The Bottom Line (at the top)
Spirited Away is an incredible film that stretches the imagination of anyone and represents the sheer mastery that Anime can attain!
Spirited Away is a movie like no other; it is a movie that makes one feel, think, and at times, even laugh. I first saw Spirited Away when I was about nine or ten years old and my father took me to the theater. I had no idea what it was about and I just wanted to stay home and play video games at the time so my father had to drag me away from my Playstation. A little over ten minutes into the movie, my attitude had completely changed and I became entranced by the amazing storytelling and awed by the world that had been created on screen! I saw the movie again years later and I’m overjoyed to report that the quality has not diminished in the slightest and that I actually appreciated the movie more!
The story begins with a family moving and changing schools for their ten year old daughter, Chihiro. As you can imagine, Chihiro is quite upset and unwilling to take on the adventure of making new friends. In order to make good time, the father decides to take a shortcut through the ominous woods, which is always a good decision. The family arrives at an old rundown clock tower and decide to take a look around, much to reluctant Chihiro’s dismay. They come out the other side and find an old, “seemingly” out of business amusement park. The Parents are drawn further into this park by the aroma of food. When night falls, the parents are turned into animals and trapped in the spirit world. Now it is up the Chihiro to navigate through the spirit world and find a way to reverse the spell, rescue her parents, and escape the spirit world!
The story is presented in a fun and whimsical manner that appeals to both child and adult. Chihiro is sent to work in a bath house where she meets a host of interesting characters. The overall story makes you think as you marvel at the wonder that this spirit world has to offer; if you aren’t thinking about the smart dialogue, symbolism, and character development, you’re missing out on some of what the movie has to offer.
The soundtrack is beautiful and fitting of such a lovely film. Most of the accompaniment played in this movie are very simplistic (only a few piano notes, but the right ones), but just enough to make the viewer appreciative of the scene. The score adds feelings of child-like wonder and whimsy when the family is first investigating the broken down amusement park.
Spirited Away works to instill a lasting effect into the viewer so that they leave the theater (or the couch) reminiscing on the film. As the viewer is sitting at dinner the next day, during a lull in the conversation, they find themselves thinking about the spirit world.
IMDb gave this film a rating of 8.6/10, a very good rating. I think that’s a very fitting rating and I am ecstatic to see this high of a rating. Personally, I believe that the caliber of this film is better:
Lasting Appeal: 8.8