Tuesday, December 17th, 2002
Saw Spirited Away tonight, and I loved it. Unequivocally. I haven’t seen much of Miyazaki’s stuff before, just Princess Mononoke, and the English dubbed version at that. I’m not ashamed to admit that I lost track of the plot in Mononoke fairly early on and by the end was just appreciating it for the animation, and I sort of expected the same result with Spirited Away.
Happily, I enjoyed Spirited Away completely, no disclaimers. Miyazaki creates a wonderfully imagined and realized fantasy world that’s just amazing to visit. It’s the story of Chichiro, a young girl who becomes trapped in a fantasy world at a spa for the supernatural and must rescue her parents and escape. Every scene is an absolute joy to behold, from the animated balls of ash working the boiler room to the flight of paper dolls doing battle with Haku the wolf-dragon, there’s a vibrancy and – for wont of a better word – spirit that permeates every cell of this film. And while there is a fair bit of CGI in the film for special effect sequences, it is still very much a hand-drawn traditionally-animated film, and I think it’s telling that it was more breathtaking to me than any computer-generated animation I’ve seen yet. All the computer processing in the world still can’t measure up to someone with pencil, paper and vision.
So yeah, if you’re partial at all to anime, fairy tales or just great fantasy films, go find a theatre screening this film and watch it. It’s just terrific.
np – Stereolab / Emperor Tomato Ketchup