Princess Mononoke

Hayao Miyazaki’s epic 1999 fantasy is grounded in a mythology as richly complex as Disney’s fairy tales are simplistic. The last of a lost clan, Prince Ashitaka leaves his peaceful paradise on a quest to find a cure for the demonic disease threatening to devour him. He travels west into a medieval Japan in the early stages of industrialization, where he finds forests razed and the earth sucked dry of resources. Yet the natural world has rallied to fight the human incursion. Miyazaki paints his figures in moral shades of gray—presenting the yin and yang within both man and nature. His figurehead is Mononoke herself, a wolf child and primal eco-warrior who leads the charge against her blood kin, humankind, in a battle of apocalyptic proportions. (PG-13) SEAN AXMAKER

Sat., Oct. 4, midnight; Sun., Oct. 5, midnight, 2008

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