Review 143: Spirited Away (2001)
The challenge that I’m doing this year has some personal goals. One of them is to increase my foreign films and another was to see some of the acclaimed animated features that I’d missed. Spirited Away is the first in the second category and I really loved it. The version I watched was the English dub, but it was dubbed very well. I believe Spirited Away is a Must See film for most ages.
Spirited Away is a Must See animated film!
Chihiro (Daveigh Chase) and her parents (Michael Chiklis, Lauren Holly) stumble upon a what appears to be an old, abandoned amusement park. Her parents dig into mounds of food, despite having no reason for there to be food, and are turned into giant pigs. Chihiro runs from her pig parents and meets the mysterious Haku (Jason Marsden), 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.
The writing of this film is really well done. There is humor, sadness, and lots of intrigue in the story that is deep, but accessible to most ages. My favorite character was Haku as he seemed to be the most mysterious. He first appears to be a hero, but Chihiro is warned to not trust him putting his actions into question. His story is the one I was most interested in.
While I was intrigued by Haku, Chihiro is the one that I like the most by the end. The person she is when the film begins is by no means the character she is at the end. She matures greatly as the film goes on and the change is slow, but extremely noticeable. The choices she makes later in the film would not have been the choices made by the person in the beginning.
Writer and director Hayao Miyazaki is a legendary animated director and Studio Ghibli is known for releasing some of the best animated films. I plan on visiting other films of his and Studio Ghibli’s as they are well regarded. I definitely enjoyed the hand drawn artwork that Spirited Away offers. The film is beautiful as well as extremely well put together and entertaining. There were aspects that still have me scratching my head as to how they did it, like the transparency on some of the ghostly characters.
If you love a solid story and appreciate art this is a film you have to see. It’s now clear why so many people have recommended this film and I anticipate finding similar reactions to some of the other Studio Ghibli films. I’d been on the fence about buying this film as it’s hard to find under $25 so I ended up renting it from DVD.com, but now I’ll probably end up adding it to my collection.