DVD + Blu-ray
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Winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Hayao Miyazakis wondrous fantasy adventure is a dazzling masterpiece from one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the history of animation.
Chihiros family is moving to a new house, but when they stop on the way to explore an abandoned village, her parents undergo a mysterious transformation and Chihiro is whisked into a world of fantastic spirits ruled over by the sorceress, Yubaba. Put to work in a magical bathhouse for spirits and demons, Chihiro must use all her wits to survive in this strange new place, find a way to free her parents and return to the normal world. Overflowing with imaginative creatures and thrilling storytelling, Spirited Away became a worldwide smash hit, and is one of the most critically-acclaimed films of all time.
• Feature-Length Storyboards
• Original Theatrical Trailers
• TV Spots
• Behind the Microphone
• 12-page Booklet w/ statements from Producer and Director
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3rd item from the left on the main menu, 3rd column to the right and 3rd item down from there (2 Japanese characters that signify English subtitles)
The Blu-Ray and DVD combo is how we prefer to buy all of our movies, so that we can watch them at home and on the road using a portable DVD player.
Others I like (but not quite as much): Howl's Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro. Least favorite: Ponyo
To forestall the flow of superlatives that this movie deserves allow for a little admin.
Spirited Away is Family Friendly. Having a young girl as the hero may make it a tough sell for small boys, but it is such a well told story, they may let themselves be won over.
It is certainly aimed at the younger family members, but in my house, two adults, no kids it is a favorite movie. Miyazaki has made a movie with enough sophistication and depth to be more than kiddie show. Studio Ghibli as usual has made this such a beautiful movie, that it can be enjoyed as an animated art show even with the sound off.
Spirited Away is what a fairy story should be. It contains almost all of the classical elements, but it refuses to be easy to anticipate. There is always an unexpected detail, or another beautiful image that make this a viewing delight.
Observing the conventions, ten year-old, whiny and grumpy Chihiro Ogino(voiced magnificently by child actor Daveigh Chase) is moving with her parents from her home to a new life in the country. Along the way they find themselves in what they believe to be an abandoned theme park. Her parents succumb to the temptation of rich and savory food and are turned into pigs. Chihiro being too scared to eat avoids the transformation and learns that this is a magical town where spirits come for their holiday and to take advantage of the wondrous Bath House.
The Bath house is ruled by the ruthless, but not entirely evil Yubaba (Again magnificently voiced by Suzanne Pleshette). Here the young Chihiro signs away her name to become one of the workers. Literally she signs away her name and becomes known as Sen. She cannot go back to her old life until she remember her old name. She will be called upon to perfume heavy work, make friends of unlikely spirits, help fight evil and make sacrifices in favor of others.
So far this is fairly standard fairy tale stuff. But back it with almost unlimited imaginings of what spirits might look like, non-traditional plotting and depth of imagination.
Miyazaki and Ghibli have peopled a complete magical world and shown us a ten year-old girl who can stand up to it and win it and us to her side.
This is my second copy of Spirited Away and at least my 4th viewing. It is that good.
The setting begins in an abandoned-looking town, where a little girl and her two parents move in.. but it is quickly discovered that the town is not empty, but yet, not filled with life either.
The town is inhabited by spirits and through a series of lessons and adventures, the girl must quietly assimilate into the culture, when her parents are transformed into swine.
This movie is a beauty. 5 stars, for sure