i saw ponyo with my 3 year old niece who has (up until three weeks ago) only lived in japan. my sister told me that it costs like 40 (american) dollars to go to the movie theater in japan, so not only was this her (my niece not my sister) first time in an american movie theater, but her first time in a movie theater ever.
and the experience was too much for her:
-the previews start with disney pitching their movie for change we can believe in titled the princess and the frog or something like that (we finally got a black president so now we can finally have a major animated disney movie feature black characters in leading roles; it’s also strange the way the movie was previewed with words about the great disney animation tradition spanning 70 plus years but all the visual references showed in the preview were from disney movies produced in the last 20 years — the past as a series of pop images) and already my niece can’t stand the noise. the previews (with their swelling music and bravado) are just too loud.
-movie theaters have a lof of features in common with pyschological torture techniques — extremes of sensory deprivation and sensory overload. one minute it’s dark and quite, the next you’re brain is bombarded with so many sound and light waves it can’t possibly process them all and you’re left traumatized. since i’ve been going to movies for almost 30 years, i’m use to the (self)-torture, but it almost killed my niece.
even though my niece didnt like it, i thought ponyo was amazing.