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I went out of my way to catch this movie at the El Capitan Theatre in
Hollywood and was blown away. I'm a big fan of Miyazaki but have only
Castle of Cagliostro, Princess Mononoke and now this.
Where Princess Mononoke was high on action and environmental issues,
Spirited Away is high on emotion and issues of love.
When the movie begins, you are greeted with Miyazaki's astonishing art work and animation. The bright colors and subtleness bring peace to your eyes. The story keeps you glued to your seat as it takes you to incredible places and introduces you to amazing characters.
Miyazaki puts a 10yr old girl as it's protaganist. Her innocence, wits, and amazing courage make for a great heroin in this amazing adventure. A la Alice in Wonderland.
If anything, this movie made me feel young again. As more and more incredible things unraveled before my eyes, I just sat there wide-eyed and full of wonder.
The musical score by the legendary Jo Hisaishi (who composed scores for most if not all Miyazaki movies) is as usual astonishing. His music combined with Miyazaki's artwork, makes scenes more breathtaking, suspensful and emotional.
Catch this movie if you can find it. You'll be taken on an adventure you will never forget.
This was a really fun film to watch. Miyazaki's imagination depicts a whole
other world through the eyes of young Chihiro. The colors radiate life
especially the garden scene which looked awesome on a digital projector.
The story's so straightforward but it's the journey of telling it that
fascinates and draws you in from beginning to end. I remember talking to
friends after seeing it and we all had interesting points. I felt the film
focuses on Chihiro's innocence as compared with the other characters she
encounters, but her child like views are so carefree (and naive at times)
and her youthful exuberance really makes it endearing. Another friend said
it was a coming of age and how Chihiro herself progresses throughout the
film. I mean, if you can find so much insight in a film, you know you have
a great film.
Spirited Away is not too dark and there are plenty of laughs throughout. A definite buy on my DVD list.
Starting with the bad news (which there is hardly any of). The movie is
125 minutes long with credits but you will wish it were 187 minutes long.
The film has one very noticeable (but fairly standard) continuity
The good news, it is one of the best films you will ever see. It ties with Fellowship of the Ring as #1 movie of 2001. Unforgettable story and visuals will make you want to see it again and again.
The story involves a girl who is accidentally in the spirit world when her parents (who later become pigs) take a wrong turn on their way moving to suburbia. Haku helps her through the maze of gods and spirits but he may be working for the Yu-Baaba (which literally in Japanese means Bath Crone). But enough story. Go see for yourself why this is such a good movie. When I saw this film I saw the English dubbed version. Like Mononoke it was a very good dub.
Rated PG for frightening and violent images. Suggested for ages 9 and up.
If anyone from Disney reads this please make Spirited Away a huge DVD with a DTS-ES track and loads of features from the Japanese DVD.
Spirited Away is the latest in a string of incredible animated films by
Hayao Miyazaki, the most renowned animator in Japanese history and most say
in the best in world. He takes a couple steps close to the best in the
world title with this film.
It's the story of Chihiro as she is caught in a world where humans are not allowed: a world of magic, gods and a Japanese bathhouse. As we meet Chihiro we realize that she is a bit spoiled and has never done anything for herself. As her adventures progress, she matures in ways that she doesn't even realize. This is a journey of self-discovery and a study in forced independence.
Many have compared it to Alice In Wonderland, but where Alice, I thought, was a two-dimensional character going from adventure to adventure, Chihiro is well rounded. She figures out how to be adaptable to an ever-changing world and discovers how to solve her problems instead of running away from them. She is a `real' girl shoved into a world of Japanese mythology where she is ignorant of the rules.
And her problem solving is the best part of the film and the reason I liked this one better then Princess Mononoke. Chihiro uses her kindness, courage and courtesy as her weapons. Even when violence erupts all around her, she relies on her wit and intelligence instead of magic, swords or arrows. These are lessons that children should be exposed to instead of explosions and gore that make up a lot of cinema. If I had kids, you bet I'd be taking them to see this one.
But don't get me wrong; this film is able to thrill adults, too. It is so full of imagination the film seems barely able to contain itself. While it is not as lush as Mononoke (it may have been the print I saw), Spirited Away is gorgeously animated and the dubbing work is almost perfectly synched. In fact, after Chihiro is whisked away I didn't even notice anything out of place.
There were; however, about three scenes that I remember thinking that the score seemed out of place and became distracting, but that's my only complaint. I can easily see why this is Japan's biggest moneymaking film of all time. It's a story well told with visuals beautiful to behold. It's simply timeless.
The beautiful looking work of Spirited Away will catch you breathless
from the get go, but sadly the story will neither entice nor enthrall
you enough to stay focused on what's happening. The films story feels
rather surreal and incoherent, giving no indication to what and why
characters do certain actions. It also fails at being anything near
original, muddling up previously used stories and creating one big
Whilst the story of Spirited Away may be hard for some to understand, one cannot leave the film without praising the artwork. It almost makes up for a lack of a coherent storyline, but for the most part the story does leave you wanting to know more; but to know more about what's happening, not about what's going to happen.
I usually do not review cartoons since they are usually for children,
but I wanted to see this one since it won an Oscar and was very highly
rated on the IMDb 250 films. First of all I do not think it deserves to
be so high on that ladder. IMDb 250 is not so, according to my opinion,
relevant to which films are so good. Some I would not put there, like
Yes, the cartoon was excellent, quality of it was outstanding. But I found plot too much for the kids. It was not for the adults like me, so I recommend you give it to the kids to watch and you take your wife out for a good dinner.
Kids will be mesmerized by all those monsters and witches, but do not be crazy when kid wakes you up screaming frightened. ;)
SPIRITED AWAY is a well-regarded Studio Ghibli animation about a young
girl's adventures in a fantastic netherworld filled with all manner of
strange and terrifying creations. While it packs more imagination into
one movie than ten Disney cartoons, it feels a little aimless and
meandering, in search of a decent storyline to go along with the madcap
In terms of visual spectacle, at times this is as good as it gets for an anime: every scene features all kind of kooky, uniquely-crafted monsters and creatures. My favourite has to be the three bouncing heads. Unfortunately, the protagonist - a sullen little girl - turns out to be rather irritating and her journey to greater understanding is slow and over obvious.
I'm inclined to like these Ghibli movies, but SPIRITED AWAY is no classic; it starts well and tails off, with a stodgy middle and better ending. So far, my favourites are those that take place in the 'real' world - like GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES and PONYO - rather than those that exist in a fantasy landscape, like this and the overrated PRINCESS MONONOKE.
I'm a huge Ghibli fan and admit this was a great movie and deserved every single prize it won. Had some cute "Ghibli treats" like the Susuwataris (Totoros Dust Bunnies) but overall, and maybe for the first time, I didn't felt the originality Ghibli has everyone used to: Whole concept of being trapped inside a new world and trying to save it before returning to their own reminded me a lot of Neverending Story. Could be coincidence in there, but then you see that Chihiro must protect her identity and name before she forgets it. Exactly the same happened to Bastian. Haku can turn into a flying dragon (although his hair reminds me of Atreyu), Neverending story has Falcor the luck dragon. I read the book and watched the movies as a kid, I see a heavy influence here. Spirited away is a great film, I just didn't saw anything new. Not Ghiblis best. Probably number 3 next to Princess Mononoke and Grave of the fireflies. (I'd give this title 5 stars, you can thank NoFace for the extra ones)
I only recently saw Spirited Away and I was extremely pleased with it. I searched out some of the negative comments out of curiosity to see what possibly could some people NOT like about this movie. Most reasons pointed to the lack of character development and the lack of a real story that made sense. In other words they expected something that fits perfectly together as often happens in all Disney movies. Not to say that Disney movies are bad, they're just different, they're very simplistic and offer nothing more than an hour's worth of entertainment. Spirited Away blew me away, all the motifs were portrayed so carefully and subtly and with such amazing animation visuals. It combined elements of many classical popular stories that I myself was familiar with and thus able to enjoy. It is probable that individuals exposed only to the Disney "culture" which comes very very close to no culture at all is negatively surprised by this movie. For everybody else who is familiar with coming of age stories, and other stories rich with fables and with lessons will see the lessons and motifs portrayed in Spirited Away and will not JUST look for a plot line and character development, but will see beyond that to discover that the plot was fantastic and there was also plenty of character development. For those of you who haven't seen this feature I wish you GOOD viewing! Do see this film on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film works well with children
but works wonders with adults. Much
like "Alice In Wonderland", it revolves around a world which appears to
be extraordinary but at the same time reflects many aspects of our
own society, and the human nature. Miyazaki's quality of animation is
brilliant as usual, much like his vision to create something so
creatively profound, entertaining and intensely symbolic. A perfect
example of the latter is an appropriately named character called
No-Face. To me he appeared to be a reference to the many socially
insecure people out there, who stay in the shadows but secretly crave
for friendship. When Chihiro behaves in a warm manner with him, he is
so overwhelmed that he becomes desperate to seek her attention and to
make her happy in any way possible. Another symbolic aspect I found
towards the end of the movie, was when Haku strictly told Chihiro not
to "look back", until she had come out of the cave. This instantly
reminded me of a Greek myth I had read as a child, - whereby a man who
had gone to depths of Hell to bring back his dead wife, was instructed
to do the same, but failed to comply due to his doubtful nature.
Perhaps Miyazaki wanted to imply that by "looking back", Chihiro would
have unknowingly expressed a hint of regret and this might have enabled
Yu-Baba to seize her back into the magical land. Of course, there is
also the rather abrupt ending which I had found a bit weird at first
but when I thought about it I realised that it was most probably done
on purpose, to maintain an element of mystery in the viewer's mind, as
to whether Chihiro and Haku were ever able to meet again or not. All
said and done, I did have one complaint with the movie
story involved an extraordinary, magical land there was an enormous
amount of scope and although I found the movie to be very intriguing
I feel that it could have been even more adventurous and exciting.
That's just me. On the whole though, I can't deny the fact that this is
one of the most unique, enthralling animation experiences I've ever
My Final Rating: 8.5/10.
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