May 15, 2010

Forever Young

When songs are remade, a very interesting effect happens. The people of the generation of the original song say, "Oh is that the one by _____?" The people who heard the new version say, "No. What are you talking about? Who is _____?" I actually like to know if a song is a re-make if it is. I also like to compare the two versions. As some of you may know, I like to look through old CDs once in a while. One day, I discovered an Alphaville album. Knowing nothing about them, I chose "Forever Young" as my favorite song in the album. Later, I learned that it also covered by many artists. While I was humming the song, someone told me that Jay-Z remade the song t00. Interesting...

Which one do you like better?

I tend to like Alphaville's style better compared to Jay-Z's style of music, so I give a vote for Alphaville. However, I have heard many people say that they like Jay-Z's version better. It does sound more modern. I used to not be able to understand why artists would cover songs. However, listening to different versions taught me that different people can take one song and interpret it in very different ways. Remaking certain songs also help bring old songs to the ears of another generation. After all, we don't want certain incredible songs to be lost in time.

May 14, 2010

Ponyo on a Cliff - Why I liked it

Ponyo on a Cliff may seem like a cheesy, children's animated film. Actually, this movie is actually more for children compared to Hayao Miyazaki's other works. However, there are aspects of the movie that make it truly enjoyable for everyone. In addition, there are messages we must not take lightly.

First of all, I really enjoyed the pictures. Hayao Miyazaki's artwork is always creative, new, and simply breathtaking. Watching the film makes me happy and relaxed. His expression of everyday objects is truly spectacular. For example, the waves of the ocean have a life and shape of their own. The way they move and act heightens the idea of nature being a spectacular entity of its own. In addition, Ponyo's mother is portrayed as a loving, beautiful, understanding, goddess of the sea, flexible and moving with its own force. I think that Hayao Miyazaki wanted the portray the idea of a "mother" in such a powerful way.

Sosuke's mother, Lisa, is also a very interesting character. She is loving and she is very open-minded. She encourages Sosuke's love of the sea and does not care when he brings a random fish from the sea to take to school. In addition, when Ponyo appears before her as a young girl, Lisa believes Sosuke when he says that Ponyo the fish has turned into a girl. She then brings both the children into her home, takes care of them, and tells them that although such queer occurrences are exciting, everyone must be calm. I know that if I brought home a friend and told my mother that she was a fish, my mom would just say, "Hello, come in and play for a while" without believing a single word. Although this is the normal reaction of most people, who really knows what happens in the world? Sometimes I like to believe in magic too because there is much much more to the world than I will ever know.

There are also some things that we must learn from this movie. In the movie, Ponyo falls in danger because of the trash that covers the ocean floor. Also, it is suggested that Ponyo's father was originally a human who did everything in his power to live in the sea because he was disgusted by what human beings were doing to nature. He also wants to create a world in which life forms may explode again in the ocean. He describes it as a second "Cambrian Explosion." However, he was mistaken in thinking that all humans evil. Lisa and Sosuke are not. They are able to accept Ponyo even though she was a fish because they loved Ponyo for just being Ponyo and they were also willing to open their minds and hearts to others.

Sosuke is also a very kind boy. He is polite to the villagers, he knows how to help his mother and others in the neighborhood, he knows how to love indiscriminately. I wish more children could grow up like him with such wonderful parents and happy environments.

What I also like about Hayao Miyazaki's films are that the heros may be women, animals, grandmas, children, or anyone else for that matter. He shows that such things do not inhibit us from being strong, brave, and loving. In addition, all these characters are able to be explorers and go on adventures of their own.

May 9, 2010

Ponyo on a Cliff

Ponyo on a Cliff is a story about accepting people for who they really are inside, rather than what they appear to be.
The story starts out with Brunhilde, a small red fish, going to the shore. She was traveling underwater with her magician father and fellow fish sisters. However, she wanted to see more of the human world and ended up swimming too close to shore. Her body got stuck in a bottle thrown away into the see. A young boy called Sosuke frees Brunhilde and takes her out of the ocean with him in a green bucket. On shore, Sosuke gives Brunhilde the name Ponyo and the two become best friends. Sosuke also promises Ponyo that he will protect her. However, when Ponyo's father realizes that Ponyo is gone, he sends great waves to bring her back, believing that Ponyo has been abducted by humans with evil intentions. Ponyo ends up being taken away from Sosuke.
Ponyo and Sosuke both want to be with each other. By using magic and with the help of her sisters, Ponyo transforms into a young girl and returns to the shore to find Sosuke. Upon finding Sosuke, she is able to stay in Sosuke's house. Both Sosuke and Sosuke's mother, Lisa, recognize Ponyo even in her human form. As the night approaches, the waves start flooding the land. Lisa, who works at a senior home, goes there to see if everything is okay.
Meanwhile, Ponyo's father realizes that Ponyo's transformation has disrupted the balance of the world and now, everyone in it is in danger. He seeks Ponyo's mother, a goddess of the sea, for help. Her mother leaves the question of whether or not Ponyo can stay human in the hands of the two young children, Sosuke and Ponyo.