Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) (Blu-ray) (1997)

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Released 21-May-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Menu Animation & Audio
Storyboards-Alternative Angle Storyboards
Trailer-Other Ghibli Titles
Theatrical Trailer-trailers and TV spots
Reversible Cover
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Trailer-Promotional Film
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 133:22
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Hayao Miyazaki
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Yji Matsuda
Billy Crudup
Yuriko Ishida
Claire Danes
Yko Tanaka
Minnie Driver
Akihiro Miwa
Gillian Anderson
Kaoru Kobayashi
Billy Bob Thornton
Hisaya Morishige
Keith David
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $34.95 Music Joe Hisaishi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Japanese DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) is the latest Studio Ghibli title to get a Blu-ray upgrade from Madman Entertainment. Our review of the original DVD release from 2004 can be found here. Tony gave a great explanation of the plot in that review and it is well worth reading.

This film was directed by Hayao Miyazaki, the master animator behind Studio Ghibli and includes his usual themes of the environment and magical fantasy. This film is closer in style to Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind or Tales from Earthsea than it is to Ponyo or My Neighbour Totoro. In fact it is one of the few Ghibli films to get and earn an M rating with some quite graphic violence at times and some significant themes which would certainly concern my pre-teen boys. I would perceive this as a film for teenagers or adults. For the right audience, there is a lot to like about this film, although I cannot get as excited about it as Tony did in his review of the DVD. The story is certainly interesting, different and complex with many factions and few which are clearly good or bad. As you would expect the animation is a work of art, with magnificent scenery visuals and action and the music by regular Miyazaki collaborator, Joe Hisaishi is excellent. The voice acting is generally good and the disc includes both the original Japanese plus an English dub featuring Gillian Anderson, Claire Danes, Billy Crudup and Minnie Driver.

The film can be a little hard to follow at times as little about the world is introduced before the story commences, however some things are picked up as you go along. Interestingly, one of the extras on the disc is a promotional film, obviously for English speaking audiences, which includes lots of exposition. This should be perceived not as a weakness but a challenge for the viewer forcing them to think and draw conclusions rather than being spoon fed.

This is an epic fantasy adventure story combined with magnificent animation and wonderful music. Fans of Japanese Animation should definitely seek this film out, however if you want to give Studio Ghibli works a try with your kids try Ponyo or Porco Rosso first. The only question that remains is whether owners of the original DVD release should upgrade. The answer is a resounding 'Yes'. Read on for further detail...

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Transfer Quality

Video

The video quality is excellent, a huge step up on the DVD.

The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p encoded using AVC.

The picture was very clear and sharp throughout. The original DVD was an NTSC-PAL conversion causing the usual interleaving and artefacts of that process. Obviously in this natively HD transfer this issue has been removed completely.

The colour was wonderful and I am sure the best this film has looked, without being as vivid as the newest Ghibli films like Ponyo but considering its 1997 production this is to be expected.

There were no artefacts to speak of.

There are subtitles available in English. They are clear and easy to read, following the Japanese dialogue rather than the English version.

There are no obvious layer changes during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The audio quality is excellent considering the age of the material.

This disc contains the original Japanese soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 5.1 and the English dub in DTS HD-MA 5.1. There does not seem to be a whole lot of difference between them from a quality perspective. The dialogue is quite different at times including renaming some characters such as the Deer God to the Forest Spirit. Supposedly, this was due to the possibility of American audiences thinking it was Dear, God! Both tracks have lots of surround ambiance and some directional effects without sounding like the latest blockbuster.

Dialogue was clear and easy to hear and understand.

The music by Joe Hisaishi is fantastic adding significantly to the film. It sounds marvellous on the Blu-ray.

The surround speakers were used a lot throughout, with the action scenes, rain, gunfire and other effects coming from around the room.

The subwoofer was used throughout as well, adding bass to action scenes, storms and the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

There were only the storyboards and trailers on the DVD version so there are a couple of new extras here which fans will be interested in.

Menu

The menu included sounds and pictures from the film.

Storyboards

The full Hayao Miyazaki designed storyboard reel is available as a picture-in-picture extra as you watch the film. These appeared on the DVD version.

Princess Mononoke in the US (19:53) **NEW**

This is a travelogue of a 1999 trip to the US & Canada by Hayao Miyazaki to promote the film. It includes festival appearances and interviews along with a visit to Disney. In Japanese and English. 1080i

Promotional Video (4:08) **NEW**

An extended trailer with lots of exposition for English speaking audiences. Probably worth watching before the film unless you like the challenge of working out what is going on.

Japanese Trailers, Promos, TV Spots (2:18, 2:34, 1:44)

Trailers repeated from the DVD.

French Theatrical Trailer (1:46) **NEW**

Very soft picture.

English Theatrical Trailer (2:08) **NEW**

English language trailer.

Other Trailers

Reversible Slick

Booklet

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

This Blu-ray is available in the same format in the UK but has not been released in Region A yet. There is also a Japanese Blu-ray however the English dub is only in standard definition so for English speaking audiences I believe this version is better. Extras seem to be the same.

Summary

An epic fantasy adventure from Studio Ghibli.

The video quality is excellent.

The audio quality is excellent.

The extras are better than the DVD but still a little lean.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, June 30, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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