Hi there, friends! I hope your weekend has been absolutely splendid so far. How about a little something to add to that awesomeness? For example, a review from the lovely Miss Anna over at Film Grimoire? I certainly hope you’re following Anna because she has some excellent content over there–lots of great film reviews, write-ups answering whether or not a film is worth paying for a movie ticket, hilarious segments highlighting certain search terms, and so much more. Follow her! Anyway, Anna is here to continue the Blogiversary Bash by talking about a film she loves. Take it away, Anna!
An epic adventure story set in a magical spirit land, legendary director Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2001) is a Studio Ghibli classic that everyone has to see. Ten-year-old Chihiro and her family are driving to their new home, far away from the city where they used to live. On the way, they get lost driving in the forest and come across a mysterious tunnel. Chihiro’s parents decide to explore the tunnel to see what’s on the other side in a sudden fit of adventurousness, despite Chihiro’s protests. Finding a street of shops and restaurants eerily empty of people, but full of delicious food, her parents begin to stuff their faces with decadent dishes. Chihiro goes to explore the town, and when she returns, her parents have literally turned into pigs. Finding herself stranded in this town, Chihiro must discover a solution to this problem, taking her on an adventure beyond her wildest imagination.
I love Spirited Away because it’s one of those films with the power to make you feel wholeheartedly comfortable, despite its bittersweet or scary moments. All of the creative elements are absolutely stunning (more on that later), and the story is fairly light, but it has a mighty amount of substance that only serves to increase ones’ enjoyment of the film, and to draw the viewer in to its world. Spirited Away is the perfect ‘rainy day’ film because the bright colours and adventurous story cause the viewer to almost feel as though they’ve gone on an adventure, just like Chihiro has. I first watched this when I was stuck inside the house with a broken leg, and it was one of the best films to be housebound with for this very reason.
One question that viewers might have before thinking of watching this film is whether they would want to see the original Japanese language film with subtitles, or the English dubbed film. There’s not too much of a difference between the two in terms of content, except that the English language version tends to be slightly more obvious when it comes to approaching the mysterious characters, as opposed to the Japanese version, which is more ambiguous and allows the audience to put certain puzzle pieces together themselves. The original Japanese with subtitles also seems to be a slightly more witty script. But this depends on your preference when watching foreign films – if you’re not a fan of subtitles, you would probably prefer the English dubbed version, regardless of the differences between the two. Additionally, the English dub is filled with lots of familiar voices and it’s fun to try and guess who’s who.
Spirited Away plays host to some of the most beautiful animation out of all of the Studio Ghibli films. Not only are the movements of all the characters and background elements very fluid and smooth, there is something stunning in every scene that catches the eye; whether it’s a strange creature in the background, a flash on a shiny surface, or the rhythmic tousling of a character’s hair in the wind. The strange world that Chihiro finds herself in is rendered in bright colours and filled with incongruous elements that seem at times simultaneously creepy, traditional, funny, and elegant. All of the scenes in the bathhouse are brilliantly designed, with a dreamlike aesthetic and unpredictable characters that keep you on your toes. It’s the perfect match to Joe Hisaishi’s score, which is beautiful and moving.
Ultimately, Spirited Away isn’t just an entertaining film to pass the time – the themes portrayed within this film are so poignant, and can be easily understood by viewers both young and old; themes such as courage, loyalty, commitment, family, and love, to name a selection. You might be able to see the parallels with Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, however this isn’t just a story about a girl hoping to escape a strange situation. It’s about a courageous young girl who seeks to save those she loves, and develops a sense of personal strength in the process of doing so. As with any Miyazaki film, the creative elements are beyond reproach, and when combined with such strong storytelling, characters, themes, and music, the result is a delightful and unique film that can be watched over and over again.
Watch the trailer here.
Thanks so much, Anna! Lovely review! Honestly, I’ve never seen this before…Apparently I need to change that, huh? You guys are all churning out great stuff for this series. So much fun to see the celebration of so many favorites! 😀 More to come…
25 thoughts on “Blogiversary Bash: Film Grimoire”
Such a wonderful, mesmerising film. I always prefer Studio Ghibli in the original Japanese.
Very well put first post. My Neighbour Totoro is my absolute fave, but Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke aren’t far behind. Always great to see them reviewed, especially when so well done.
I agree, they always select the best voice actors!
Wonderful film, Great choice Anna 😀
Thanks Tim! 🙂
Excellent write-up Anna! I really need to see this…
Thanks Adam! 🙂 It’s such a fantastic film, you should see it for sure!
Haha! Thanks for the lovely words Cara. And that’s exactly how we party in Australia! 😀 (Also, you have to see this film.)
Man, I really need to come to Australia then!! Hahaha. And yeah–I do need to see this. I’ll put it on my list…that maybe I will finish before I die. Maybe. Lol.
Awesome review Anna! I’ve got this one lined up to watch but just haven’t got around to it yet as it’s quite a lengthy one. Definitely need to get it seen at some point though.
Thank you! 🙂 You’re right, it’s a pretty long film, but I always forget the length whilst watching because it pulls you in so effectively!
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Great stuff! Although – not for me 😦
Not enough farts or stabbings! 😉
I know………… 😦 😦 😦 😦
Studio Ghibli films are the only ones that seem to put any effort into the English dubs. This is one film I can still enjoy dubbed. Its just a beautiful piece of cinema. Great stuff Anna 🙂
Thanks Mikey! 🙂 You’re totally right – Ghibli dubs are the only ones that seem to get it right every time!
Wonderful review, Anna! : ) I’ve really fallen in love with the Studio Ghibli stuff the past couple years. I still have loads to watch. Spirited Away was my introduction when it came out. I really need to rewatch it now – think I’d appreciate it much more now. : )
Thank you! 🙂 I’ve been trying to work my way through all the Ghiblis recently. Probably the most pleasant task ever! The films definitely get better and better upon each rewatch!
Great review! I have not seen this in the longest time.
Thanks Zoe! 🙂
Great review Anna! And the Kangaroo pics that’s pretty priceless. I bet that’s how Anna parties, I knew it!!