Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton, Gillian Anderson
Japan's genius Hayao Miyazaki has plenty of movies that kids of all ages can watch, like My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, and Spirited Away. Princess Mononokeisn't one of them. It's easily his scariest film-in one scene, for instance, a character's limbs get severed off, and also one of his best.
Japanese viewers of all ages quickly took to Princess Mononoke-it raked in 150 million during its seven-month theatrical run. The scope is epic: After his village gets rampaged upon by a wild boar, a prince named Ashitaka goes on a journey to find a deer god while combating against a wolf god's destruction of Earth's landscape.
That's right, Princess Mononoke is an eco-friendly message movie disguised as a young warrior's tale. Kids have enough trouble tossing soda cans into the proper recycling bins-they're definitely not ready for the wrath of the lycanthropic Moro. But consenting adults should seek it out immediately, as it's gorgeous, brutal, and unlike anything at the American multiplex. —RS