August 24, 2009 12:00 PM

Voices by Frankie Jonas, Noah Cyrus, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Betty White, Lily Tomlin | G |


Fred, 9, my consultant on kids’ movies, makes my job easy. After seeing Ponyo—the latest magical offering from Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki (Howl’s Moving Castle)—Fred piped up, “The great thing about Miyazaki’s movies is that they are for kids, but they’re for adults too.” Um, buddy, may I quote you on that?

Ponyo—inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid—tells of a goldfish named Ponyo (voiced by Noah Cyrus, Miley’s kid sister) who longs to be a real live girl. How she becomes one, and what happens next, makes for a humorous and heart-swelling adventure. And the drawing is astonishingly beautiful, never more so than when Ponyo runs atop ocean waves.

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