- Actors: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino, Rumi Hiiragi, Mari Natsuki
- Directors: Hayao Miyazaki
- Writers: Hayao Miyazaki
- Producers: Banjiro Uemura, Donald W. Ernst, Hironori Aihara, John Lasseter, Kôji Hoshino
- Format: PAL
- Language: Japanese
- Subtitles: English
- Dubbed: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: Optimum
- DVD Release Date: 29 Mar. 2004
- Run Time: 124 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 564 customer reviews
- ASIN: B000087JI1
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,751 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Spirited Away [2 
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Master animator Hayao Miyazaki directs this fantasy adventure about Chihiro, a ten-year-old girl who is leaving behind everything she knows to move with her parents to a new home. Along the way, they stumble across a tunnel that leads to a spooky, deserted open-air restaurant where Chihiro's parents sit down and begin to eat. But she is uncomfortable with their new surroundings and wanders off to explore further. She meets a boy, Haku, who explains to her that the world they have entered is a holiday resort for spirits who have left behind their exhausting earthly duties. After discovering that her greedy parents have been turned into pigs, she learns the number one rule of the new world she is now part of: laziness is not tolerated, and only working hard can enable her to break the spell on her parents. With its fantastical critique of an adult world of capitalism and wasteful consumption, entwined with the simple tale of a girl finding herself and learning to get by on her own, the film has been dubbed a modern-day 'Alice in Wonderland', and won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
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At first I was skeptical buying a Bluray of an animated motion picture because I wasn't sure if you could "tell" it was high-definition, but I think I failed to realize this is a studio Ghibli film, so everything has an amazing level of detail the likes of which has never, and will never be surpassed by any other animation studio.
The Bluray comes with extra content, including a "making of" special, "meet Hayao Miyazaki", "behind the Microphone" and some other special featurettes. All of this content is standard definition on the Bluray disc, but this is just something we'll have to live with like all Disney BTS Features.
In this animated feature by noted Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, 10-year-old Chihiro (Rumi Hiiragi) and her parents (Takashi Naitô, Yasuko Sawaguchi) stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park. After her mother and father are turned into giant pigs, Chihiro meets the mysterious Haku (Miyu Irino), who explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm, and that she must work there to free herself and her parents.
What happened to that list? After watching Spirited Away I was quite annoyed with my Japanese friend that she did not say anything about this film. My apologies to her, only last year I found that list and Spirited Away was on the list, number one, along with other superb Studio Ghibli films. :)
Spirited Away is a glorious fantasy; it's a poignant, sometimes dark and visually enchanting masterpiece miles ahead of recent Disney fare. This is partly because the film's not afraid to have morally ambiguous characters. Aside from Chihiro (Daveigh Chase) and to an extent Haku (Jason Marsden) there's no clear heroes or villains; even the main antagonist Yubaba (Suzanne Pleshette), a greedy, sadistic witch, has some love in her, and even the good humans like Lin (Susan Egan) have their mean sides. Throughout the film I was impressed by how seriously it takes itself; a lot of care has been lavished not just on the animation but also the story and characters. It's a breathtakingly original piece which creates a world as detailed and crisply presented, in the visuals and storytelling, as Star Wars'.
While moving house Chihiro and her parents (Lauren Holly and Michael Chiklis) take a wrong turn and stumble across a seemingly derelict theme park. They discover an unstaffed buffet and despite Chihiro's protests her parents eat up, promising to pay the bill once someone arrives. Before they can, however, they're turned into pigs by Yubaba, whose underlings laid out the food for customers at her spiritual bathhouse. Aided by Haku, a young man and Yubaba's apprentice, Chihiro finds a job in the bathhouse so she can throw herself at the witch's mercy.
The world of the spirits is so rich that this film rewards repeat viewings. Characters and their natures are presented with great subtlety; you're invited to soak up this strange place like a bathing spirit. I loved a spirit called No-Face (Bob Bergen), whose story arc could be a film of its own. He's a creature of emotion and atmosphere, produced by a deep imagination. He has a scene with Chihiro which contains almost no dialogue and is just a procession of imagery. You don't often see that in "children's films"; in the west we've become used to homogenised work and the placement of profit before art. Spirited Away, which overtook Titanic in Japan's box office, exposes our apathy and cynicism simply by being as good as it is. The animation isn't treated arbitrarily but like an actual medium. This is the kind of film you could watch on mute and have a deeply rewarding experience. Every detail reeks of lavish care; you can get lost in this world. The story's told with equal craft, relying on magic and adventure as opposed to an action climax preceded by a "journey", like a video game ending in a last boss. Spirited Away's entire second act has only one setting - the bathhouse - yet is more inventive than many films with several dozen.
This film incorporates all of those things.
On a deeper level it teaches how you should be respectful, kind and caring/helpful to everyone and everything you meet and you will receive it back. If you are greedy, and not very nice you will receive that tenfold back at you. Valuable lessons for children I think!
The film is beautifully animated, exciting storyline and kept all of our attention the whole way through. I have watched many Ghibli films now and this is my favourite - and it was a hard decision to make as they are all so good.
The beauty and depth of these films are incredible and sure beat the shallow and moneygrabbing attempts of all the western films that get thrown at us. Those feel like cheap fast food culture versions in comparison.
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