Written and directed by famed anime staple Miyazaki, this 1997 film from Studio Ghibli is arguably one of his most beloved creations. Of course, when you look over his history, it is easy to see that he turns out nothing but gems. In fact, until Titanic came out, this was the highest grossing movie in Japan. It’s one of the most popular anime films of all time, and in fact, you will soon see that there could well be another distant connection to Titanic director James Cameron.
What Happens in Princess Mononoke?
In this story, which takes place in the Muromachi period of Japan, the last Emishi prince tries to make peace between the humans who live in a community called Irontown and the creatures that live in the forest surrounding it. He meets the titular princess, who was raised by a wolf god. He becomes engaged in a conflict between the gods of the forest and the humans. Of course, there is quite a bit more depth and plot to this story, but we want to avoid spoiling too much for those who haven’t viewed the anime yet.
Now, when you compare this plot to Avatar, from James Cameron, you will certainly see quite a few similarities. However, as most fans will point out, Princess Mononoke has many more subtleties and nuances to it than the other film has. While Avatar is certainly not a direct copy of Princess Mononoke, it is easy to make a number of comparisons.
One of the big differences is that the prince is able to see the good that both sides encompass, and this creates more conflict. In Cameron’s film, it’s very cut and dry who the good and the bad guys are. Of course, this causes even more trouble for the prince.
More Themes of Environmentalism
As you watch this movie, and more of the films from Studio Ghibli, you will find that there’s often a theme of man vs. the environment and environmentalism in them. Even though these themes are certainly present, you will find that they never overshadow the story. Instead, they help to make the story, and the struggle of the characters, even stronger. They will resonate with the audience, and that’s always a good thing for any film to achieve. Princess Mononoke is a film that will be enjoyed by anyone who loves a great story and beautiful animation.