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From Hayao Miyazaki, one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the history of animated cinema, comes the Oscar(R)-winning triumph (2002, Best Animated Feature Film), filled with astonishing beauty and epic adventure, a dazzling masterpiece for the ages. SPIRITED AWAY is a wondrous fantasy about a young girl, Chihiro, trapped in a strange new world of spirits. When her parents undergo a mysterious transformation, she must call on the courage she never knew she had to free herself and return her family to the outside world. an unforgettable story, brimming with creativity, SPIRITED AWAY will take you on a journey beyond your imagination. It's a fantastic tale the whole family will want to experience over and over again on Disney Blu-ray!
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This is the story of Chihiro, a 10 year old girl who is moving to a new city when her parents decide to take a quick detour to what seems to be an abandoned amusement park. However, the park is filled with magical creatures and her parents are turned into pigs. Chihiro must grow up quickly in this exotic world not only to save her parents, but to survive.
I cannot speak enough about the story itself which is expertly crafted or the beautiful animation that includes some wonderful scenes at the bath house, the strange characters that fill the screen and my favorite, the train on the flooded tracks which provides views of the distant clouds that almost had me feeling the cool breeze blowing past. This is a must-see film for sure.
As for the blu-ray transfer, all I can say is "Finally!" as it took long enough. The blu-ray provides a crisp, clean presentation of the film which meets and exceeds all expectations. I was fortunate enough to see Spirited Away in the theaters which is the only way to view this film in a superior format to the blu-ray edition.
As far as the rest of the extras goes, it duplicates what was available on the standard 2-disc DVD that was released several years ago. However, that does not detract from my rating at all. If you like this movie, then by all means get this blu-ray edition as it is well worth the price.
The main character, Chihiro is a bit of a wimp at first but she becomes strong later and mind you, she's a little girl and she does a lot for someone her age. I don't want to give the story away because I feel like I would if I went more in depth with this review. I loved it so that's all I can really delve into without revealing everything.
Spirited Away is probably the most well-known film to come from Studio Ghibli and the legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki. It really stands out as an exemplary example of animated films.
To start off with, the animation in this film is outstanding. There is a ton of detail in the background art that really helps to bring alive both the real world and the fantasy world that Chihiro spends most of the film in. The designs and animation of the characters themselves is well done and really helps make this film a memorable experience. This is especially notable with Chihiro herself who goes through many emotions and experiences throughout the film from her humorous reaction to meeting a stink spirit to a sad realization over her situation. The other characters are very memorable in their own right as well. Taking place in a fantasy setting really gave the creators of this film a lot of chances to come up with imaginative characters, such as the various spirits seen, and they used this opportunity well. This includes the witch-like Yubaba (Suzanne Pleshette) who runs the bathhouse along with the mysterious spirit No-Face (Bob Bergen) that follows Chihiro around.
All other aspects of this film work as well. As I have already mentioned, the characters and story are well written and really help make this movie memorable. The music is top notch, composed by Ghibli regular Joe Hisaishi. In addition to this, I thought that Disney did a good job with their dub that stays faithful to the original story, for those that prefer dubs.
This Blu-ray set comes with many bonus features. This includes a making-of movie, the original Japanese soundtrack, storyboards, and trailers.
All in all, this is nothing short of an excellent animated film that is sure to be enjoyed by both kid and adult fans of animation.