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Spirited Away back to product details

NOT anime
written by Bean October 12, 2005 - 11:16 AM PDT
3 out of 7 members found this review helpful
I resisted seeing this film, thinking it was typical anime. It is not anime or manga. It is a spiritual film, along the lines of The Lord of the Rings. It breaks the animation barriers of imagination. See it, no matter how old you are.

Watched it 2x in a row
written by Minderella May 10, 2005 - 11:45 AM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
.. and I think it's interesting that another reviewer found it "Disney-like" but was dissapppointed in the ending. The ending is very not Disney. What I loved was the full realization of emotions and action and thought in the protagonist. Might have to buy this one.

A true masterpiece from the master of Japanese animation.
written by JTurner1 April 17, 2004 - 9:50 AM PDT
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
As with Miyazaki's films, Spirited Away is a magical tapestry of sights and sounds filled with exotic creatures, mythical settings, and, for its heroine, a little girl named Chihiro who is cute and sweet and thankfully not a selfish brat or bad-tempered hysterical bitch (unlike some of the other Anime I was watching around this time period). She starts off as initially sulky, but mainly because of a situation we can all relate to: she is moving with her parents to a new home, and thinks that her new life is "gonna stink". She becomes understandably panicked and suspicious when her parents decide to cross through a forbidden tunnel to a restaurant-filled village where they gobble up food that is sacred and cursed. Yes, CURSED -- her parents are transformed into pigs! To free her mother and father, Chihiro must find work at the town's central bathhouse (populated with all sorts of bizarre and unconventional spirits). The bathhouse's contemptuous owner, a greedy sorceress named Yubaba (who has, MY GOODNESS, THE HUGEST BABY I HAVE *EVER* SEEN!), grudgingly agrees, and in doing so renames her Sen. Although our ten-year old heroine is at first frowned upon by many of the bath house workers, Chihiro finds true friends in Kamaji, the six-legged(!) boiler man, Lin, the gruff but loyal bath house woman, and of course, Haku, a mysterious pale-faced boy whom Chihiro seems to have a deep connection with....

To reveal anything more about this masterpiece would be a crime, but I will emphasize that the artistry is jampacked with weirdness, imagination, and creativity, from the bathhouse's exotic-looking guests to a mysterious shadowy specter called No Face, who voices anyone he swallows -- and tempts people with gold. The sceneries also deserve special recognition; every location in the film, from the bathhouse's atrium to a breathtaking train ride across a glossy seabed (my personal favorite sequence in the movie) is painted with love and care... so stunning that one feels tempted to grab it like candy. Joe Hisaishi's music score, although not as memorable as some of his earlier works for Miyazaki, is a fabulous accompaniment for the picture; some of the tunes work better for the scenes than as a listening experience. The characters, as always, are believable, full-fledged, and multi-faceted -- there are no cardboard cut characters or caricatures present.

Under the supervision of John Lasseter, a longtime fan of Miyazaki (and director of many PIXAR productions, most notably Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Monsters Inc.), and Disney director Kirk Wise, the film was dubbed into English -- with phenomenal results that rank with Disney's previous dubs for Miyazaki's films. Although the cast is quite good, it is Suzanne Pleshette who steals the show; she plays Yubaba's greedy, loud-mouthed nature, pampering maternal side to her baby, and her twin sister, Zeniba (who, by the way, is the opposite of Yubaba -- she is IDEALLY Granny!) to perfection. Lasseter, Wise, and their team deserve special credit for their work on this film.

Spirited Away received a modestly successful limited theatrical release in America, but it made many of the Top 10 Best Films of 2002 lists and won a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Animated Feature of 2002.

It also earned, as with Princess Mononoke, Kiki's Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky, a fabulous treatment on DVD. The video quality is gorgeous, the audio mix superb, and the extras lengthy. Included are a passable intro from John Lasseter, a great 15-minute documentary on the translation of the film, a five-minute behind-the-microphone with the English dub cast, storyboard comparisons, a half-hour(!) of trailers, and best of all, a 40-minute Japanese TV special which goes inside Studio Ghibli during the making of the film!

Spirited Away is a must-get, period.

Beautiful, original, funny and haunting
written by BonzoGal November 4, 2003 - 9:41 AM PST
5 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Full of strange spirits, menacing monsters and witches, and brave children. The art is stunning, the animation top-notch and the story riveting. Enough mystery to make you wonder long after you've watched it.

Worth Seeing
written by ROrtega November 3, 2003 - 4:44 PM PST
1 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Although a bit Disney-ish, it was done very well and had some very interesting characters and concepts. It did fall apart i bit at the end, and left me somewhat disappointed. Very anti-climactic. Great for children, worth seeing for adults and animation enthusiists.

A Miyazaki Masterpiece, as always
written by jhouk October 1, 2003 - 5:51 PM PDT
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Miyazaki did an incredible job with Spirited Away, as he always does with all his films. The animation was beautiful, the attention to detail made it feel like it was really happening, and the English voice acting was (gasp) really, really good!

I find it fascinating that a fairy tale seems to be a fairy tale no matter which culture you live in (even though it was brought to the U.S. by Disney, think more Brothers Grimm than Tinkerbell!). If you have children or are just a kid at heart, you won't regret this movie!

written by mason June 15, 2003 - 5:47 PM PDT
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful
I have to disagree with the other review. I found this to be far different than a Disney animated film would have handled the same idea -- that is, this was much, much better. I didn't feel the need for everything to be explained, and I actually found it refreshing that there were lots of interesting things to think about afterwards, rather than having it all dumbed-down and explained to death. The main character was intensely realistic and not perfect, the setting was stunning, and the animation was just too beautiful for words. I would immediately recommend this to anyone.

a surprising disappointment
written by michele April 16, 2003 - 11:19 AM PDT
6 out of 21 members found this review helpful
Okay. I was told that this film was the most amazing thing ever to grace the screen. You know what I saw? A 'Disney' movie. Granted, the spirit characters were somewhat iaginative and yes, the story was refreshing to an extent, but after seeing 'My Neighbor Totoro' last week, I was really expecting to see the imagininative spirit and the amazing character portayal that I was extremely pleased with in the first film. What I saw was a film that had unexplained holes, too many children's cliche's (sp), and not enough of that sweet, almost silent, moving beauty in the way that the spirits interact with the human world. Why was it 'true love' that saved the day? Why did that guy turn into a dragon? Why did the crazy witch lady keep her baby in that room for so long? Why was she trying to make so much money running a bathouse when she was a witch with enough power to live off of anyway? Why were the humans turned into pigs? Why!!!???? I really felt this needed to be said.

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(Average 8.33)
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