Director/Screenplay: Hayao Miyazaki
This is one of the few films that really feels like mythology, in the best and grandest sense of the word. That's something that's really hard to do in film by the way. Whether it's old school Homeric tales, or modern made-up mythology like "Lord of the Rings", 'cause while some of them can be good stories, when told or read, they don't translate well on film, because essentially, you either have gods controlling the humans or watching them from afar, and not doing anything, so it's either using the human race for puppetry essentially, or the humans are fighting the gods and they're just gonna lose and get destroyed 'cause nothing kills the gods, even when it's done well, it never works all the way, but "Princess Mononoke" is a major exception to this, 'cause it's not simplistic. Yes, we have it all, Gods and Mortals battling it out over technology, characters that are not one-dimensional and all POVs are valid, and even an heir of destiny and fate reigning over the entire film, and yet, because it's set in this transitional time period, it isn't just a simple mythological or just a straight-forward morality play. This is one of those films that works on a lot of different levels. (I myself, once wrote an English paper comparing the film "Gilgamesh", and on that level, there's quite a few parallels.) Let's not forget, the amazing look of the movie. Even Miyazaki's lesser films like "Porco Rosso" or "Howl's Moving Castle", are so visually striking, with this incredible hand-drawn animation that it's impossible not to become enriched by the world. This film can be taken apart frame by frame, and hung up as paintings, in any museum in the world. Like all of Miyazaki's work in recent years, "Princess Mononoke", was redubbed in English, with big stars like Minnie Driver, Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Billy Crudup and Billy Bob Thornton to name a few; I recommend that version as much as the original Japanese-language one. An epic that’s not a struggle to watch, and is filled with images that can only be seen because of animation. When I run into animation skeptics, especially Japanese animation skeptics, the first film I show them is "Princess Mononoke," and more often than not, it's the film that wins them over.