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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.
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.
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.
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.
*** 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.
If you are not Japanese, definitely see this movie with the Japanese soundtrack and subtitles, not dubbed. The sound will then go with the gestures and facial expressions. The story is a great introduction to themes in Japanese culture. The words "spirits" and "gods" which are used interchangeably in the movie are translations of "kami" (you can see the term in the title in Japanese), which is a Shinto concept of a spirit being, not god as thought of by Jews, Christians, and Muslims (who might be offended by a "stink god") . Many things in nature are filled with this kind of spiritual power--rivers, winds, rocks, etc. (For example, kamikaze means "divine wind" and it referred originally to the two great typhoons that destroyed the Mongol fleets when they tried to invade Japan in the 1200s). As other reviewers have pointed out, the story is about Chihiro's transformation from a whiny brat to a self-reliant, courteous, compassionate and aware individual. The viewer may see a resemblance to Memoirs of a Geisha in the heroine's maturation from a frightened little girl traumatically separated from her parents to a servant who must start at the bottom of the hierarchy and finally to a self-reliant and successful person. Another theme that is similar is the character of the greedy, powerful, witch-like owner of the establishment. Yubaba is contrasted to Zeniba; the former's home is "in bad taste" with a lot of imported ornate stuff (from chinoiserie to western-style furnishings) whereas Zeniba's cottage is very wabi-sabi (rustic-archaic) and simple, hearkening back to traditional Japanese design. Another thing I liked about the movie was its complete acceptance of a girl-protagonist (whereas girls are often treated as "second-best" in American movies). Japanese gender hierarchy and women's "submissiveness" are not as simple as some folks think. In early Japanese history, women were very powerful and autonomous figures--politically powerful, writers, etc. Originally the society was matrilocal and women had considerable say in their personal lives. The emperor is the descendant of the sun-goddess. Women's status declined in the samurai period and the Meiji Restoration, but there are still traces of their originally higher status and importance. So Spirited Away is not only fun entertainment but also a little introduction to themes and values of Japanese culture.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had only experiences Japanese anime with the mildly entertaining but ultimately terrible Pokémon and Digimon, but I have to say, I was looking forward more to this good looking film from Studio Ghibli, dubbed into English and director Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke). Basically ten-year old Chihiro (Lilo & Stitch's Daveigh Chase) is moving to a house in the suburbs with her mother (Dumb and Dumber's Lauren Holly) and father (The Shield's Michael Chiklis). They get out of the car to walk down a lonely dirt road, and end up in open country surroundings, and finding a café which the parents eat in. Chihiro wanders off, and briefly meets the mysterious Haku (Jason Marsden) who warns her to leave immediately, but she can't when she discovers her parents have become pigs, literally. Haku finds her and promises to help by by getting a job at the bathhouse working for Yubaba (Suzanne Pleshette), who has a nicer twin sister Zeniba (also Pleshette) and the thousands of God and spirit customers. Chihiro does as well as she can in this strange world, but she must find a way to break her parents spell and be able to return home. Also starring Hercules' Susan Egan as Lin, David Ogden Stiers as Kamajii and John Ratzenberger as Assistant Manager. The story is a little strange, but bare in mind it is Japanese, but with good dubbing voices and aspiring animation, you'll enjoy the experience. It won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and it won the BAFTA for Best Film not in the English Language. It was number 68 on The 100 Greatest Family Films, and it was number 8 on The 100 Greatest Cartoons. Very good!
Leave any preconceptions about this being a kids film at home, this is
breathtaking. A simple enough story, told with such charm and
imagination that it is hard not to love. In every moment there are
elements that western cinema might spin into a whole film, but here
they are just passing ideas. Every location is so full of life and
spirit (pun intended) that a totally immersive atmosphere envelops the
viewer at every stage.
The film is gentle, yet does not shy away from death and emotion. It's not over-sentimental in it's approach either, just perfectly balanced. It made me genuinely laugh out loud, and cry too - a film hasn't provoked this reaction in me for five years.
I have never seen such a brilliant animation, it surpasses the Bellvue Rendezvous and any other you care to think of. It's not just amongst animations that this film should be compared, it's amongst all films, of every genre, for the young or old. Standing tall among giants, this is truly great cinema.
Yeah... Spirited Away, or Sen to Chihiro as they call it here. My DVD said Spirited Away. It's a Dutch version with Dutch dubs and original Japanese language on it. Also there are Dutch subs. I've only watched Japanese with Dutch subs. Two times. Yes... It was such a great films from Studio Ghibli's living legend Hayao Miyazaki. I love all his films. And I like most of the other films from Studio Ghibli too. Like Grave of the Fireflies... it's such a drama, really beautiful. But right... this is Spirited Away. It's a great film. You get a nice feeling when you watch it. It's a little bit dramatic, but you won't get down of it. It's some fantasy. There are creatures in it, like ghost. You won't see the difference between good and evil, 'cause the line between that is really vague. Some things look bad, but are good. It's a film who's loved by young and old. Even adults can enjoy the deep lying thoughts in it. I really recommit this. If you have watched this and liked it, but want some more action, you can try Princess Mononoke. It's also a Ghiblifilm, but with some more action. And if you haven't watched it yet, have fun!
Sen to Chihiro No Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) is a fantastic journey. This movie will keep you entertained through the entire movie, I have never witnessed a more touching and beautiful movie in my entire life. Spirited Away is a must see for all ages and will keep you watching over and over for years to come. Even for those of you not interested in animated movies this one will surely brighten your day, the animation is unbelievable and the characters are very life-like. In fact in my opinion all aspects of this film are absolutely flawless, do yourself a favor and watch this film. In conclusion Spirited Away is a fantastic film and I for one will be watching it for years and years. Bye!
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