A movie review by: Lee Sonogan
(2001) PG/2h5min/Animation, Adventure, Family
Recently moved with her parents, a ten-year-old girl wanders into a world full of gods, witches and spirits. Plus humans are changed into beasts. This is the first film to earn US$200 million in grosses before opening in the U.S. As of 2016, this is the highest-rated animated film in the IMDB Top Rated Movies Top 250. Its imagery and design alone are worth the visual experience if you like a lot of detail in an anime.
This was the first film directed by Hayao Miyazaki in which a child character was actually voiced by a child. Although Hayao Miyazaki had considered retiring after completing Princess Mononoke in 1997, he was inspired to make this film after seeing a friend’s sullen 10-year-old daughter. Hayao Miyazaki wrote, directed, and drew the storyboards for the movie; many directors have claimed that he essentially ‘writes his movie with drawings’, with films like Spirited Away being one man’s work and vision. The filmmaker is so influential and involved in the production, the New Yorker once called him “the auteur of anime.”
First anime film to be nominated for and win an Academy Award. It also has the longest runtime of any other film nominated or winning in that category: 125 minutes. One of only two animated films ever to receive the Japan Academy Prize for a picture of the year, the first being Princess Mononoke, a product of the same crew.
Executive Producer John Lasseter of Pixar supervised the English-language dubbing of the film and tried to match the actors’ English-language dialogue with the mouth movements of the animated characters. There are several instances in the English-dubbed version where dialogue was added that was not present in the original Japanese release. In an interview with John Lasseter, he explained that it was a necessary addition to help clarify certain elements for American audiences.
In order to animate the scene where Chihiro force-feeds Haku the medicine in his dragon form, Hayao Miyazaki had his animators study a dog’s mouth as they fed it treats while a veterinarian held its lower jaw. The song over the closing credits (“Itsumo Nando Demo”/”Always With Me”) was intended for a Hayao Miyazaki film that was never made. Miyazaki played it relentlessly while making this film and decided to include it in the end credits.
Overall, anyone can watch this movie and enjoy it. So much effort to each scene, making it powerful. The weird and crazy characters only add to that. This movie is also an interesting adventure movie. Magic, music, original dialogue, nice transitions, humour, style, and so much more. It is rated high and once again I can see why. One of the main bad guys has an interesting concept that creates chaos in the movie. The movie concludes as it ends with a twist ending. I recommend this movie to everyone except children as they could find it scary. It’s just gotta be seen to be believed.