A beautifully realized tale of civilization versus nature, PRINCESS MONONOKE is a true epic by Japan's master animator Hayao Miyazaki. While protecting his village from a rampaging boar-god, the warrior Ashitaka (Billy Crudup) is cursed with a rapidly spreading scar that threatens to end his life. Seeking a cure and a reason for the animal-god's attack, he journeys into the sacred depths of the Great Forest Spirit's realm. On the edge of this once serene forest, however, the Tatara clan have begun to destroy the surrounding land to produce iron. In retaliation, San (Claire Danes), the adopted daughter of the wolf-god Moro (Gillian Anderson), has begun raiding the Tatara fortress to stop their encroachment. Soon Ashitaka is caught in the middle and must stop the war between the humans and the forest dwellers before they destroy each other.
Miyazaki, who was personally responsible for 80,000 of the film's 144,000 hand drawings, uses the story's lush feudal setting as a character unto itself, filling the screen with vast mountainous landscapes and gorgeous wooded glens that recall his early film, NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND. The film also features battle sequences that are reminiscent of the stunning live action warfare in Akira Kurosawa's RAN. The startlingly fluid movements of these mythological characters are detailed far beyond any other hand-animated production, easily making this one of the most spectacular animated films ever made.