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4.8 out of 5 stars458
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 21 April 2009

My friend's daughter wanted this film for her birthday. She's very keen on Japanese art, Manga etc and has watched this film so often that her original DVD is worn out!
As it was not sealed in a cellophane wrapper, I watched it, with my husband and son. We were all surprised at what a lovely film it is. It's a sort-of fairy-tale, Japanese style (but with an English soundtrack). The ideas and cultural references are obviously different to most Western traditions, but the story was still interesting, moving and fascinating enough to keep us watching. The underlying message about courage, humanity and faithfulness was clear enough and very touching, without being syrupy or silly.
The animation is fantastic and done with much skill and attention to detail. It is colourful and realistic, with fun and interesting characters. The human characters are believable and the spirits are often fascinating.
We really like this. I would buy it for myself.
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on 26 February 2004
Miyazaki gives Disney and even Pixar (sacrilege!) a lesson in truly inventive animation.
You'd think that a film that's had this much hype couldn't possibly be that good, right? Wrong - it's an utter masterpiece, and is the only film in existence I've ever paid to go see more than twice at the cinema. This is no vanilla-flavoured children's "cartoon"; the characters are multi-dimensional, flawed, and the story they tell is as relevant for adults as for the younger audience.
The animation is beautiful, with some of the landscape scenes drawing audible gasps from the audience on each of the four occasions I saw this. There's a wonderful parade of intriguing characters - some of them will be familiar to viewers of previous Miyazaki films, but others are brand new, and as mental as ever. The squeaking turnip spirit, spong-eyed sootballs and multi-limbed boiler man were highlights for me.
Be warned - buying this will surely lead you to seek out other Miyazaki films!
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on 17 February 2004
There's a reason why so many people are in awe of this animated film, and it is because it's SPECTACULAR. I had no idea what I was in for when I picked up "Spirited Away." I only knew that it was loved by so many different people, including my friends. So, I decided to take the trip and see what it was all about. I have to say that this is a stunning Anime that is larger-than-life.
This fantasy epic is about a little girl named, Chihiro. She gets separated from her parents when they visit a strange place that turns out to be a spirit world; a world that doesn't take too kindly to humans. When her parents transforms into pigs as punishment, Chihiro is forced to take a journey into the unknown and find the courage that is buried deep within herself. As she meets strange and magical creatures, both good and bad, Chihiro starts to realize all of the things she had once taken for granted. The lessons she learns will determine the success of her accomplishments--and will also determine the fate of her parents and herself.
It's hard to put into words of what I experienced when I was watching this breath-taking film, but I can tell you that taking the ride is well worth it. "Spirited Away" is a pure and energetic example of how powerful the art of animation can be when it comes to story-telling. This movie is everything a mystical journey should consist of. There's danger, and yet, there is also heart--and a lot of it. This would not have been as successful had it been filmed in a live-action movie. The art and scenery that we are presented with really goes beyond imagination. The creative mind of Hayao Miyazaki really snaps into action as he brings this powerful and unique story to life. The film also has some magnificent characters and themes.
I really loved "Spirited Away." It surprised me so many times throughout, and I was never once disappointed with the results. If you're looking for a great journey to take in the world of Anime, then this is the ride to take. It's breath-taking, imaginative, and stunningly beautiful. Do not be turned off by the fact that this is an animated feature, otherwise you might end up missing the trip of a lifetime. It's a ride I enjoyed taking, and will continue to take again and again. -Michael Crane
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on 18 February 2005
This was one of the first anime films i had the pleasure of buying, and i would recommend it to everyone. There is something about it that really grabs you and keeps you watching. The background and characters are beautifully illustrated and the story is full of magic. Although there is little continuity at some points, this doesn't affect how compelling the film is. If you are a fan of other Hayao Miyazaki films, i would definitely recommend it, buy it now!! Or if you are just a anime fan, it is an essential for your collection, although perhaps it is not particularly suitable for first time anime viewers. One thing i would recommend to everyone who purchases this item, please, please watch it all the way through in Japanese first, it is one of the reasons why i bought this DVD and even if you aren't keen, do it anyway because you can appreciate the brilliance of this masterpiece a lot more. Enjoy it!! :)
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on 28 February 2006
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.
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on 10 July 2005
Spirited Away is my favourite Hayao Miyazi movie. It's a departure from his previous films (all of them wonderful), in the sense that this film lacks the themes so common in his other work: humans vs nature, large scale battles being the prime examples. All for the better I say, as it allows him to create something truly unique and stunning. The story revolves around Chihiro, a young girl who, on the way to her new house, stumbles into an abandoned amusement park and is soon transported into a magical world of spirits, gods and human-frog hybrids.
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.
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on 15 February 2006
Stumbled across this genre quite by accident and was slightly put off by the majority of Anime films being full of gratuitous violence. Then I watched Spirited Away and I was spellbound. I do not wish to give away too much to anyone who has not seen this film, I hope you will discover this with the wonder that I did. The animation is traditional, yet breathtaking. The storyline is uncomplicated yet captivating. Since watching this I have watched other Ghibli studio films and have found them to be thoroughly enjoyable, though Spirited Away remains my favourite, it must be a first time thing.
Everyone I have shared this experience with has likewise become enchanted by this film, it may not be for very young children but certainly my six year old nephew followed it and could discuss the characters and events afterwards.
There are many films I enjoy of differing styles and subject, ranging from violent thrillers to romantic historical drama, but this film has certainly entered and will remain in my top five of all time.
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on 10 August 2004
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.
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on 23 September 2005
Do you want a movie to make you feel like a child again? (in a good way!) Well, then buy this. I've been a fan of Japanese animé since the age of... well, along time. I'm now 24. This is by far one of the best animé movies I have seen in a long time. The first time you watch Spirited Away, you remember what it felt like to watch The Neverending Story, Dumbo, or Oliver Twist for the first time.
For all my love for Disney, the only movie makers who I can compare Miyazaki to, their recent movies pale in comparison to Spirit Away. The animation is superb. Everthing blends in so seemlessly, and if you've ever watch a decent animé movie/tv series, you'll expect great attention to detail in every single hand-drawn cell you see! I've heard people compare Miyazaki himself as the 'Japanese Walt Disney'. Which is simply unfair, because he is his own person and a typical Japanese storyteller.
But anyway... Buy this movie for yourself. Then, buy another copy for your child (or children!)... Then, buy another copy for every single one of your friends. Oooh, then, buy some more copies for random people you meet on the streets! Because this movie WILL make your life and those around you who see it, just that little bit better.
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on 28 July 2005
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! >_<
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