Very eccentric and a bit too "foreign" but good
JTurner - wrote on 05/31/09
In what may be one of the oddest films to come from the Ghibli library, this docudrama fantasy about shape-shifting raccoons struggling to protect their forest from human development (which is mostly narrated) also happens to be one of the most difficult for Disney to translate. Lots of references to Japanese ghost stories and songs may freak out unsuspecting viewers. More controversial are the multiple scenes where the raccoons use their inflatable testicles(!) -- coined as "pouches" in the dub -- to cause disasters or play pranks. There's also little in the way of character development, with only several raccoons having a significant amount of screen time to emerge as memorable. However, the production values, as is typical of a Ghibli film, are top-notch, and Ghibli enthusiasts will enjoy pointing out the cameos by Kiki, Totoro, and Porco Rosso. Not a film for everybody, but interesting nonetheless, POM POKO is a surprising change of pace for director Isao Takahata (who helmed the heartbreaking masterpiece GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES), but fans of Ghibli's works should find it to be of interest. In what may be equally unusual, Disney's dub employs traditional voice actors (with the exception of THE LION KING's Jonathan Taylor Thomas) to portray the raccoons. Consequently, there aren't that many voices which stand out. It works well in this film's favor, though.