty piece of work with the witch in Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs & the fiery death of the parents of the orphaned Bambi, & kids from those comparatively naive generations seem not to have been permanently damaged.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl