Perhaps one of the most well known of Ghibli’s films, Spirited away is a perfect choice to demonstrate the brilliance that is the Japanese Ghibli animation house who are currently celebrating
Perhaps one of the most well known of Ghibli’s films, Spirited away is a perfect choice to demonstrate the brilliance that is the Japanese Ghibli animation house who are currently celebrating twenty five years since the dual release of My neighbor Torturo and Grave of the fireflies. For those unlucky few who have yet to be drawn into the magical yet topical world of animation, let me assure you that you will not be disappointed. There is something for everyone within the Ghibli collection which viewers will find as memorable and entertaining as watching Disney’s Toy Story for the first time.
This year saw the 25th anniversary of the simultaneous release of My NeighbourTortoro and Grave of the Fireflies; two very different films from Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. To celebrate this anniversary, I will be taking a little time to showcase some other Studio Ghibli releases which are easily
Spirited Away (2001)
Spirited Away is possibly the first film of Studio Ghibli’s which will have caught the eye of those unfamiliar with Miyazaki’s previous work – mainly because it won Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards in 2001, and many notable critics stated that had it been up for Best Picture, it would have deserved to have won that as well.
The film opens with ten-year-old Chihiro riding along during a family outing as her father races through remote country roads. When they come upon a blocked tunnel, her parents decide to have a look around — even though Chihiro finds the place very creepy. When they pass through the tunnel, they discover an abandoned amusement park.
As Chihiro’s bad vibes continue, her parents discover an empty eatery that smells of fresh food. After her mother and father help themselves to some tasty purloined morsels, they turn into giant pigs. Chihiro understandably freaks out and flees. She learns that this very weird place, where all sorts of bizarre gods and monsters reside, is a holiday resort for the supernatural after their exhausting tour of duty in the human world.
This dazzling and often enchanting tale is up there with the very best. When you finish watching a really good film, either at home or when coming out of the cinema, the best thing it can do is to change, if only for a short time, the way you perceive your surroundings. At the heart of Spirited Awayis an experience which peaks your fascination, enflames your curiousity, and genuinely changes the way you look at the world.
Once again, as with all of Miyazaki’s films, audiences of all ages are able to appreciate a rich and fascinating fairytale which is thrillingly ambiguous and contains some of the most gorgeous animation you ever likely to see. Many will see comparisons between it and Alice in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz, and even the Harry Potter books to an extent, however this is deeply embedded in Miyazaki’s own universe, and again it is that combination of unparalleled imagination and animation which has made this the most successful ‘foreign’ film of all time.