It's been two or three years since I've watched any Miyazaki, which is far too long. Princess Mononoke isn't my favorite of his films: bearing in mind that I've probably only seen five of them, that distinction would go to Kiki's Delivery Service or My Neighbor Totoro — both of which make me smile a bit just thinking about them, though it's been years since I"ve seen either. But Mononoke certainly has some stunning visuals: the portrayal of demonic possession as being covered with writhing snakes is particularly effective: even thought I knew it was coming, I still flinched with the giant pig-demon first appeared out of the woods. (I'm pretty sure I looked away from the screen when I first saw it, in a theater.) And I suspect I could happily sit through an hour of watching the forest spirit's footsteps — so beautiful! Mononoke may also be a more ambitious movie than the other Studio Ghibli films I've seen. There is no cartoon villain here: all the parties are aggrieved; all are portrayed with sympathy. As is generally the case when conflict arises in our own world, all of the parties are justified. And in that, the movie provides much food for thought.
Seeing it agian certainly had one good effect: It reminded me that I haven't watched anywhere near enough of Miyazaki's work. I looked into netflix when they were still fairly new, and at the time they didn't carry several of the titles I tried searching for, so i didn't sign up. I'd been thinking recently about giving them another look, and with that in mind went to their site and searched in Miyazaki. And I am now a netflix member, with a queue consisting of
Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Castle in the Sky
The Cat Returns
Howl's Moving Castle
So my Miyazaki education should proceed significantly in the next few weeks.