Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) (Blu-ray) (1997)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Menu Animation & Audio
Storyboards-Alternative Angle Storyboards
Trailer-Other Ghibli Titles
Theatrical Trailer-trailers and TV spots
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
|Year Of Production||1997|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Hayao Miyazaki|
Billy Bob Thornton
|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|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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...
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
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.
The menu included sounds and pictures from the film.
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.
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
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.
Trailers repeated from the DVD.
Very soft picture.
English language trailer.
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.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is excellent.The extras are better than the DVD but still a little lean.
|DVD||SONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sharp 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 Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|