Leeds Abbey Dash
Before the first and only film today, I had to do the abbey dash. It became part of my challenge when the LIFF foolishly decided to coincide their last day with the dash. It's fair to say, I was knackered by the end (because my training schedule went out the window these past few weeks) and I came a long way back from my best time. (In fact I don't know what my time was because I forgot to stick my watch on, so I'll have to wait for the chip time. However, it was a great, positive atmosphere of 8000 people all doing their bit for charity. The weather kept mostly well-behaved, and I was glad I took part.
Ponyo (Jpn) (site/wiki)
My final film was one of the most anticipated. Ponyo is a little goldfish-type creature who one day becomes stuck on a dredged-up jam jar. Washed ashore, and nearly dead, she is found and rescued by 5-year old Sōsuke. Naturally, Ponyo becomes smitten and falls in love, but before she can tell him, is dragged back to the seas by her protective father, previously human but now living at the bottom of the sea tirelessly trying to protect it from the thoughtless humans above.
A lot of things happen in Ponyo that do not, and are not meant to, make sense to an adult. For instance Ponyo in a desire to be human grows herself some arms and legs just by concentrating really hard (and using a little magic). Comparable with his other children's fable, My Neighbour Totoro, Ponyo is all about telling a magical story from the viewpoint of a child, something that Miyazaki, now fast approaching 70, still seems to pull off with ease.
I spent all of Ponyo with a stupid big grin on my face. It was lovely. Miyazaki's films often manage to take an old fart like myself and just for a short time, turn them back into children, and Ponyo is yet another example of this. This was the subtitled version, but I hear the dub is of very good quality, and UK cinemas will have a limited release of the film in February. If you have small children, or fancy returning to your childhood self just for a short time, then go see it. 8.5/10
Film Count: 154/150
And that's it. I managed my target with a few films to spare. I think next year, I'll put a cap on the film count of 100 films max, because that level of films is too much to enjoy completely. However, I've really enjoyed this years' films, they were certainly of a higher standard than last year. Keep your eye out for the Golden Plantpots in a short while.