Spirited Away (2001) Poster


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Strange, touching and beautiful
gogoschka-126 December 2013
Personally, I've never seen anything as original in an animated film as in this deeply mythical fairytale. What a surreal idea for a movie! It's hard to find an adequate description (because I also don't want to spoil this in the slightest way) but this film has a sense of "otherness" to it - for lack of a better word - like none I've ever seen. And the strange, mythical nature of this film - apart from the amazing artwork - is probably one of the main reasons for its appeal to me.

Maybe the themes of the story don't feel quite as strange to an eastern audience because they fit to a certain degree with some eastern/Asian mythologies - to me, this beautiful piece of wonder was something new. And a profoundly moving experience.

Outstanding animation; funny, weird, scary and touching at the same time, this unique work of art is one I can't recommend enough. 10 out of 10.

Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/
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MR_Heraclius15 February 2020
Despite an overlong run time, Spirited Away is a visually stunning film filled with some of the most imaginative characters I've ever seen. In addition to the visuals, the music is beautiful, and the story has something for audience members of all ages.
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a minority dissenting view
Buddy-513 May 2003
In Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar-winning animated feature, `Spirited Away,' a young girl by the name of Chihiro and her parents stumble across an abandoned `amusement park' that turns out to be a mysterious bathhouse for the spirit world (a la `Carnival of Souls'). After her parents are turned into pigs, the young girl must infiltrate the bathhouse to find a way to make them human again. Chihiro encounters an amazing array of strange and exotic creatures abiding there, some of whom help her in her quest and some of whom don't.

No one would ever deny the visual splendor and wealth of imagination that have gone into the look of this film. The animators have created an entire world filled with inhabitants that defy description. Moreover, the elegance of the backgrounds and the fluidity of the movement provide some of the best work in those areas that animation has ever offered. One appreciates the effort, especially in this day and age when imagination in movies is at such a premium. Therefore, I feel like a bit of an ingrate pointing out that `Spirited Away' might actually have been a somewhat better film had the filmmakers opted for a little LESS imagination in favor of a little more discipline in the storytelling. The filmmakers are so busy trying to dazzle us with their creativity that we end up with more characters and subplots than the film can reasonably cope with. The story often feels arbitrary in nature, with events that seem unrelated to each other vying for our attention just so we can be impressed with how creative everyone is trying to be. The film seems to ramble for a good part of the time, and we find ourselves yearning for a tighter, more streamlined narrative to help keep us involved. In addition, there's a certain lack of logic that runs through most of the film, making us question why certain characters do what they do. For instance, why would a bunch of spirits be so concerned with eating, sleeping, making money, riding trains, etc.? The rules of this world don't seem to be laid down rigorously enough for us to understand what it's all supposed to be about.

I don't want to sound like a total curmudgeon in criticizing a film that, apparently, many people, including innumerable critics, have hailed as a masterpiece. And I do concede that `Spirited Away' has moments of great beauty and charm to more than compensate for its rather slow pacing and excessive length. A haunting trip on a ghostly train is, perhaps, the highlight of the film, a transcendent moment that hints at how great the rest of the film could have been had its makers not felt the need to pad out the story so consistently. Chihiro is a spunky, poignant and noble heroine, and a few of the other characters are compelling as well.

`Spirited Away' offers much for the audience to gape and marvel at, but it lacks the drama to make us really care.
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Best animated film I have seen!
supertom-32 April 2004
This is a wonderfully imaginative and fantastical children's fantasy. It is easy to see why it was perhaps the critical hit of 2002. The film is glorious to look at. It is a testament to old fashioned animation techniques that seem to be resigned to foreign animations. Of course there is some use of computer imagery for certain shots but they blend seamlessly and the overall artistry involved is superlative.

This is the first Hayao Miyazaki film I have seen and I will certainly watch his others. The story plays on many elements successful with kids films, that transport you back to your own childhood and also allows the young audience to connect with the themes in the movie too. The story centres around Chihiro, a young girl about to move into a new place and who feels insecure about the new environment she will be living in. These fears become a part of her encounter with a strange abandoned amusement park that she and her parents find when they reach a dead end in their car. At the park they find that their is a stall that is seemingly open, with glorious displays of mouth watering food. There are no people about but Chihiros parents decide to gorge themselves on this bounty and pay later. As Chihioro explores she comes across a strange boy who warns her to get out before dark. It is too late however, because as night falls, ghosts are awakened, and then by the time she gets back to her parents they are turned into pigs. She then finds that the route she came from is gone and she is now trapped in this place, her only allie being the boy she met earlier. She is told to get a job at the centre piece of the park, a bath house run by Yubaba, an evil power mad witch. This is a bath house for the spirits and Chihiro has to find a job there before she is found and turned into an animal herself, then unable to save her parents.

The story is imaginative and the characters and animations endlessly unique and strange. This is just so much more creative than Hollywood. The characters are likeable and we become engrossed with Chihiros adventures inside this bathhouse, and the characters she comes into contact with as she tries to get her parents back as humans and whilst trying to get back to the human world. What I also loved in this film is that the animation gives it a real sense of cinematography, the drawing makes the film stand out in a way that American animations rarely do. Another film I think of that looked really good was Bellville Rendezvous. Another great point in fact the best part of it, is the fantastic score. It really is uplifting and very original. This is just great film making. *****
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An Amazing Achievement in Animation.
Le-Samourai20 July 2004
'Spirited Away' is the first Miyazaki I have seen, but from this stupendous film I can tell he is a master storyteller. A hallmark of a good storyteller is making the audience empathise or pull them into the shoes of the central character. Miyazaki does this brilliantly in 'Spirited Away'. During the first fifteen minutes we have no idea what is going on. Neither does the main character Chihiro. We discover the world as Chihiro does and it's truly amazing to watch. But Miyazaki doesn't seem to treat this world as something amazing. The world is filmed just like our workaday world would. The inhabitants of the world go about their daily business as usual as full with apathy as us normal folks. Places and buildings are not greeted by towering establishing shots and majestic music. The fact that this place is amazing doesn't seem to concern Miyazaki.

What do however, are the characters. Miyazaki lingers upon the characters as if they were actors. He infixes his animated actors with such subtleties that I have never seen, even from animation giants Pixar. Twenty minutes into this film and I completely forgot these were animated characters; I started to care for them like they were living and breathing. Miyazaki treats the modest achievements of Chihiro with unashamed bombast. The uplifting scene where she cleanses the River God is accompanied by stirring music and is as exciting as watching gladiatorial combatants fight. Of course, by giving the audience developed characters to care about, the action and conflicts will always be more exciting, terrifying and uplifting than normal, generic action scenes.

Through Chihiro, Miyazaki is clearly (but non-patronisingly) talking to youth of Japan. There's a certain sense of revile about the youth of Japan at the moment. Many people consider them to be ill-mannered and baring no respect for their elders or their forefathers. They are simply bi-products of their material world and consumerism. 'Spirited Away' taps into this. At the start Chihiro is a selfish, spoiled, whiny brat. But as she plunges deeper into the spirit world, she becomes more independent, more assured, more respectful and learns some manners. No Face, a black figure with a white mask, is the catalyst behind Chihiro's transformation. Once he is let into the bathhouse, we are no longer tourists – the story propels forth. Watching No Face prey on the greed of the workers is a terrifying delight. The three main characters in Miyazaki's youth allegory are Chihiro, No Face and Bô. All of these characters are disconnected with their world. They are lonely, misunderstood and largely ignored. But when they go on their journey together, they united and become stronger individuals.

Miyazaki also talks about the ecology of Japan. What was once a beautiful; grassland has now turned into the Asian New York. That The Last Samurai had to be filmed in New Zealand to get a turn of the century Japanese look speaks volumes. The River God sequence is an unsubtle but unpretentious commentary on pollution. While these two themes are very much current in Japan, they are also universal themes – which makes 'Spirited Away' a universal story that most of us can connect with. I'm willing to bet everyone reading this has at some time seen bicycles lying on a lake bed or have had a child talk to them disrespectfully. Sure these themes aren't advanced philosophy. They are everyday issues told in an inventive, fun way.

The animation is wonderful, if not as smooth as Disney's works – but there's something superior to that. 'Spirited Away's imperfect, but detailed world is far more fascinating than the perfected blandest of Disney's latest offerings. The animators successfully balanced the tight-rope between not-enough animation on characters and too much animation on characters. No Ralph Balski ADD antics here! The film is full of vivid images – both beautiful and horrifying. The line between those two extremes is crossed over seamlessly. From Chihiro and Haku running through an opening flower field to Haku's dragon snarling with a bloody mouth, both extremes seem to belong in the film. It's also excellently done with the characters. Kamaji can be seen as a scary, daunting figure at the beginning, but soon he seamlessly changes into a humble, wise figure. Yubaba also seems to be able to turn from kind to witch with the snap of a finger.

The sound on the film was expertly done. The sounds perfectly match the on screen actions and objects. My sub woofer got a wonderful workout when Haku swoops Chihiro past the bridge at the beginning. And while I don't speak Japanese, I think the voice actors did a wonderful job of conveying their personality and emotions true their voice. Joe Hisaishi's music is sublime, definitely one of my favourite scores. His main piano theme is simple and evocative. His thunderous action music hits the viewers on the chest like a hammer. Like all great scores it heightens the greatness of a scene about three times. The score, unlike many American composers', is unobtrusive. It plays excellently with the scenes, but never overbears them. A lot of the time the it is barely noticeable, a sole piano plays softly in the background evoking a dreamlike/lullaby quality.

'Spirited Away' is a simply a modern masterpiece, easily one of the Top 10 films of the new millennium. It works on a multitude of levels; a social commentary on Japan, a homage to ancient Japanese/Russian mythology, a moral film for both children and adults. But most importantly, it is a simple story brilliantly told by a great filmmaker who appears to be at the top of his game. 'Spirited Away' works much like a relaxing journey. Pop in the DVD; leave this world for two hours and when you will be almost certainly enriched and ready to take the trip again.
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A stunning, intoxicating, magical masterpiece.
shanebuckland4 November 2002
There is simply no denying that Miyazaki is the Godfather of Japanese Animation, time and time again delivering unto the public works of such incredible beauty, such stunning visual and sensory delights, such mastery of storytelling, that one can only be left speechless. Overwhelmed. Intoxicated with wonder. Such is the magic of Spirited Away.

Much like Miyazaki's previous feature Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away is an epic fairytale fantasy that deserves no better medium than the stunning animation work of Studio Ghibli. This multiple award-winning masterpiece has grown to become the largest grossing film in Japanese history, and rightly so. From the moment our child heroine Chihiro enters the bath houses we are literally bombarded with an overwhelming sense of detail and rich, lavish colours rarely - if ever - seen in western animation. Scenes such as Chihiro running through the field of flowers, the marvellous landscapes seen from the train, Haku and Chihiro soaring the skies above, and Chihiro running across the pipe to climb the walls of the bath house are nothing short of breathtaking, and undoubtably some of the most lavish animation ever to hit the screen.

The world of Spirited Away is simply bustling with life; unique, quirky, instantly lovable creatures jostling about their daily activities and tasks in the bath houses, dancing across the screen like leaves caught in a playful summer breeze. The inventiveness of Miyazaki's character designs, much like in Mononoke, is wonderful to behold, in fact not since classic tales like Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland and The Neverending Story have we been able to fall hopelessly in love with such original, quirky, magical, even fantastical characters. The viewer is plunged headfirst into another world for nearly two hours and one cannot help but be completely and utterly captivated.

The music and original score is stunningly beautiful, the original Japanese language track of such high quality that one wonders why someone could insult the work by producing a dub track at all. With a plot differing in its complexity on so many levels, from the basic storyline, to the omnipresent universal themes, to the riddling of Japanese history and fable throughout, children and adults alike will be mesmerised from start to end. A magical, awe-inspiring, tearful, laughter-filled, heartfelt journey through a land of sweeping fantasy and dreams.

Prepare to be Spirited Away........................
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Exceptional, but perhaps not so much for the casual viewer
planktonrules11 June 2007
I have seen many international films over the years and quite a few of these were Japanese. In addition, unlike many parents, I have seen a lot of anime that my kids have watched so at least I have some familiarity with the medium. Yet, with my background I still felt pretty confused and baffled by the strangeness of this movie. Now this isn't to say I didn't like it, but so many times I just couldn't understand exactly what was happening. Interestingly, when I saw the film again, I understood it much better and appreciated it much more. And this may be exactly how you might want to approach the film unless you already are a die-hard anime fan. See it, but be willing to see it without trying to think out the odd plot too much or even try seeing it several times. I know that each time I did, the film became more and more enjoyable and I began to notice so many cultural references. Now, several years after I first saw it in the theater, I have seen a lot more Japanese anime and films and it's practically second-nature to follow the film. So, for adults and those unfamiliar with the medium, this movie might take a bit of effort to fully enjoy, though with more and more children being familiar with and loving anime, it's very likely your kids will love it and will then be able to explain it to you!! As for the film, the animation is the best I have seen in any Miyazaki film, the story deep and fascinating and it's full of cute and endearing little touches that make the movie magical. See this with an open mind, please.
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Mystical, engaging, wonderful!
Vapaja16 October 2002
Spirited Away is one of the most perfect movies I have ever seen. The least I can say about it is that there was not a single moment during it that my attention wasn't completely focused. The plot was fantastic and full-bodied. Each character was given so much personality, even the little soot spiders weren't treated as two-dimensional.

In a way the whole film felt like a dream, in that it is seamless. It flows, effortlessly, from scene to scene, from emotion to emotion - straight from terror and tragedy to comedy - without the subtle bump that wakes you up, that lets you know that the makers of the movie and the creator of the script had wanted you to be crying but now you really should be laughing. It was so LIFELIKE. Sometimes in real life the most grim moments contain honest elements of comedy that do not seem out-of-place. But trying to put that sort of convoluted emotion into a film creates a very thin line that too many have fallen off of.

There was no part of the film that felt fake, or rushed, or shaky; the intensity of the story line and the determination of the lead character was obvious throughout. More than causing interest, this movie made me FEEL. I was sucked into the drama. I can rarely say that a movie made me laugh and cry without feeling like an idiot, but the caliber of this picture is so high that I don't even feel embarrassed. I laughed. I cried. And you will too.
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Dub or sub?
Balibari18 October 2004
Last year I saw Spirited Away on it's UK release. I've never been a particular fan of anime, and it didn't really occur to me that I was watching a foreign language film dubbed into English (or 'American'). I can't imagine seeing a live action foreign language film dubbed into another language, but hey, this is a kids cartoon, what does it matter? Up to a point it didn't, because I loved the film. I enjoyed it so much I set about digging up the Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki back catalogue, in the process Sprited Away was filed away as one of the lesser Ghibli's - still great, but compared to Laputa, Grave of the Fireflies and a few others, it seemed a little weak.

BUT... I recently re-watched it on DVD with the subtitles and found the difference unbelievable. The film came alive like the other Miyazaki's I've seen. It seemed infinitely more layered, detailed, intelligent and witty than I remembered. Could it be that retaining the intended performances (even if the words are unintelligible) can make that much difference? Maybe the dub was just poorly done? Or was it just because I was now versed in the language of Ghibli? As a little experiment I decided to re-watch some of the film with both the English subtitles and English language dub in order to compare, I ended watching the whole thing out of morbid fascination. It's simply amazing what a difference there is. Entire scenes change. It's not just that subtle emphasis is shifted or the same points are made in a different manner - in the dub, the subject of whole conversations and scenes are changed, and often to some flat and uninteresting hokum. Relationships between characters are changed, their motivations and personalities are changed, the difference is shocking.

I appreciate western, and particularly American audiences can be put off by subtitles. And cinemas are less likely to show the film anyway. It's pointless to be all righteous when, fundamentally, you just want people to see the film. Unless they do, this treasure trove will remain undiscovered, and maybe finding it will encourage people to conquer the 'subtitle demon' (as Miyazaki might call him). But the problem is the quality of these dubs, and the liberties taken with the source material. Of course, without speaking Japanese, who can say it's not the subtitles that are way off? They're probably written by westerners too. But the dub just stinks of Disneyfication. Saturday morning generic nonsense. The challenging, uncompromising and emotionally ambitious nature of the film is severely watered down.

A fair question might be, 'if it's so bad why was it so successful?' The success is evidence of the films staggering quality. Even so, it hardly challenged whatever Jerry Bruckheimer movie was showing at the time. In Japan it's the biggest grossing film in history. 'Go figure,' as Chihiro wouldn't say.
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I'm so confused...
JWick2318 December 2020
What did I just watch. Maybe it wasn't targeted for people like me but I watched it cuz this anime was highly praised and is considered a masterpiece so I decided to give it a shot.

So enough with my rant let's into how I rated it. Music and visuals were absolutely amazing for this anime. I really enjoyed especially the character art and movement of the characters. The music had this aesthetic and calm feeling to it which I enjoyed.

The problem occurs with the story and the characters. The story or the plot was hella confusing there is one thing and then pops another thing and then another just to get the water flowing and with no reason whats so ever. And the plot made like literally no sense whatsoever. The characters were alright but there were some confusing moments and decisions the characters made. The themes aren't exactly well shown and I didnt seem to find any or understand it well.

But for all the problems I sort of enjoyed it I don't know why but it had this calm feeling as if you are dreaming. But I'm also the type of guy to not like a kid's movie or a fantasy movie with a few exceptions.

Memorable: No Rewatchable: No.
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One of the Greatest Movies Of All Time
Foxbarking2 May 2005
This movie is an outstanding piece of artwork. I hadn't heard much about it when it was first released. Being a huge Oscar fan, I was surprised when it took home the award for best animated film. At that point, knew nothing about it.

After reading a little more and seeing some commercials, I still wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to see this film. It looked so surreal in an "Alice in Wonderland" sort of way. I had never been a big fan of that film and didn't really want to relive such an idea. Mindbending films have never been my absolute favorites.

I went to see "Spirited Away" with a friend who was into anime. He hadn't heard much about it either, but was interested in seeing it in the theater. Since it had won the Academy Award, I decided it was a good idea to give it a shot.

I am so glad I did. Only a very few times in my life have a I seen a movie as brilliant as this. It stands alone with such masterpieces like "Citizen Kane," "Vertigo," "The Godfather" and any other classic piece of cinema in history.

I won't go into too much detail, but I was spellbound from the opening credits until the closing ones. The story starts out so rough and scary, but becomes a work of happiness and beauty. To think that this movie almost didn't get made is a travesty. It will stand the test of time and go out as one of the greatest films ever made.
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I have no strong opinion about this movie either way
elpresidente-415 June 2020
I've been hearing good things about this movie for years and finally decided to watch it, but I didn't quite understood it. There are things that I liked, like the expressive way the main character was drawn, the overall color palette and backgrounds, maybe some points for the original setting, but with that, I can't think of what else good to say. From all the things I've heard I expected the movie to be very emotional, yet I failed to notice such thing. I had seen the black character with the mask used in memes on the internet so much, that I expected he would play a really important part in the story, but in the end he was nothing special. The story really confused me, some elements didn't make much sense to me, and the ending was pretty rushed, like they ran out of money and had to complete the movie fast. I don't know, maybe I have to study Japanese philosophy and symbolism to understand what is happening. Don't get me wrong, I kinda enjoyed the movie, I just wish it made more sense. It sort of reminded me of the movie "labyrinth", but that movie has a very good structure and story, and you always know what is going on and why. In conclusion, I think the movie would be appreciated more by children.
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better than Disney by a long shot
minimeltheminx11 October 2004
I really enjoyed this film-everything about it glows and shines in a gentle luminosity. This film, if you have seen some of Miyazaki's other work, is quite light. The characters are beautifully and lovingly created and the colouring and setting of this film is absolutely superb. This is a beautiful little film and I can't wait for the next feature from Hayao Miyazaki-he is better than Walt Disney.

Miyazaki blends the characters and the environment very well together, and I can see that this would be enjoyed for people at many different levels. Miyazaki enjoys creating female heroines and I was pleased that Chihiro lived up to the expression and beauty of her predecessors-like Nausicaa from the Valley of the Wind. This is beautiful and I would advise anyone to take a look at it's scope and serenity, along with it's fast paced plot and of course, the dreamlike settings that make it truly wonderful.
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A Fantastic Film (most literally)
kraley4 October 2002
Good morning. Last night I was able to catch the Disney US Release of Spirited Away ( originally The Spiriting Away of Sen and Chihiro). This is another Disney purchase of a Japanese hit. For those that don't know, Disney has a nasty habit of importing titles from Japan and then changing the story when dubbing films or creatively editing the endings or plot to "suit American audiences". Personally I think that's a travesty. So whenever you go see the Disney release of a foreign film, realize the film you are watching may not be the 'same film' the rest of the world sees.

OK, that aside, was it a good film? I deliberately did no research before seeing this film as I prefer to go into films with little or no expectations. All I knew was that the film was directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki, the same man responsible for Princess Mononoke ( a film released a few years back that I also enjoyed). In the case of Spirited away, I'm glad I did not know what I was getting myself into, otherwise I might not have come (and surprisingly, not for the reasons you likely assume).

The film concerns a young girl and her parents who find an odd tunnel in the side of a hill while moving to their new home. Upon investigating the tunnel, they find a strange "theme park" on the other side devoid of inhabitants. Upon investigating the theme park, things are obviously very "wrong" (at least to the little girl- her parents seem woefully oblivious) and as it gets closer to sunset, things just get worse. Unfortunately, this is all the plot I am able to reveal without spoiling the uniqueness of this film.

This is an 'adult-oriented' movie. It has some rather disturbing images and ranks among the weirdest films I have seen in my life. It's a bizarre amalgam of Wizard of Oz,The Neverending Story, Alice in Wonderland, My Friend Totoro, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The City of Lost Children (just to name a few). This film is interesting from beginning to end even though the plot advances rather slowly. There is always some new thing to see or some truly bizarre thing to witness. The animation is above average but not as impressive as Mononoke (and even features several gratuitous CGI sequences).

There is a great story and some great humor. I laughed more in this film than I have at any Hollywood 'comedy' in the last 5 years (and Spirited Away is not a comedy, it just has several good comedic breaks). No nudity. No Profanity. No 'gratuitous' violence. Some rather disturbing scenes of characters getting eaten alive (and some threats thereof) but even the eaten characters return unharmed later in the film.

This is not really a 'family film' (and definitely NOT a "kiddee film") but it is something you can take the whole family to. Smaller children will not understand the story, but they'll like the visuals and enjoy the humor. Mid-teens might be a bit "weirded out" by the subject matter and the visuals and older teens and adults may be too jaded by American cinema to enjoy the film for what it is- a lavish fairytale from a foreign country. This film runs about 2 hours so leave the "kidney-buster" sodas at the snack bar. If you have to take a bathroom break, you WILL miss something and I assure you no friend nor helpful audience member will likely be able to adequately convey what it is you DID just miss.

If you enjoy Anime or the bizarre, make an effort to see this film. Even if you don't normally like "cartoon movies", you might give this one a chance. It is not a 'casual moviegoer' film by any means and does rely on some thought from the audience to enjoy it. It will also likely be the oddest film you'll see this decade and you'll be sure to remember this film long after all the other 'disposable movies' have faded from your recollection. This film is receiving almost no advertising. I didn't even know it existed until I saw the poster tucked away in a corner at the theatre earlier this week. I hope Disney puts a little more effort into advertising this film's release because it is truly an original film and worthy of a large audience. Hopefully positive word-of-mouth will get this film the attendance it deserves.
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I can't speak for the original or sub, but the dubbed version is a bad movie
jackgdemoss16 March 2020
I went in expecting that this movie would have a chance of being one of my all time favorites. I couldn't have been more wrong. This is just a bad experience. The character and world design was great but the motivations and plot were snooze inducing. Take this review with a grain of salt, however, because I watched it dubbed. From what I have read, watching it dubbed completely changes the experience for whatever reason, so hopefully I can get back around to watching it correctly sometime.
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I disagree with Gazzer-2
sailvane-112 January 2005
Actually I dislike his or her comments badly. If you didn't get it watch it again. This is not a piece to just entertain, the creator has put his own feeling and I believe life experience and the fear always buried in children's mind into it. It is a comely tale that express the creator's thoughts in some way, whilst shining as a attractive animation piece with so many details that you might have ignore if you were careless. It is a rich story and I can see the efforts creators put into it in many spots and frames.

e.g. While Chihiro was walking towards the garden where Haku told her to meet him, she passed some stairs where she can see an island, there are some house on it, she stopped for it for a little while, that, represents her longing to human world, her own world, this kind of details can be ignored by many people but they don't mind putting it in to make the whole story richer, more truthful, full of power of humanity.

Apart from that, did you ever notice that some "camera language" was used very well to tell the story in a more entertaining and better pace.e.g. When Kamaji was telling Chihiro how Haku turned up to this world before just like what she did, the "camera" panned to where the little rat(changed from the fat baby)was showing off to soots by putting his foot into the spell melted print while Kamaji's introduction about Haku's background is also getting across to the audience. This is just one of the details that shows how much story telling skills and rhythm control of plots.

There're many other things like this, shouldn't be ignored if you want to make a nice comment, even though as an American viewer you might miss a lot of the story by lack of the culture background, but that's not the reason that you can comment it as anyway you want without even really READ the film.

I am a visual effects person and film maker but I can't tell where the jerking of the footage and the stopping of character's movement are in the film. could Gazzer please enlighten us? As also a fan of Pixar I hope I don't have bias on either American animations or Japanese ones, but as a Chinese who might have some resistance towards Japanese products for national esteem or historic reason, I still admires Ghibli Studio's work. "Spirited Away" is a masterpiece of elegant picture and touching story, if Gazzer-2 knows what that means.

"Ice Age" was a pretty cute one of Fox productions, but not good enough to compete with "Spirited Away" I'm afraid. And I'd laugh at the opinion that the story of "Ice Age" is much simpler hence Oscar committee didn't recognise it, actually I believe "Spirited Away" was beautifully hand-painted frame by frame while "Ice Age" had a giant crew in 3d animation and visual effects. I'm afraid Ice Age was the much more complicated one.
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Not for me I guess
orialon2425 April 2020
Heard from a lot of people I should watch this movie and thought I'd like it but just couldn't get into it... forced myself to finish it and thought it's pretty boring
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I don't really know what to say.
Morejambo5429 December 2020
I enjoyed this movie but more towards the end. The first half of the movie was very odd, which is one of the main reasons I kept watching as I wanted to understand it but that didn't really happen. Not enough was explained and it felt like a mix of random events yet there was an actual story. Im struggling to come up with a reason of why no-face was even in the movie, he was just there. This movie isn't bad by any means, it's just lacking somethings in my opinion. I also didn't. Really feel in touch with any of the characters as no room was left for them to develop. The wired and wacky characters made the film very unique and interesting, the film is visually beautiful as well, I would personally want more depth.It is a good movie with a lot of potential. 7/10
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Spirited Away
auuwws11 February 2021
A beautiful movie for me, the best movies from Studio Ghibli, the drawing, animation and animation were great, the story of the film was good, I recommend watching it
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joecoby455 October 2017
This is not a bad movie at all, but its really not that great either. I don't really understand what all the endless praise is over. The animation is amazing for sure but the story feels really convoluted. I don't really understand what the ghost character with the gold was. I didn't understand what he was or what we wanted exactly. Maybe i'm missing something.

Also their is a character that apparently is a human but also a dragon and then later turns out to be a river spirit? The f*#k?!?!

There is no real deep meaning in the movie as far as I can tell. The main character is fairly static throughout the whole movie and doesn't really grow or learn anything (she is also quite annoying at times)

Also I'm not totally sure what the target audience is supposed to be here. At times it feels like a family movie sometimes it feels like a creepy horror movie with scary looking characters. I don't really know who this movie is for.

As I said not a bad movie, but the story feels all over the place and feels pretty pointless when all is said and done.
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I just didn't get it
josh_lambert19913 February 2019
I know that some people are really into this but I just didn't get it unfortunately
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Prepare to be enchanted!
TheLittleSongbird5 April 2010
I love Studio Ghibli, and Spirited Away is one of my favourite films from the studio. This is coming from someone who was delighted by Howl's Moving Castle, blown away by Princess Mononoke, emotionally devastated by Grave of the Fireflies and touched by the simplicity of The Cat Returns all but to name a few. Spirited Away is a mystical, charming and truly enchanting animated fantasy, even with the long length and some slow moments. The animation is absolutely stunning, both the hand drawn visuals and the CGI graphics give an ethereal charm to the film. The characters move more than convincingly and the colours are beautiful. The music is also outstanding, I loved the simplicity of the piano and the drama of the more dramatic parts. The story is a pleasure, I know people have complained of some loose ends, but it is an original, touching and charming one I feel. I also loved the characters. Chihiro, voiced with real enthusiasm by Daveigh Chase, is sulky to begin with, but she is also brave and resourceful, traits I like in young heroines. Lin is kind and sympathetic, and Susan Egan who was also in Porco Rosso was unusually sensitive as the character. Jason Marsden is charming as Haku, and Suzanne Pleshette is perfect as the grotesque Yubaba and as her sister Zeniba. Overall, I loved Spirited Away, it is really charming. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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Childhood Favorite
kellokchu27 June 2019
One of the best movies I've ever watched and is still stuck with me til this day.
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Can Easily Beat Disney In Their Own Game
paul_mampilly27 September 2003
As the rest of the Western world was amazed by the throngs of CGI animation, and the inside Disney jokes, Japanese audiences were given a chance to see what real animation was like. This movie was the first foreign film which grossed over 200 million dollars before it came over the US shores. It had beaten Pixar's Ice Age and Disney's Lilo and Stitch to get Best Animated Feature. Yet with all these facts and figures shown to us, does this movie live up to its hype. In a one word answer, YES!

However there is no point of handing out the superlatives to a movie, without explaining what the movie is all about. In a nutshell, the movie is about a ten year old girl who is travels to a strange yet enchanting world, after her parents were morphed into pigs. This change of shape was produced by the evil witch, Yubaba, an nasty sorceress who rules over this paralell universe. To avoid detection, the ten year old girl, Chihiro has to work for Yubaba in her bath house. This is where she meets all kind of strange and wonderful characters, like the half man half spider Kamaiji, the mysterious little boy, Haku and many other characters. Though Chihiro had met all these people, her only wish is to go home and turn her parents back to their normal human selves.

Watching this movie, has made me wonder why is this feature shown in very small arthouse cinemas and it is on pirate DVDs, when it should be easily shown on the multiplex cinemas. This is a truly amazing movie, whereby the whole story, transports oneself to their earlier childhood. I know that happened to me. Also the movie's animation was totally amazing, in ways that Pixar and Dreamworks would just die for. A good example of this is the flower scene.

In conclusion, everyone should watch this movie, whether young or old, japanese or any other nationality, because at the end of the day, this will show you emotions that any other animations will not give you the chance to show.
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I get the feeling that this review won't be very popular...
BA_Harrison22 June 2013
As a huge fan of both animation and Japanese cinema, I have long felt more than a little embarrassed by my ignorance of celebrated director Hayao Miyazaki. Having tried to rectify this situation somewhat by watching the highly acclaimed animé Spirited Away, I no longer feel so bad about neglecting his work for so long: I found the film hugely undeserving of the glowing praise heaped upon it and I imagine it'll probably be quite a while before I tackle another of Miyazaki's 'classics'.

Although Spirited Away is undeniably impressive visually, with stylish animation and imaginative design throughout, everything else about the film leaves A LOT to be desired, especially the trite story, in which a little girl, Chihiro, gets lost in a strange world and encounters a series of whimsical fantasy characters while trying to find her way home. It's The Wizard of Oz, but without the star quality of Garland, the amazing flying monkeys, catchy tunes, cute dog, and over-sexed dwarfs in garish outfits; it's Alice in Wonderland without the pungent whiff of opium; it's Labyrinth without the allure of a teenage Jennifer Connelly, the star power of Bowie, and the magic of Henson; it's Coraline, but….errr… nowhere near as good (speaking of Neil Gaiman, it reminded a lot of Mirrormask, which also bored me to tears with its random, meandering narrative).
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