Spirited Away (impressions - Fan Impressions)
This page contains reactions by fans to the film Spirited Away
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.digital.anime.org.uk/rsen.html
July 22, 2001
Review: Spirited Away
by Tait Chamberlain
You've got to wonder why people continue to write reviews of Miyazaki movies, since they almost all end up sounding the same in the end. "Wow," "magical," "he's done it again" "sure to be the biggest movie of the summer," on and on it goes, and then after recycling the same words of praise and amazement in a slightly new order for a few paragraphs you come the inevitable five-star rating. So why am I adding to the pile? In the words of Raphael See in his Laputa review, "Because that way, I get to watch the best animated stories in the world."
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://us.imdb.com/CommentsShow?245429
September 2, 2001
Yet another timeless Masterpiece
by Brian Edwards
Though it shares certain similarities with his other work, it is still a very much unique and new vision. The substance, as usual, is quite profound, having to do with finding one's freedom through pure-heartedness. Of course there is no preaching, things just happen like they do in life.
My only dissapointment was with the music. I thought Joe Hisaishi's music for Mononoke Hime was really tremendous. It haunted you long after the film ended. Indeed, I thought it one of the greatest film scores of all time. The music for Sen To Chiro is not bad at all and does not detract from the film in any way, but except for a few inspired moments (like the closing credit folk tune--wonderfully simple yet effective) it might as well not been there.
Addendum from Brian Edwards:
For some odd reason the first cinema I saw it in had the music turned way down so one could hardly hear it. Seeing it twice in fine cinemas has revamped my view of the score. It is every bit as good as Mononoke, just more subtle.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.midnighteye.com/reviews/spiraway.shtml
January 7, 2002
by Tom Mes
As we've come to expect from Studio Ghibli, Spirited Away is an animation film of the highest technical calibre. A visual triumph, both in set and character design, providing a delightful cast of spirits, spectres, talking animals and imaginative hybrids.
This more subtle approach to its messages is characteristic for the film as a whole. What struck Miyazaki about the real-life girl who served as the inspiration for Chihiro was not only the fact that she seemed jaded to the attention her parents were giving her (something he subsequently noticed in other girls of that age), but also that she was one member of an age group largely overlooked by the film industry.
Spirited Away celebrates basic and simple human virtues, which the more cynical among us may dismiss as obvious. But as with all things that are basic and seem obvious, there is a real danger in overlooking them and this is exactly where Miyazaki cautions us. Those who scoff at the outside world might well find the solution to their problems inside themselves.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.pete.gontier.org/archives/2002_02_03_ipa.shtml
February 8, 2002
by Pete Gontier
I thought it rocked, but it's very Japanese.
Ultimately, I was happy with this, but I did notice it, and I am skeptical that Americans will tolerate it (even 10-year-old Americans). I suspect Miyazaki felt he could be this freewheeling because some of the mythology will seem familiar to a Japanese audience, so it will fit into a framework they already understand, which will make it seem less arbitrary, but I am mostly speculating here.
If this film has any hope of a successful American theatrical release, it will have to be given the Neil Gaiman treatment: hand the script and a videotape to Neil and tell him to rewrite all the dialog as he sees fit.
PM did not break through in this country, and Spirited Away seems far more Japanese. I wonder if a theatrical release is worth a try. Of course, I will buy the DVD either way.
The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0202B&L=nausicaa&P=R919
February 11, 2002
by Hanno Mueller
I must confess, the movie was weird, really weird. Very dream-like, with lots of small details that made little sense to me (more on that later on). The movie has been described as an "Asian Alice in Wonderland" and I agree -- that's a perfect analogy.
Technically and artwise, the movie is brilliant, the best I have seen from Ghibli yet. Wonderful character design, costumes, artwork, backgrounds -- *spectacular* backgrounds. Thoughtful use of computer graphics, although too obviously visible at some moments. But then there were quite a few scenes when I thought the number of in-between frames wasn't high enough and animation got choppy.
A beautiful movie, a good story, many puzzling elements. Will I watch it again? Sure. Why? In the hope of understanding it better... Maybe that's the secret of its box office success in Japan?
On a scale of 1 (very good) to 6 (very bad), I'd give "Sen" a 2 minus because of my problems with some story elements.
A 35-minute streaming video (in "FLV" format), available at http://sonicsuns.blip.tv/file/770974/
Sonicsuns talks direct to camera explaining his interpretation of the movie.
Miyazaki has this thing of finding the magic in everyday life... it connects to our experience of normal things, and says, "wait a minute, these normal things can actually be extraordinary."