February 3rd will see the release of three Studio Ghibli films on BluRay for the first time. Porco Rosso, the tale of a World War I flying ace, is a beloved Hayao Miyazaki classic. The other two are by other Studio Ghibli directors—Isao Takahata’s environmental saga PomPoko, and Tales from Earthsea, Goro Myazakis take on the Ursula K. Leguin fantasy The Farthest Shore. Good viewing!
Synopsis: POM POKO
Studio Ghibli presents a film about the clash between modern civilization and the natural world from acclaimed director Isao Takahata. The raccoons of the Tama Hills are being forced from their homes by the rapid development of houses and shopping malls. As it becomes harder to find food and shelter, they decide to band together and fight back. The raccoons practice and perfect the ancient art of transformation until they are even able to appear as humans. In often hilarious ways, the raccoons use their powers to try to scare off the advance of civilization. But will it be enough? Or will the raccoons learn how to live in balance with the modern world? Celebrate the magic of the forest and the beauty of the creatures who live among us in “Pom Poko”—now on Disney Blu-ray for the first time ever.
Take flight with “Porco Rosso,” a valiant World War I flying ace! From tropical Adriatic settings to dazzling aerial maneuvers, this action-adventure from world-renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki is full of humor, courage and chivalry. When “Porco”—whose face has been trans- formed into that of a pig by a mysterious spell—infuriates a band of sky pirates with his aerial heroics, the pirates hire Curtis, a rival pilot, to get rid of him. On the ground, the two pilots compete for the affections of the beautiful Gina. But it’s in the air where the true battles are waged. Will our hero be victorious? For the first time ever on Disney Blu-ray, “Porco Rosso” is a thrilling ride you’ll never forget!
TALES FROM EARTHSEA
An epic animated adventure directed by Goro Miyazaki, “Tales From Earthsea” features the voices of Timothy Dalton, Willem Dafoe, Cheech Marin and Mariska Hargitay. Based on the classic “Earthsea” fantasy book series by Ursula K. Le Guin, “Tales From Earthsea” is set in a mythical world filled with magic and bewitchment. In the land of Earthsea, crops are dwindling, dragons have reappeared and humanity is giving way to chaos. Journey with Lord Archmage Sparrowhawk, a master wizard, and Arren, a troubled young prince, on a tale of redemption and self-discovery as they search for the force behind the mysterious imbalance that threatens to destroy their world. Featuring a timeless story and magnificent hand-drawn animation, “Tales From Earthsea” is now available for the first time ever on Disney Blu-ray.
US Cast: POM POKO – Clancy Brown (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “Starship Troopers”) as Gonta, J.K. Simmons(“Spider-Man,” “The Closer”) as Seizaemon, Jonathan Taylor Thomas (“The Lion King,” “Home Improvement”) as Shokichi, John DiMaggio (“Futurama,” “Adventure Time”) as Ryûtarô and Olivia d’Abo (“The Wonder Years,” “Conan the Destroyer”) as Koharu.
PORCO ROSSO – Michael Keaton (“Batman,” “Toy Story 3”) as Porco Rosso, Cary Elwes (“The Princess Bride,” “Saw”) as Curtis,Kimberly Williams-Paisley (“According to Jim,” “Father of the Bride”) as Fio, Susan Egan (“Hercules,” “13 Going on 30”) as Gina, David Ogden Stiers (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Pocahontas,” and TV’s “M*A*S*H”) as Grandpa Piccolo and Brad Garrett (TV’s “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Ratatouille,” “Finding Nemo”) as Mamma Aiuto Boss.
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Mariska Hargitay (“Law and Order: Special Victims,” “Leaving Las Vegas”) as Tenar, Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man,” “Finding Nemo”) as Cob, Timothy Dalton (“The Living Daylights,” “License to Kill”) as Ged, Cheech Marin (“The Lion King,” “Nash Bridger”) as Hare.
Directors: POM POKO – Isao Takahata (“Grave of the Fireflies”, “Heidi: A Girl of the Alps”)
PORCO ROSSO – Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke”)
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Goro Miyazaki (“From Up on Poppy Hill”)
Original Story and POM POKO – Isao Takahata (“Grave of the Fireflies,” “Heidi: A Girl of the Alps”)
Screenplay: PORCO ROSSO – Hayao Miyazaki (Concept)
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Based on the “Earthsea” series by Ursula K. Le Guin (Novel), Inspired by “Shuna’s Journey” by Hayao Miyazaki (Concept), Screenplay by Goro Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa (“The Secret World of Arrietty,” “From Up on Poppy Hill”).
Producers: POM POKO – Ned Lott (“My Neighbor Totoro,” Howl’s Moving Castle”), Toshio Suzuki (“Spirited Away”, “Princess Mononoke”)
PORCO ROSSO – Rick Dempsey (“Howl’s Moving Castle”, The Real Ghost Busters”) and Toshio Suzuki (“Spirited Away”, “Princess Mononoke”)
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Steve Alpert (“Spirited Away,” Princess Mononoke”), Javier Ponton (“Malachance,” “Souvenir Views”) and Toshio Suzuki (“Spirited Away”, “Princess Mononoke”)
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Bonus Features: POM POKO – Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailers
PORCO ROSSO – Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailer, Interview with Toshio Suzuki, Behind the Microphone
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailers & TV Spots, the Birth of the Film Soundtrack, Origins of Earthsea
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.