Thursday, 20 March 2008

Movie! ‘Spirited Away’


After having watched (and reviewed) ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ just after Christmas, a few people left comments saying that I really need to check out ‘Spirited Away’ as well. I need very little excuse for a spot of DVD shopping so off I went and found myself a copy straightaway! I haven’t really had a chance to put it on until today but I’ve just finished watching it and I’m really glad that I did. It was superb.
For those of you that don’t know the story ‘Spirited Away’ tells the tale of Chihiro, a small girl who is unhappy at having to move house. On the way to their new home her parents stop to explore what looks like an abandoned theme park but is actually a ghostly town. Before Chihiro knows it, she is engaged in a quest to save her parents whilst at the same time trying to stay alive and fend for herself in a new world inhabited by Gods and spirits…
This is a really hard review to write as everything that that I liked about ‘Spirited Away’ is the same as what I liked in ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’. Suffice it to say that the DVD packaging says that ‘Spirited Away’ is “the most successful film of all time in it’s native Japan’ and I can completely see why. The artwork/ animation blew me away yet again; everything seems to have been drawn to a really minute level of detail with no expense spared. Like ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, ‘Spirited Away’ is another anime that completely demands your attention and at times the combination of animation/incidental music meant that I actually had trouble concentrating on the story itself. Talking of the story… it’s a real mixture of the classic ‘quest’ tale (Chihiro’s attempts to save her parents) and loads of little extra bits that serve purpose other than to really open up the world that the film is set in. For example, who is No-Face and what is the point of him in the film? Why did someone take the decision to open a bath-house for weary Gods and spirits? You don’t get the answers and it doesn’t really matter either, just enjoy the spectacle that is unfolding before you. The bath-house itself is an amazing creation that’s full of life with a surprise around every corner, I was actually quite sad to leave at the end of it and I got the impression that Chihiro was as well. And that’s the only issue I really had with the film, everything seemed to build up to a confrontation that came across as anti-climatic and things just petered out after that.
All in all though, an amazing experience. I’m really glad I finally got round to watching ‘Spirited Away’, if you haven’t already seen it then I heartily recommend that you do.

Nine out of Ten

1 comment:

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