Princess Mononoke appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a strong presentation.
Sharpness worked well at all times – indeed, the image revealed the limitations of the source, as any softness related to the original art. Those instances seemed modest at worst, so the movie felt accurate and concise.
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects emerged, and I saw no edge haloes. Light grain cropped up, and the image lacked print flaws.
With a warm palette, the film’s colors worked well. The tones appeared vivid and dynamic throughout the movie.
Blacks were deep and dense, while shadows seemed firm and smooth. Everything about the image satisfied.
In addition, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack also fared nicely. We got a soundfield that leaned toward the front speakers but still came across as well-rounded.
Audio moved well from channel to channel, and the overall impression remained good. The surrounds kicked in music throughout the film as well as effects during louder sequences. The rears also provided general ambiance that helped fill the room.
Audio quality appeared consistently solid, as dialogue felt distinct and warm with no problems related to edginess or lack of intelligibility. Music appeared bright and rich and presented good dynamics, as did the effects.
Those aspects of the mix seemed clear and bold and offered no concerns related to distortion. The entire package boasted some good bass. As a whole, the soundtrack of Princess Mononoke worked well for the film.
Note that the disc offered both the original Japanese soundtrack as well as a dubbed English version. It also came with two kinds of subtitles: one set translated from the Japanese dialogue and one from the English dub.
A few extras appear here, and we get an unusual option: Feature-Length Storyboards. These offer precisely what they imply and give us the opportunity to view the entire film via its storyboards. This seems like a cool addition for fans.
Two featurettes follow, and Princess Mononoke In USA runs 19 minutes, 55 seconds. It brings notes from director Hayao Miyazaki as he meets the press in North America and tours various places.
Miyazaki offers some notes about his work, though a lot of “USA” just feels like a view of the director’s visit. It becomes a mediocre featurette that needs more depth.
Behind the Microphone goes for five minutes, 13 seconds and boasts remarks from US voice director Jack Fletcher, US screenwriter Neil Gaiman, and US actors Jada Pinkett-Smith, Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thornton, Gillian Anderson and Claire Danes.
They discuss the movie’s story/themes as well as aspects of voice performances. Don’t expect much substance from this promo piece, though I like the brief glimpses of the actors at work.
Finally, we get ads. The disc finishes with eight trailers and 13 TV spots.
One subtitle note: with “USA”, we get English subtitles for comments rendered only in Japanese, and we find Japanese text for remarks solely in English. We get no option to watch the featurette with subtitles for everything.
Few films receive praise as glowing as the raves heaped upon Princess Mononoke. While many will disagree with me, I don’t see the reasons behind these attitudes, as I think the movie delivers a fairly interesting but unspectacular eco-fantasy. The Blu-ray brings very good picture and audio along with a handful of bonus materials. The film doesn’t connect with me, but its legion of fans should feel happy with this release.