Do not imagine that because it is animated it is a “cartoon”. Do not imagine that because it is animated that it is simplistic escapism. Do not imagine that because its protagonist, Chihiro, is a 10 year old child that it is a film for children.
From its opening sequence – a car journey through an accurate suburban Japan – Spirited Away is engrossing and involving. Visually, it is stunning. Although there is some computer-generated footage, for the most part it is hand–drawn animation at its best. It is two hours in length, but this time rushes by.
Most of the action takes place in an R&R bathhouse for gods which is run by a ruthless businesswoman. It has a wealth of characters, many bizarre, many drawn from Shinto and Japanese tradition, who are not allowed to fall into stereotypic roles. Characters are not two-dimensionally good or bad, the plot allows them to change and develop. Sometimes, the action is furious, at others it is calm and reflective. The train journey which Chihiro makes is hauntingly beautiful.
The musical accompaniment, by Joe Hisaishi, is not used just to underline the action but to complement and enrich the emotional experience.
As with much of Miyazaki’s work, our treatment of our environment is an important theme, but this film is really about personal growth, self-belief, courage and love. It is not a film for children, it is for everyone.
In a movie there are many gods visiting a bath house in order to rest. Japanese ancient religion contains so-called 8 million gods, which means everything has spirit. The meaning of this is we would respect everything. If you believe that a god lives in your coffee cup, you feel it valuable and would try to use it as long as possible. Moreover if you respect each river, mountain, and other nature stuff, it leads to environmental protection, which is Miyazaki's big concern.
If you like it, I recommend to see other movies produced by Miyazaki. My favorite is Nausica, and Laputa is also fantastic.
The animation is stunning. Miyazaki truly sees animation as an artform. Many stand out scenes contain no dialogue at all, and are merely animated images creating surreal effects: Chihiro in the lift with the Radish spirit, Chihiro running through the flowers, and the final train ride, where our young protagonist takes a mysterious train journey across a sea, with her spirit friend, No Face. Nothing much happens, it's just simple, colourful, oddly unsettling, and lingers long after the film ends.
The characters are also perfect, and add to strange storyline. There's Kamaji, the multi limbed boiler room operator, Yubaba, the evil witch, and her massive baby child. No Face is a peculiar spirit who turns feral when Chihiro is not around, and finally, Haku, a boy spirit, who shares an emotional scene with Chihiro towards the end of the film.
Colourful, imaginative, interesting, and emotional. Spirited Away is a film you'll want to see time and time again. Buy it.
1) Well, first of all, there is a very unusual story. It's just not what you expect from fairytales or what you are accustomed to expect from fairytales. The story is intriguing and is absolutely unpredictable. Each next scene will make your eyes and mouth wide. That's why you'll be glued to the screen the whole 2-hour time while the movie goes. So, I am not going to tell you what's the story is about, as I want you to be excited in the same way I was when I watched it for the first time...
2) Humour. There are plenty of moments there, which will make you laugh. The humour is very intelligent and that's why it's very pleasant and enjoyable. In the course of the movie you'll see various characters. Most of them will make you smile without saying a word!
3) Main characters. I don't know whether you've seen already "Tokyo Godfathers". If yes, then you know how quality drawn characters can be. The 10-years old Chihiro is so real here. Well, actually, my favourite character there is not Chihiro, but wonderful granny Yubaba!!! Oh, she is so cool and witty! Quite a special character I must say, but so lovely! She is so smart and funny that I wish she could be my grand mother!!!
4) Music. You know, with such an original score, you don't really need to watch anything. Just listen to this masterpiece of the famous Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi!!!! Splendid! You will not hear a single electronic sound, but what you'll hear are beautiful orchestral, piano and violin themes. This movie got rich and quality soundtrack.
Conclusion: this movie is a masterpiece.... Read more ›
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