Spirited Away Screen 6 articles

Spirited Away

2001

Spirited Away Poster
  • It's easy to lose sight of Chihiro's preordained spiritual journey beneath Miyazaki's fantastical sights. From the lower depths of Yubaba's fortress to the watery exteriors of the spirit kingdom, Chihiro moves closer to spiritual enlightenment with every conquest. When an already empowered Chihiro takes to the sky aboard Haku, Miyazaki evokes poetry in motion: they fall into each other (literally and figuratively), their mutual liberation perpetuated by the simple acknowledgement of a name.

  • Miyazaki's first digitally animated feature (the highest-grossing Japanese film ever) initially seems like a Through the Looking-Glass fantasy, but rapidly picks up a resonance, weight and complexity that make it all but Shakespearean... No other word for it: a masterpiece.

  • It has some splendid gags but it's deeply recursive, uniting themes and images from across the director's past work... [Many] elements form part of what might be called Miyazaki-land: his fascination with flight, ecology, elaborate buildings, strong girls, weary gods, overbuilt machinery, empowering labour, even the pigs heroine Chihiro's gluttonous parents turn into.

  • The dominant color in [the train] sequence is blue. The cloud-dotted, aquamarine sky is reflected in the flood water, and the train often seems to serve as a border between them, cutting horizontally across the frame like an equator. It’s a subtle analog for the relationship between the spirit world and the “real” world — which in Miyazaki’s films are more connected than any of us realize, and mirror images of each other.

  • For evidence that Hayao Miyazaki works from a different playbook than his Disney counterparts, look no further than the dynamic, kaleidoscopic world of SPIRITED AWAY... The film, like any great imagination, knows no bounds, and its scope and soaring ambition have rightly marked it as Miyazaki's masterpiece.

  • The film is an ideal introduction to the director by virtue of its balance. Spirited Away is epic in aesthetic scope and urgent in its narrative motivation, but apart from Ponyo, it's also the closest that Miyazaki ever came to replicating the idyllic escapism of My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service.

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