Saturday, February 16, 2008

Review | Movie | Spirited Away

10-year-old Chihiro moves away to a new house with her family, much to her disgruntlement. When her father takes a wrong turn and they dead-end at an abandoned amusement park, Chihiro and her parents decide to explore the grounds. Her parents discover a restaurant full of food with no employees there, and they eat the food until they become pigs - literally! Chihiro is told by a young boy named Haku that the park is a mysterious spirit world, and the only way to save her parents and return to her world is to work under the witch who owns the world's bathhouse, Yubaba.

The amount of beauty and imagination that is put into Hayao Miyazaki's movies never ceases to amaze me. Not once have I found a Miyazaki movie I consider boring and lifeless. Left and right I see movies being created that have no unique plot and have been done a hundred times previous, and absolutely no care was put into creating the storyboard. Miyazaki never lets me worry about that.

Spirited Away was the movie that really got me interested in Miyazaki's works and ultimately in the Japanese filmmaking industries. I wouldn't mind having a moment to sit down and watch the DVD in its original Japanese audio, since I've only seen it in the English redub. Daveigh Chase, incomparably talented, brings the same youthful innocence to Chihiro as she did to the bubbly Lilo in the Lilo and Stitch movies (the originals; the good ones.) They chose an amazing voice cast for this movie, as they do with all of Miyazaki's films, that keep you in tune with the movie and connect you to the characters in a big way. Even though you want to feel sorry for Chihiro as she struggles to build herself onto her current situation, you can't help but laugh with the sneers and scorns of the bathhouse staff, partly because the actors bring hilarious comic voices to their characters, but mostly because the snooty employees are a bunch of overgrown frogs - who are they to judge?

The musical score of this movie is worth every cent of buying the soundtrack, the different instruments used in the music help to wrap the viewers around the new world Chihiro finds herself trapped in, and the smooth simplicity to Chihiro's theme "Always With Me", played at the end of the movie, is a serene unravel from the deep fantasy of the film.

This is an excellent movie to bring to the family because it's aimed at all audiences, this includes those who appreciate Japan's animation at its best. Some parents may feel uncomfortable that there is quite a bit of blood near the end of the movie (we see the injuries being applied but there is no detail; the event is surreal and very unclear until the scene moves along), and the big-headed (physically and egotistically) Yubaba with the nasty temper may frighten young children. There is also a scene where a huge monster begins to vomit brown liquid after consuming an unnatural amount of food; the monster vomits until it is reduced to a small size, its original size before it began devouring the food.

Any fan of Japan's most imaginative, artistic and surreal films will not want to miss Spirited Away.

Overall Rating:
/ 5


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1 comment:

Andrew said...

I've watched Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away by Miyazaki. Actually, I watched the latter yesterday! It was absolutely amazing. It's like I've never seen the true potential of animation until I've watched Miyazaki's movies.