The first animated film to win the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year, "Princess Mononoke" is Director Hayao Miyazaki's epic masterpiece. The story follows the young warrior Ashitaka (Crudup) who is inflicted with a deadly curse and heads west in search of a cure. There, he stumbles into a bitter conflict between Lady Eboshi (Driver) and the proud people of Iron Town, and enigmatic Princess Mononke (Ishida), a young girl raised by wolves, who will stop at nothing to prevent the humans from destroying her home and the forest spirits and animal gods who live there. (Gary Reber)
Special features in this limited-edition set housed in an elegant hard slipcase include a new 40-page book with stunning art and essays by film critic Glenn Kenny, the film's soundtrack on CD, feature-length storyboards, original theatrical trailers, TV spots, and the featurettes "Princess Mononoke In USA" and "Behind The Microphone."
The 1.85:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p with greater resolution and luminance, appears in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on an MPEG-4 AVC-encoded BD-50 with an average of 40.42 Mbps bitrate. The picture quality of the animation is stunning with an impressive color palette and supportive resolution. Primaries are strongly saturated and vibrant, with appealing hue shadings. Resolution is overall superb with fine detail exhibited throughout. Black levels are deep and satisfying with a good contrast range that reveals subtle shadowing and illuminations. This is an outstanding remastered animated classic that collectors will cherish. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audioô 5.1-channel English language soundtrack deliver consistently intelligible dialogue with good spatial integration. The original Japanese language version is subtitled. The sound is dynamic with a solid low-frequency foundation and .1 LFE extension that delivers the full strength of sound effects, such as roars and snarls, powerful explosions, thunderous boar charges, and ground-shaking demon attacks. Surround envelopment is far less aggressive but sonically supportive in creating soundscapes for forests, villages and ironworks enhanced with directionality. Silence and serenity is just as essential to Mononoke's sound design and is well crafted with regard to scenes of serenity, which effectively contrast with the more deafening battles and visceral fight scenes. This is the definitive rendering of this Japanese anime classic. (Gary Reber)