Princess Mononoke is without a doubt a Hayao Miyazaki movie. It contains incredible story telling, lots of action and insight into human nature. Many consider this one of the best animated movies ever made.
Princess Mononoke is set in medival Japan and tells the story of Prince Ashitaka who becomes cursed to slowly die by a rampaging boar god he kills to save his village. Ashitaka finds out that an iron bullet found in the boar god's body was the source for all its hate towards humans. Ashitaka then sets out on a quest to the west to find out who was responsible for injuring the boar god.
Ashitaka learns that in this case there are no real villians. While the people of iron town are responsible for the boar's injury and are destorying the nearby forests for iron they are not evil. They are a caring people who are trying to scrape together a living with the constant fear of attack by neighbouring warlords. The forest gods desire to destory the humans for tresappasing in their forest and are justified in their anger due to the severity of the human's rape of the land.
With Ashitaka's curse granting him super human strength, he tries to keep the humans and the forest gods from fighting. He helplessly watches while the forces of the forest lead by Princess Mononoke, a human girl raised by the wolf god Moro, and the humans, lead by Lady Eboshi of iron town, gather for the final battle.
While Ashitaka can't stop the inevitable conculsion from happening, he does manage to touch the wild heart of Princess Mononoke. Amid the battle fields between the humans and the forest gods their love grows and sets an example to all that it is possible for very different people to coexist.
The first time I saw this film I had no idea what it was about! I had never even heard of Mononoke Hime (the Japanese title) but I had a rather fun time educating myself. I can't find bad about it to say about it except at over 2 hours it is quite long. I give it ten out of ten.
North American Distribution:
Disney holds the rights to distribution of this and many other Tokuma films. It was released theatrically in North America by Miramax and is now aviliable on DVD and VHS. The DVD version has English, Japanese and French langauge tracks and subtitles in English and French.