Home | Reviews | Exclusive Writings | Great Links | Miscellaneous | FAQ | Contact Us

Spirited Away /

Rated: PG

Starring: Daveigh Chase, Michael Chiklis, Susan Egan, Lauren Holly, Jason Marsden 

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki 

Produced by: Toshio Suzuki 

Written by: Hayao Miyazaki 

Distributor: Walt Disney


Movie Image

Movie Image

Movie Image

     How does Hayao Miyazaki do it? He dishes up masterpieces, one by one, and never misses a beat. Spirited Away, his latest animated feature, will go down in the record books with the rest of his films, as one of the most magically beautiful pieces ever witnessed in cinema. Watching it on the small screen, I mystically gazed at the beautiful work of art, that I missed out on in theatres. This is how an animated film should be done. Flawlessly made and visually enhancing to watch, Spirited Away shows us the value of a good imagination. This movie is astounding; plain and simple. Viewing it is like buying a ticket to a special sneak preview of heaven. Miyazaki has, yet again, accomplished the unthinkable.

     American distribution companies are weird. Here in the states, a film can completely bomb, and the same studio’s next project will be another exactly like it. Spirited Away failed at the box-office because of its poor distribution. It was left the victim of a small release, because of the inadequacies of Disney. As a result, it was left with a puny gross of nine million dollars. This is pathetic, considering that it was the biggest money-maker of all time in its home country, Japan. Disney gave the biggest money-loser of two-thousand-two, Treasure Planet, a wide release. Why shouldn’t they have taken that same risk on Spirited Away? This film received the proper buzz, but most of the people who wanted to see it, weren’t able to. I only hope, for Miyazaki’s sake, that it salvages some of the money that it deserves through DVD sales and rentals.

     The quality of the English dub-job is first-rate. While I do, as always, prefer the original Japanese recording—this is the best dub an anime film has ever received. The reason for this is clear. Miyazaki, himself, picked out all of the voice actors for the English version of the film. Being multilingual, he clearly understood the different emotions in the film, which needed to be translated perfectly, in order to keep it as magical as it originally was. As a whole, the native-version is better-done, but I must admit that I prefer some of the character’s English voices over their Japanese representations. This is most evident in one of my favorite personalities in the film, a man named Haku. Haku shows the heroine of the film, Chihiro, through the mystical spirit world in which it is set, created by Miyazaki.

     It’s easy to fall in love with Spirited Away. To be struck by its beautiful power, all you must do is look at the wondrous animation. Almost all of the frames are hand-drawn, and Miyazaki, who paints thousands of them himself, has just started to utilize small bits of computer animation. What’s even more fascinating is comparing the scenery to that of a Disney or Pixar production. There is so much more detail in this genre of animation than in most American-made children’s movies. In anime, depression, sickness, and evil exist. They are never ignored. Instead of creating completely harmonious worlds, Miyazaki paints us portraits of characters overcoming the hardships that appear on earth. He shows us the beauty of this, which is absolutely amazing.

     Contrived of excellence, Spirited Away crafts a tale that is far too magical to explain in too much depth, in any kind of review. Everyone must experience this spectacular work for themselves, so they are able to appreciate it. I’m not even sure that this piece of writing should be called an evaluation. This is a film that is far too amazing to review. I’m ready to write a retrospective on it, and begin reminiscing on the joy that it brought my soul while viewing it. This is not a joke. Spirited Away is this fantastic. If it were up to me, I would personally show it to every human-being on the planet. It is one of the rare treasures in cinema that is simply extravagant and emotionally pleasing to watch. Spirited Away is one of the best movies of the year. 

-Danny, Bucket Reviews

Back to Home
The Bucket Review's Rating Scale