Hayao Miyazaki is a legend for animators across the world. The fans of anime (Japanese animation) and the animation community have revered the works of him and wait for his each anime film with a of ill-concealed impatience. For main-stream animation movie-goers, Miyazaki is not a well-known name, but he treats his audience as imaginative and intelligent human beings, rather than catering to kids with rote displays of silliness, stunts and scares. You might not be a fan of anime, but if you like a good unpredictable, imaginative storytelling, then "Spirited Away" is a must watch.
Spirited Away is influenced by Lewis Caroll's 'Alice In Wonderland' and Frank Baum's "Wizard of Oz" and uses these influences to fashion a highly original story about a 10 year-old girl, Chihiro. With none of the mawkishness of American animation movies, this traditional anime is equally accessible to both kids and adults. 'Spirited Away' was also one of the most successful movies in Japanese film history, which grossed an astounding $230 million and shared the Golden Bear award in Berlin Film Festival, and also won an Oscar for 'Best Animation.'
PlotChihiro, a ten-year old and her parents are driving to their home. On their way, they discover a tunnel in the countryside that leads them into an old, abandoned theme park. Chihiro's parents insist on strolling into the abandoned amusement park. Instead, it is a bathhouse for the gods, run by a cruel witch who entraps hapless humans if they wander in. As night falls, Chihiro returns to find that mum and dad have been turned into pigs, leaving her trapped in the spirit realm.
Chihiro must find a way hard to save her parents. She meets eccentric and otherworldly characters, commanded over by a snarling sorceress, and is helped by a kind but enigmatic boy. The story takes a backseat to a series of set-pieces along Chihiro’s journey into an accelerated progress to adulthood.
AnalysisGods, ghosts and spirits take a break from their routine work and has a relaxing time in this supernatural bathhouse. So, this otherworldly place has its own rules, based on sorcery rather than reason and rationality. But the dream-like logic serves as an allegory on identity and individuality. It's also a glimpse into modern-day Japanese culture, with revealing references to economic instability and the value of hard work. Director Miyazaki, through Chihiro's preordained spiritual journey celebrates individualism and nature's simple, untainted beauties. Miyazaki and his team of animators have hand-draw the images before they're digitally colored. The animation is stunning, with flawless foregrounds and richly-detailed backgrounds. The two-hour 'Spirited Away' by Miyazaki offers more imagination, innovation and magic than most of the animation movies.
To write for a film like 'Spirited Away,' it's not about regurgitating information out for those who know little about it, but more of an experience in reminiscing. This film depends on the audience’s wonder of revelation and demands that you tap into the parts of your imagination that may have lay dormant for years. The various outlandish creatures and their surroundings, like the giant baby and the three disembodied head servants or the set-pieces including the soot creatures and their six-legged master and the showstopping bath of the Stench God are all a absolute delight to watch.
Fantasy and adventure stories are all about battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. This is the scenario, even for the great 'Lord of The Rings.' It also makes it too easy for film-goers to cheer for the good guys and boo the bad guys. So, our world is seen as the stage for dueling dualisms. Most of these stories are from our worldview, which develops out of prejudice and hatred, in which we project our feelings of fear, resentment, self-disgust, anger, alienation, and paranoia. Spirited Away and the other Miyazaki's movies are entirely different from our worldview and they are mostly based on the spiritual practices of hospitality, empathy, self-esteem, compassion, and forgiveness.
"Spirited Away" is the best family entertainment. It is breathtaking, memorable and contains surprises for the senses at every turn.
Spirited Away - IMDb