Our list continues as we dive into the top 20, with some films that received multiple votes from our panelists but didn’t quite have the juice to make it higher in the rankings. Tomorrow: #18.
19) Princess Mononoke (3 votes, 104 points)
Chris: Mononoke deserves a lot of credit for making Studio Ghibli popular in America. It’s also an indictment of concussion awareness in the 1990s, because about 940 people get knocked unconscious in this movie and nobody suffers any ill effects. Something to think about.
Ashitaka’s tale is interesting from start to finish. It helps that there is a surprisingly talented voice cast backing it up, with names like Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton and Claire Danes. I wouldn’t call it Ghibli’s best work, but if you’re a fan of other offerings, this is certainly worth seeing.
Shaun: This is like Studio Ghibli’s FernGully, and I didn’t love it. The action was well done, I guess, if you can buy people being consistently beheaded by arrow shots. My problem with this movie, like many Studio Ghibli films, is that the plot, while great, just kind of meanders along its way to a conclusion. Luckily, some truly great moments and some nice character interactions makes Mononoke one of their strongest outings.
Michaela: One of the more action-oriented Studio Ghibli films, Princess Mononoke is as much an action film as it is an environmental one. The climax is somewhat lackluster considering the build-up the rest of the movie was so good about doing, but the ending is still very beautiful and bittersweet. Listen to that piano at the end and tell me you don’t appreciate the final scene at least.
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