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Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
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Reviews & Ratings for
Spirited Away More at IMDbPro »Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (original title)

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A masterpiece of art from the Walt Disney of Japanese animation.

Author: JTurner82 from Highland Park, NJ
20 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As with Miyazaki's films, SPIRITED AWAY is a magical tapestry of sights and sounds filled with exotic creatures, mythical settings, and, for its heroine, a little girl named Chihiro who is cute and sweet and thankfully not a selfish brat or bad-tempered hysterical bitch (unlike some of the other Anime I was watching around this time period). She starts off as initially sulky, but mainly because of a situation we can all relate to: she is moving with her parents to a new home, and thinks that her new life is "gonna stink". She becomes understandably panicked and suspicious when her parents decide to cross through a forbidden tunnel to a restaurant-filled village where they gobble up food that is sacred and cursed. Yes, CURSED -- her parents are transformed into pigs! To free her mother and father, Chihiro must find work at the town's central bathhouse (populated with all sorts of bizarre and unconventional spirits). The bathhouse's contemptuous owner, a greedy sorceress named Yubaba (who has, MY GOODNESS, THE HUGEST BABY I HAVE *EVER* SEEN!), grudgingly agrees, and in doing so renames her Sen. Although our ten-year old heroine is at first frowned upon by many of the bath house workers, Chihiro finds true friends in Kamaji, the six-legged(!) boiler man, Lin, the gruff but loyal bath house woman, and of course, Haku, a mysterious pale-faced boy whom Chihiro seems to have a deep connection with....

To reveal anything more about this masterpiece would be a crime, but I will emphasize that the artistry is jam-packed with weirdness, imagination, and creativity, from the bathhouse's exotic-looking guests to a mysterious shadowy specter called No Face, who voices anyone he swallows -- and tempts people with gold. The sceneries also deserve special recognition; every location in the film, from the bathhouse's atrium to a breathtaking train ride across a glossy seabed (my personal favorite sequence in the movie) is painted with love and care... so stunning that one feels tempted to grab it like candy. Joe Hisaishi's music score, although not as memorable as some of his earlier works for Miyazaki, is a fabulous accompaniment for the picture; some of the tunes work better for the scenes than as a listening experience. The characters, as always, are believable, full-fledged, and multi-faceted -- there are no cardboard cut characters or caricatures present.

Under the supervision of John Lasseter, a longtime fan of Miyazaki (and creator of many PIXAR productions, most notably TOY STORY, MONSTERS INC., and FINDING NEMO), and Disney director Kirk Wise, the film was dubbed into English -- with phenomenal results that rank with Disney's previous dubs for Miyazaki's films. The cast is quite good, although Daveigh Chase's performance as Chihiro is a little too shrill and whiny at times (albeit excellent overall). Out of the performers who lend their vocals to the characters (including Jason Marsden in what is probably his best role yet, Lauren Holly, Susan Egan, Michael Chiklis, Lauren Holly, and even a cameo from PIXAR regular John Ratzenberger), it is Suzanne Pleshette who steals the show; she plays Yubaba's greedy, loud-mouthed nature, pampering maternal side to her baby, and her twin sister, Zeniba (who, by the way, is the opposite of Yubaba -- she is IDEALLY Granny!) to perfection.

I wouldn't say it is the best Miyazaki dub, though. Practically all of them have been excellent (not counting WARRIORS OF THE WIND, which I haven't seen), and I am therefore reluctant to compare the Disney/Ghibli English tracks to one another as a result. But SPIRITED AWAY's dub, although a bit too overrated IMO, is absolutely well done, and I commend everyone involved.

SPIRITED AWAY received a modestly successful limited theatrical release in America, but it made many of the Top 10 Best Films of 2002 lists and even earned a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Animated Feature of 2002. Indeed, it is almost an understatement to say that if it were not for it's success in America, Disney probably would not have decided to go ahead and release a good remainder of Miyazaki's first-class, imaginative output.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of the Greatest animated movies I've ever seen

Author: aditya sethi from Sweden
15 March 2005

This movie is a very entertaining movie. From the beginning I didn't wanted to watch it but my friend forced me to come and watch this movie on DVD. I thought that I would only watch it for 5 minutes but the story was so interesting that I watched the whole movie completely. When Chihiro and her parents were on their way to move to their new house, Chihiro's dad thought that he could take a shortcut but the shortcut led them to a strange place, a world of witches and monsters but a great paradise place. From the beginning the place had no people but there were loads of rich food that made Chihiro's parents eat them. Later they turned into pigs and Chihiro didn't because she never ate her dish but she gets help of a boy (Haku)who promises that he will save her parents. Í even like Dragonball Z and what made me so happy that Haku was with. He have special powers like the characters in Dragonball Z have.

If you want to watch an animated movie, watch this, that got so many Oscars. Believe me, this is a not typical Japanese kinky film, this is a film of quality.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful Adevnture for whole family

Author: Bernardo Von Doh from United States
11 March 2005

This film brought me in and didn't let go. I was enticed by its mystery, beauty, and weirdness. I am not usually an anime fan but this has now got me interested in trying anime and has also taught me the lesson to not judge a whole genre by what I've seen glimpses of aka "don't judge a book by it's cover." I thought this was a wonderful film that was different and well put together. The adventure that this girl goes on, was the farthest thing from normal, and all though childish at times, it made me want to be a kid again. I hated the evil villains and loved the heroes (heroins.) This is one of the best family films I have seen in a long time and I enjoyed it along with my entire family.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: larryniven-1 ( from Amherst, MA, USA
7 November 2004

absolutely excellent.

the world, despite never expressing the rules by which it operates, is completely consistent. the acting (at least the Japanese acting) is terrific. the art is clean and very sharp and VERY good. the story has a lot of refreshing, believable fairy-tale-like aspects without the tiresome little-kid humor that has infected Disney movies over the past couple of decades. last, but certainly not least, the music is stunning.

yeah, it wont blow your mind and nothing blows up, but if you're looking for an enjoyable movie, you won't find one better.

apparently i need to write some more because IMDb is a punk, so i will beat to death how good this movie is. have you ever had a dream where you find yourself in this amazing, alien place where things have just that tiniest bit of familiarity, but you don't know how you got there? that is this movie. watch it.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: wyldcat26 from Australia
6 October 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is most definitely worth watching.

It starts with Chihiro traveling to her new house. Her dad loses his way and they end up in an abandoned theme park, which is actually the spirit world. Her parents are turned into pigs and Chihiro has to get work at the nearby bathhouse to survive, and later save her parents from becoming bacon. She makes a lot of friends on the way, as well as a few enemies here and there.

[WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW] all the way until it says "no more" - badly paraphrased.

After you watch the US version, make it a point to watch the original Japanese version. Let me tell you now that some of the dialogue is different (and in a lot of places, better). I don't understand why Disney wanted to add Chihiro saying, "Haku...he's a dragon?" It spoils the effect later.

Also, Disney added some dialogue when the two of them are walking through the garden. Silence between them both is very much more effective than unwanted lines.

And why on earth did Disney make Chihiro say, "I'm going to look for Haku" instead of, "I'm going to see Kamaji"? Because in the US version, all she does is go on the balcony to their room. It doesn't make sense, especially since she cares a lot about Haku.

Plus, the voice of Haku (in the Japanese version) is a lot more bearable to listen to than Jason Marsden (US version).

However, the US version is good in some ways, especially when Chihiro says, "I knew you were good!" when she and Haku are free falling in the sky (towards the end). And Daveigh Chase is great as Chihiro, as well as the voice of Yubaba, Lin and Kamaji.

So, I suggest you see the US version (to get the story properly in your head) and then watch the Japanese version.


The music is also great - get the soundtrack! The animation is wonderful with no obvious bits of CGI standing out. And you can connect to the characters very easily.

10/10, or more!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

one of the great movies

Author: thiu ( from Philippines
22 August 2004

What can you say about this movie? It's one of the great movies. It's about discovery, love and adventure. What more can you really ask for? The movie really is simple yet is so inspiring and touches you to the core.

Sen here used to be a self-absorbed girl yet this world that she finds herself in opens her eyes to so many things and finally giving her the strength to fight for what she wants and freeing her parents. She also finally does things for others. What an inspiring story. Good, really good. This is what a movie should be. it should inspire and touch people with the sincerity of the story. most movies now want to manipulate people's feelings but this one doesn't.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of the best MOVIES I've seen !

Author: fedtho from Geneva, Switzerland
6 July 2004

I distinctly remember that, on the way out of the theatre, I realized I had totally forgotten about the film being an animation!

I couldn't remember, and still can't, when I was that drawn into a movie and into the world of an author. Certainly very subjective, but I felt that this work speaks to the child AND to the grown-up in me, and I didn't experience that so often...

The incredibly intense moods, particularly some very calm moments where nothing happens, almost no sound... beyond words at its best moments (which, to me, is: most of the time!), though I admit - to give it the honesty it certainly deserves - having being a bit lost in the overwhelming diversity of caracters and events some times...

But that's really nothing compared to what this film gave to me (I didn't even say "film" on purpose...).

Not the one to watch if you want to get violently distracted... (Mission impossible 1 & 2, Terminator 1 - 3, and so on).

Definitely worth watching, I'd put it in my top ten of the past ten years.

How do you describe emotions? This movie shows what pictures and sound can do when a master is using them to let his soul speak...

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Miyazaki has done it again

Author: sho32 from United States
3 June 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers within.

I first saw this movie in theaters about two years ago. It was not a mainstream release, and I'm lucky that I have a theater nearby which plays small, independent, and foreign films. After I left the theater, I was stunned at how much the film had emotionally impacted me. I knew, however, that viewing such an excellent film only once was not enough to glean all the beauty that it has to offer. So, I awaited the April 15, 2003 DVD release date with eager anticipation. I bought the DVD as soon as it came out, and I have seen Spirited Away many times now.

One of the aspects that impresses me the most is the mood this movie sets. I am thinking particularly of the times when Chihiro is in between the human world and the spirit world. Scenes like inside the train station, where Miyazaki shows such details as sunlight streaming through a faded stained-glass window and an aged water fountain slowly dripping water onto the floor, coupled with Joe Hisaishi's eerie and erratic piano, showed me that Miyazaki pays close attention to detail and mood.

I am also intrigued by the insight Spirited Away offers into Japanese culture and mythology. I love learning about Japan, since its traditional culture is so distinct from the U.S.'s. It is cool to see even little things, such as removing the shoes before entering a house. This movie is another way of learning about Japan.

The storyline of Spirited Away also draws me in. It is so wild and unusual that it works well. I have never seen a movie with a story similar to this. Despite the wildly original storyline, the characters are easy to understand and become attached to. They are unique and full of life; they never become dull. Chihiro demonstrates moral values through her courage, and by caring enough about her parents to risk her life for them. The scene where she finally frees her parents from Yubaba's spell is particularly indicative of this.

Yet another reason why I have become so attached to this movie is the soundtrack. The composer, Joe Hisaishi, has created a wonderful and brilliant score of music that perfectly complements the mood and events of the movie (as I mentioned in the first paragraph). In fact, Hisaishi's score is so excellent that is works well as stand-alone music also, which is why I have the soundtrack.

The first Miyazaki movie I ever saw was Princess Mononoke. That picture was a masterpiece (musical score also by Hisaishi), but I think Miyazaki has outdone himself in producing Spirited Away. This film is a beautiful work of art, and I recommend it to anyone who can appreciate the subtleties of a movie that caters to more than the lowest common denominator. 10/10.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Entertainment at its best!

Author: ( from Cincinnati, Ohio
29 May 2004

The attention to detail in this animation surpass most animations. The fantastic artistry depicts the character's emotions perfectly. You are immediately 'drawn' into the story and remain there until the credits. The story, the voice acting, the animation, are all the best examples I have seen in animation. Anyone familiar with Hayao Miyazaki's work knows he is a genius story teller and I feel Spirited Away is his best to date. This show is extremely entertaining for folks of all ages. If you are new to Anime this is definitely a great introduction to Asian quality and style animation. This show is perfect on all levels, I could not recommend it more.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Master Piece

Author: sophie_lou21 from U.K, England
2 May 2004

This is probably one of the most wonderful Anime films ever made. It's worth every piece of praise it gets. The most wonderful thing is that not only children can fall in love with this story.

The characters are wonderful too. The young Chihiro takes her role as the heroine and a very different one of that. This Chihiro is bratty and whines a lot too (This is shown a lot more in the English dub). Chihiro and her parents stumble not the 'Spirit World' and Chihiro finds herself on a most exciting adventure.

Chihiro, to survive must work in the evil witch, Yubaba's bathhouse. Yubaba robs Chihiro of her name and re-names her 'Sen'. But thankfully Chihiro isn't alone in this strange world. Helping Chihiro on this adventure is the mysterious yet handsome young Haku. He, a kind and wonderful friend to Chihiro and tries to help her as much as he can. However, he also has had his name robbed of him.

The wonderful story and plot is one we will never forget and characters which say more then an interesting character for a movie. That part of what I said is shown in the strange No-face, whom just wants to have friends.

'There is a No-Face in all of us' I believe it's true.

This film is worth 10/10 and five stars in any book. Even the wonderful song at the end gives 'Spirited Away' a powerful force on our hearts. Everything in this film from the start to finish is a masterpiece. I think this has to be one of the best-animated films ever made.

***** Five Stars

10/10 For Plot and Character

AND... 1000% Support!

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