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Pom Poko (1994, Japanese)

Director: Isao Takahata (119 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (83%), IMDB (7.4), Wikipedia, Amazon.

Watch online: WatchAnimeMovie.

Similar movies: anime.

Summary: Storyline: Development of human cities results in deforestation, which leaves many raccoons homeless. They try various tactics to help humans understand their plight, so that they stop building their cities. In Japanese folklore, raccoons have shape shifting abilities. They can transform into objects and other living creatures. However, such transformation techniques require focus and energy. They may be learnt only from reknowned teachers, who have spent lifetimes mastering them.

Most of the movie is fun, but not all. There are some scary and violent scenes when raccoons try grotesque techniques to stop humans. These scenes made the movie incongruous to me. Why? Shape shifting teachers in the movie look like experienced martial artists. Eastern martial arts traditions emphasize peace. They avoid the use of force unless really necessary.

A mellower movie with a more cogent storyline would have been more attractive. The silver lining is that kids who watch this movie will learn that urbanization impacts those who dwell in forests. So we should be mindful of expansion and increased consumption.

Is Pom Poko Suitable For Children? is a nicely written article.

 

1 Jan 2013
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