10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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.