Spirited Away

Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)

In the middle of her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters; where humans are changed into animals; and a bathhouse for these creatures.

Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli are perceived as the forefront of the animation world nowadays. Since animation has taken a huge step forward with computer generated films, released in slick 3D and almost perfect imagery, traditional animation of actual man made drawings are now seen as artistry and a waste of time and money. The offer of animation film has been wider and wider since it is appealing to a wide audience and the technology has considerably evolved since the last twenty years.

Miyazaki’s stories are populated with fantastic elements and are interesting metaphors for children to get a hold to understand much deeper life changes. In this case, Chihiro moves and her fears and apprehension are reflected by the world she discovers. Much like a Alice in Wonderland made in Japan. With bright colors and surprising characters, this is the kind of film that can still appeal to a younger audience even if it is not computer generated drawings that populate this beautiful fairytale.

With all that said, on the praising of the technical marvel that Spirited Away represents, I believe that Hayao Miyazaki’s films offer something else that the Pixar and Dreamworks of this world. But, it’s story and visual saturation of colors keep on annoying me since My Neighbor Totoro to Howl’s Moving Castle. This is pretty much the same with Spirited Away, I can understand its value and how it an interesting entertainment.

The same kind of bore that affected me very much when I watched Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. Another celebrated film by popular consensus that I simply couldn’t get pass its plot holes and empty meanings. Some fans of both œuvres might say that I’m reluctant to watch fantastic films, this might be a part of the explanation why I almost couldn’t stand to watch the entire damn thing.

However, I can see that many people appreciate this kind of beautiful entertainment, but for me it is a nice vehicule but the content isn’t concerning me. From the successes of Miyazaki’s filmography I still have Princess Mononoke to watch and it might be the one that changes my mind but I don’t have high hopes on that.


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