Film: Spirited Away

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Film:

Spirited Away

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Walt Disney Video

The highest grossing film in Japanese box-office history (more than $234 million), Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (Sen To Chihiro Kamikakushi) is a dazzling film that reasserts the power of drawn animation to create fantasy worlds. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and Lewis Carroll’s Alice, Chihiro (voice by Daveigh Chase—Lilo in Disney’s Lilo & Stitch) plunges into an alternate reality. On the way to their new home, the petulant adolescent and her parents find what they think is a deserted amusement park. Her parents stuff themselves…

Reviews

Amazon.com

The highest grossing film in Japanese box-office history (more than $234 million), Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (Sen To Chihiro Kamikakushi) is a dazzling film that reasserts the power of drawn animation to create fantasy worlds. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and Lewis Carroll’s Alice, Chihiro (voice by Daveigh Chase—Lilo in Disney’s Lilo & Stitch) plunges into an alternate reality. On the way to their new home, the petulant adolescent and her parents find what they think is a deserted amusement park. Her parents stuff themselves until they turn into pigs, and Chihiro discovers they’re trapped in a resort for traditional Japanese gods and spirits. An oddly familiar boy named Haku (Jason Marsden) instructs Chihiro to request a job from Yubaba (Suzanne Pleshette), the greedy witch who rules the spa. As she works, Chihiro’s untapped qualities keep her from being corrupted by the greed that pervades Yubaba’s mini-empire. In a series of fantastic adventures, she purges a river god suffering from human pollution, rescues the mysterious No-Face, and befriends Yubaba’s kindly twin, Zeniba (Pleshette again). The resolve, bravery, and love Chihiro discovers within herself enable her to aid Haku and save her parents. The result is a moving and magical journey, told with consummate skill by one of the masters of contemporary animation. MPAA Rated: PG (“Some scary moments”) —Charles Solomon

Barnes and Noble

In March 2003, writer-director-animator Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away became the first Japanese anime film to ever win (let alone to be nominated for) an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Rightfully so: The unique distillation of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Japanese folklore offers a sense of magic that has been sorely lacking in much recent animation. A ten-year-old girl named Chihiro, while passing through a strange abandoned village on her way to her new home, finds her greedy parents transformed into pigs after being tempted by delicious food. In order for them to become human again, Chihiro must work in a surreal bathhouse for monsters, spirits, and other supernatural critters, under the supervision of a witch named Yubaba. Along the way, Chihiro learns the virtues of bravery, self-worth, and humility while making new friends—including a boy named Haku, who wields hidden powers—and overcoming obstacles, such as the mysterious, money-offering No Face. Endlessly imaginative and beautifully realized, Spirited Away is a dreamlike experience, bolstered by Joe Hayashi’s moving score and Miyazaki’s mix of traditional animation and subtle computer graphics. Suitable for the whole family but also containing enough substance for continued study, it is nothing less than a new animation classic. Volk Lindsay

Related Works

Album:Spirited Away: Original Soundtrack

Spirited Away: Original Soundtrack

Joe Hisaishi

Despite an enthusiastic cult following, the talents of master Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki have yet to gain the sort of mainstream acceptance regularly afforded American feature animation in the artist’s own country. But Hollywood sponsorship of Princess Mononoke and this new Miyazaki anime masterpiece is an encouraging sign. To create the musical soundscape for his phantasmagorical adventure, the director has again tapped Mononoke composer and longtime collaborator Joe Hisaishi, and the results are another distinctive triumph. Effortlessly…

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