83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's absolutely worth to see.
I am Japanese, so I should describe a review in terms of Japanese point of view. Miyazaki is pretty popular in Japan, not only do children see his movies, but also adults. In this movie, he is showing the Japanese ancient, but almost forgotton sense of value.
In a movie there are many gods visiting a bath house in order to rest. Japanese ancient religion contains...
Published on 17 Sep 2004 by moriken3
8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ok
This is one of my all time personal favourite films which was why I ordered it. I watched it and the film kept restarting itself after about 20mins, and kept changing between film and storyboards. I thought it was the wrong disc so changed them over but that was the other feature disk with special things on. I wouldn't buy this as if you want to watch the whole film then...
Published 21 months ago by vickstar10
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83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's absolutely worth to see.,
This review is from: Spirited Away [DVD] (DVD)I am Japanese, so I should describe a review in terms of Japanese point of view. Miyazaki is pretty popular in Japan, not only do children see his movies, but also adults. In this movie, he is showing the Japanese ancient, but almost forgotton sense of value.
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.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful film,
By A Customer
This review is from: Spirited Away [DVD] (DVD)Make no mistake, Spirited Away is a great film – in any genre. Hayao Miyazaki is held in the highest esteem by film-makers. This is his masterpiece.
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.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirited Away DVD by Hayao Miyazaki,
This review is from: Spirited Away [DVD] (DVD)Wow!!!!! What an adventure! What a story! What a fantasy! I wish I could watch this animation when I was young like Chihiro! But even now being 28 years old, I am impressed.... So, what's special in this movie? Why everybody likes 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. I am very happy I watched it and I am glad I got this DVD.
71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a brilliant animated feature...,
This review is from: Spirited Away [DVD] (DVD)Occasionally, just occasionally, a film becomes a culture in its own right, and everything it is related to falls away around it to leave it standing on its own. Spirited Away is such a film. It has taken over box office records in Japan, and not done too badly in the western hemisphere, widely being cited as one of, or even the, best animated film ever produced.
But Miyazaki's epic is not just a brilliant animated film. It is a brilliant film. All too often, animated features are great because of the animation, that is the technical dazzle and sheer fantasy nature that the animated medium allows for. And that's great. Spirited Away, however, goes further. The themes it touches on - greed, emotional attachment and the imperfection complex that blights every human being; as well as presenting the importance of traditional values - can be found nestled in the scripts of the deepest live action films.
We quickly become immunised to the sheer weirdness of the world presented to us in this film, and that helps us identify with the characters that we might otherwise struggle with.
The plot is summarised well above, but to give a brief outline (which falls massively short of doing the film's complexity justice); I don't want to ruin the sheer surprise of the exotic, and downright bizarre nature of the spirit world; suffice to say it'll leave you dumbstruck and inspired by the attention to detail that has gone into it. Essentially, the film follows Chihiro, a ten year old girl, who, along with her parents, is transported magically into a world of spirits and sorcery. When her parents are turned into pigs by a cruel spell, she must battle her way through the politics and intrigue of the society she has been stranded in. Helping and hindering her along the way are the friendly but icy spirit Haku, and the greedy sorceress Yubaba. Chihiro must find her way out of the spirit world alive, and with her parents restored to human form. Confused? You will be, so the trick is to let go for two hours and allow yourself to become immersed in the fantasy of this spirit world.
You come away from this film feeling like you've learnt something, feeling like you've had a good time, and absolutely certain that you're going to watch it again. This is the hallmark of a good film - shelf life - and in this respect Spirited Away is timeless. Like all truly brilliant motion pictures (e.g. Where Eagles Dare, The Sting, Crouching Tiger: Hidden Dragon), you come away with a substantial number of questions, and a need to have a repeat viewing to start to answer some of them.
Purists will prefer the original Japanese version, but the dubbed English version has made the film accessible to many more; and, as it's an animated film, the dubbing is considerably less obvious than with live action films. As an animator, I have found a repetitive draw to this film for inspiration and ideas; but as a regular movie-goer, I simply find it a truly excellent, must-see flick.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the most beautiful film that you will ever see,
This review is from: Spirited Away [DVD] (DVD)Let's get this straight first: I am not an anime freak. I think cartoons are for kids. I think anime is just another cartoon. I am normal.
So when one of my anime-obsessive friends thrust this into my grasp with a freaky scream of "OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS IT'S THE BEST FILM EVER!!!", my cartoon prejudice seeped through and I flat out refused. Which, in retrospect, was really stupid.
So after being repeatedly attacked by this friend, I broke down and watched it. And WOW. Just for extra oopmph I'll repeat:
This film is breathtakingly beautiful, made me laugh, made my heart ache and reduced me to tears. There are no words: just watch the stupid film dammit and see for yourself! >_<
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, enchanting film that everyone should consider,
This review is from: Spirited Away [DVD] (DVD)This film, directed by Hayao Miyazaki (whose previous credits include 'Kiki's Delivery Service' and 'Princess Mononoke'), centres around Chihiro, a ten-year-old girl. She and her parents are moving house when they stumble across a strange structure. When they enter the tunnel they find a strange new world at the other end. Within this world they find an abandoned village, and in one of the restaurants a whole load of food, which the parents eat and Chihiro doesn't; before too long the parents have mutated into pigs. Chihiro finds herself in danger, for in this world humans are not only unwelcome, but also the inhabitants could literally smell them a mile off. Fortunately, a young lad named Haku provides some help, but will it be enough to help Chihiro escape with her parents in their original human form?
In these days of 3D animation such as 'Shrek', 'Toy Story' and 'Finding Nemo', it is refreshing to see a 2D animation get acclaim (although admittedly some bits are 3D), and it really is superb. The cel artwork is crisp and clear, and the backgrounds are simply gorgeous, especially the illuminated buildings at night. The characters are also intriguing, and the story both engaging and endearing. It's also something that children should enjoy, but adults should also get just as much enjoyment out of it, such is the polish of the finished film. There is some humour, although there's not loads of it, but then it's not really that kind of film, and it's none the worse for it.
But what of the language barrier, you may ask? Fortunately, as with many foreign-language DVD releases, you can either watch an English dubbed version or a version kept in the original language (Japanese, in this case) with English subtitles.
If you like animated films, check it out. If you're one of the less-initiated that thinks Japanese animation is all mecha-robots, big explosions, scantily-clad female characters and graphic violence, this film should dispel that cliché (the PG rating suggests by default that things couldn't get that intense anyway). If you're not into animated films, you should still give this a go; even if it doesn't make you a convert, it's nice to have something a bit different.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "What happened to my spell? Only love can break it",
This review is from: Spirited Away [DVD] (DVD)There are many outstanding aspects about this film that contribute to place it among the best anime productions I have seen in my life. It all starts with the animation, since the attention to detail in Miyazaki's work is seldom experienced. I could not help gasping when in one of the scenes I saw the perfect reflection of Chihiro on the window of a train in which she was traveling. These are the kind of details that give the production a realism that is really hard to find. The second crucial element is the story itself, which is proof of a prodigious imagination, and which without a doubt can be experienced several times without generating boredom in the spectator. Finally, and maybe this is the most striking aspect of all, this is a movie that can be appreciated by audiences of all ages, because there is something to take away for everyone. I can only imagine how interesting it will be for my daughter to watch this film as a kid, teenager and adult, since there are things to discover at each level of maturity.
Chihiro, the main protagonist of the story, is a ten-year-old girl who is moving with her parents to a new city. She is the typical kid nearing adolescence, and therefore, is unhappy with the world, her parents in particular, and shows no interest in anything. When looking for their new house, a wrong turn leads them to a mysterious place that looks like an abandoned theme park, but when night falls quicker than expected, Chihiro finds herself all alone in a world full of spirits. There are no words to describe the astounding magical world in which she is immersed, and the transformation the character undergoes is as mesmerizing as it is revealing.
When a few years ago I watched "Princess Mononoke" I thought I had experienced Miyazaki at the top of his game, but this film gives it a run for its money. Bottom line is that both works should be required watching for every fan of the genre. People that are looking for an introduction to anime can find no better place to start than with "Spirited Away". The only drawback is that it will create a tough benchmark for future experiences to match.
In terms of the Extras, the disc that has the film, also has a piece on the Art of Spirited Away, where Miyazaki shares some of the "secrets" behind his inspiration and peers and coworkers talk about the wonderful qualities of this magnificent director. In most cases I would say that the praise was scripted and disregard it as such, but in this case it really rings true, and it is entertaining and insightful to watch. This segment also includes commentary on the challenges faced with the translation, and on the steps that were put in place to conserve the original intent of the film. This is extremely important, especially in the anime / manga genre, where sadly, lousy translations that mangle the product are not uncommon.
The Extras in the additional disc were not really worth watching, and I felt like they were there just as a way to make this a two-disc edition. Nevertheless, the rest of the product is so outstanding that I could not bring myself to lower my rating.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and imaginative Japanese animation,
This review is from: Spirited Away [DVD] (DVD)Writing as someone who has never watched anime before, this animated feature is an incredibly imaginative superior production with an intelligent story.
Chihiro is on her way with her parents to a new home - on the way they stop to explore a strange tunnel, which takes them into another world. In this world, through gluttony, her parents are turned into pigs, and Chihiro is rescued by Haku, a young boy. She finds work in the centrepiece of this world, the bathhouse for spirits, in which she has many adventures which gradually change her from sullen and spoiled to helpful and kind.
The ideas are complex, and the animation suitably layered as well. The bathhouse creatures are weird and wonderful creations - neither heroes nor bad guys, good nor bad - just fascinating multilayered characters. All of the main storylines involve layers of identity, nothing being what it first seems, and the animation style lends itself to this incredibly well. There is the slime monster who everyone cannot bear the smell of, who, with a little kindness reveals a more benevolent and powerful spirit. Or the `No-face', sort of a walking `Scream' portrait, who changes his identity through loneliness, but returns once kindness and friendship are given. And of course Haku, who takes many forms before being redeemed when reminded of his true identity.
Though the animation on one level may appear simplified compared to modern cgi `toons', in fact the colours and rhythm of events are richer than most, and although I am writing this after one viewing, one suspects that there is much more to be seen on multiple viewings.
Amongst the almost universally glowing reviews however, it is worth remembering that this is a Japanese film. This is both an asset and a detraction. The asset is clear - this movie has more imagination in one scene than any current animated Western feature has in its whole length, both in animation and story. However, while Hollywood sometimes falls prey to too much schmaltz, the absence of a sweetener to the tale here means that it is difficult to be absorbed on more than an intellectual level. Animated features work because you become passionate about the characters or the outcome - not easy when all you are doing is thinking how wonderful all the ideas are.
The DVD comes in two disc form, with the first showing the film in both English dubbed (by John Lasseter of Toy Story / Pixar boss fame) and the original Japanese with subtitles. There is also an option to watch the whole movie in its original storyboard form, but hard to imagine anyone would watch the whole movie this way - though it is fascinating to see this embryonic stage of the movie for a minute or two in places.
The second disc contains a range of material educating the non-Japanese and anime fans amongst us of Miyazaki's output, amongst other generally interesting bits and pieces.
Having said that, the tale is a complete one, the experience rich, and the moral positive. Perhaps younger children will find this a little scary in places, and perhaps a little complicated, but it's a small quibble with so much to warrant the Oscar (Best Animated Feature, 2002) it won. Recommended, as long as you are comfortable with something a little bit different, and prepared for not so much sugar with your dessert.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purely stunning.,
This review is from: Spirited Away [DVD] (DVD)Well, what can I say or add that the other reviewers have not? Not much. Only that this is FAR from the average violent & profane techno anime. This movie is something that anyone would enjoy; old or young, prepare to be spellbound. Children love it as it is interesting and fun, adults love it because it is deep and beautiful, and provides much escapism from the reality of life.
I first saw this movie some time ago, at a friend's house. When the credits rolled by, I sat there literally stunned. I borrowed the DVD, took it home and began to watch it non-stop over and over (this caused some alarm among my other family members, by the way :).
Miyazaki is a GENIUS. I am so in love with this film, that I find it impossible to accept the fact that once upon a time, I did not even know that this movie existed. I am now going on a mad rampage, trying to accumulate all of Miyazaki's films; it is proving rather expensive, but it the most worthwhile obsession I have ever had!
If you loved this film, I urge you to give at least these others of Miyazaki's a try: 'Princess Mononoke', 'Howl's Moving Castle', 'My Neighbour Totoro', 'Kiki's Delivery Service', 'Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind', 'Laputa: Castle in the Sky', 'Porco Rosso'. Hats off to Amazon for re-releasing them; all us distressed & deprived fans are very grateful!!
Beginners beware: If you see this, you will want to buy it; more than likely, you will become as addicted as me. So think it through before you take the plunge ;)
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!,
This review is from: Spirited Away [DVD] (DVD)I had been told to watch 'Sprited Away' by a friend some time ago and, having heard her recommendation, resolved to watch it some day, promptly forgetting all about it. i eventually did see it and, what can i say? i was a fool not to have listened to her, i should have hightailed it to a blockbuster immediately and proceeded to spend the next 2 hrs glued to a screen.
I promise that anyone with any romance or appreciation for art and music in their soul must watch this film! You will NOT regret it.
Be warned though, it does tend to leave you with either a monumental desperation for a sequel that will probably never be, or an immediate need to run and watch all of Miyazaki's films, so be prepared to wake up one day and find his entire collection along with numerous other animes you've been tempted into buying in pride-of-place next to your dvd player.
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Spirited Away [DVD] by Hayao Miyazaki (DVD - 2004)