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Spirited Away

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,695 customer reviews

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(Apr 15, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the history of animated cinema comes the most acclaimed film of 2002. Hayao Miyazaki's latest triumph, filled with astonishing animation and epic adventure, is a dazzling masterpiece for the ages. It's a "wonderfully welcoming work of art that's as funny and entertaining as it is brilliant, beautiful, and deep" (Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal). 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 upon 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. "To enter the world of Hayao Miyazaki is to experience a kind of lighthearted enchantment that is unique to the world of animation" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times). It's a fantastic tale the whole family will want to experience over and over again.~~(c) 2001 Nibariki -- GNDDTM

Additional Features

The most interesting extra feature on the two-disc set is the Nippon Television Special on the making of Spirited Away, not because it's significantly different from American making-of programs, but because the camera crew was allowed to film Miyazaki at work. It's fascinating to watch the visionary director explaining how individual movements should be animated, and even performing the little dance the frog-master does to welcome the No-Face to Yubaba's bath house. (Old animators describe Walt Disney giving similar performances, but no comparable footage exists.) It's also striking to see how intimate Studio Ghibli is, unencumbered by the tiers of management that burden American studios. The scene comparisons enable the viewer to study the storyboards for the film, which Miyazaki draws himself. These simple yet wonderfully vivid images capture the essence of a mood, a movement, an expression. "Behind the Microphone" offers a fairly standard behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the excellent English version of Spirited Away. --Charles Solomon

Special Features

SPIRITED AWAY Introduction -- Academy Award(R)-Winning Director And Miyazaki Admirer John Lasseter (Special Achievement Award, 1995) Introduces The Film.|Behind The Microphone -- Go Behind The Scenes Of The English-Language Version With The Voice Cast, Including Suzanne Pleshette and Jason Mardsen.|The Art Of SPIRITED AWAY -- See Why Hayao Miyazaki Is Renowned By Filmmakers The World Over As One Of The Premiere Animators In Motion Picture History, And How His Masterpiece Was Translated For English-Speaking Audiences.|The Nippon Television Special -- View This Japanese Television Special To Get An Insider's Peek Into Studio Ghibli During The Creation Of SPIRITED AWAY (in Japanese With English Subtitles).|Select Storyboard-To-Scene Comparison -- Using The Angle Button On Your Remote Control, Witness Miyazaki's Creative Process As You Switch Between Selections Of His Original Storyboards And The Final Animated Scenes, Complete With Japanese And English Language Tracks.

Product Details

  • Directors: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment Presents A Studio Ghibli Film
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2003
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,695 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLEU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #413 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Spirited Away" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Spirited Away is yet another masterpiece from Japan's undisputed master of animation. Although I did not enjoy it as much as Princess Mononoke, I was more entertained by this film than by any Disney movie made in the past five years. Speaking of Disney, I thought I would clear up a few misconceptions that some people have concerning this film. Firstly, for those people who complain that Miyazaki's films (as well as other anime) are for adults, and not children, I should point out that Miyazaki has explicitly stated that Spirited was made for young girls. (in other words, Chihiro's age) This doesn't mean that the film can only be enjoyed by pre-pubescant girls (I myself am a 22 year old male); it just means that you should not go into this film expecting something geared towards adults, the way Mononoke was.
Now I have noticed several people on this site comparing Spirited to Disney. Everyone seems to agree that it is nothing like Disney, because it is scary. Some parents even go so far to say that Spirited is inappropriate for children. Let me just say that you are all both right and wrong on this issue. Spirited Away is nothing like Disney as it is NOW. However, if you look at classics like Snow White, and especially Pinocchio, you'll see that these films have much more in common with Spirited Away than with, say, Hercules, or Tarzan. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who claims that Spirited is too scary for children ought to remember what Disney used to be like. In Snow White, the wicked Queen ordered the huntsman to cut out Snow White's heart. Even more telling, in Pinocchio, the main character ends up on an island for wicked children, who are mercilessly transformed into beasts and sold into slavery.
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Format: DVD
Chihiro, a typical slightly spoiled ten year old girl, wanders off the beaten path with her parents, and is thrust into a bewildering otherworld. Her parents have soon fallen under a malign enchantment, and suddenly it falls to her, with the aid of a mysteriously familiar boy named Haku, to rescue them. She has to decide where to place her trust, as it becomes apparent that Haku is in the service of the villainous tyrant grandmother Yabubu, who rules over this otherworld.
It is Chihiro's spirit that steers her through these uncharted waters. We watch her discover in herself and exhibit, tentatively at first but with growing confidence, all of the virtues a fairy-tale hero must learn: resourcefulness, compassion, politeness (hey, this *is* Japanese!) and courage. Because we've witnessed her ordinary beginnings, we identify with and believe in all her emerging qualities. It's all done with a deft matter-of-fact touch that never cloys and never preaches. The animation is quietly dazzling. The plot is dense and full of surprises. The symbolism is as exotic as a Shinto shrine, and as familiar as the echos set up by the best fairy tales from Hans Christian Andersen or old Russia.
The cream of American animation for children in recent years - films like Aladdin or Monsters Inc - have drawn in audiences with screenplays written on a double track: a simple, comforting story for the kids, and a long series of nods and winks over the kids' heads to the adults, catering to our sense of irony and patting us on the back for catching all the topical and cinematic references. And that's been fun as far as it goes.
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Format: DVD
At the time of this review's writing, Spirited Away just won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, beating out Lilo & Stitch, Treasure Planet, Spirit, and Ice Age. It also bears the distinction of being the first Japanese animation to win the award. I say, there was no contest.
Spirited Away is a fantastic and deep movie, with characters that feel very much alive, even though they're obviously animated drawings. Miyazaki, the director, deliberately instructed his animators to focus on the tiny human details of everyday actions, such as eating. The animators were actually in the studio's cafeteria, filming their coworkers. This attention to detail is what makes the movie come alive. Chihiro sits down and carefully inches her way down a steep stairway on the outside of a building. Chihiro's mother bites a strip of meat off a cooked bird, and pulls sideways with her jaw, not straight out. (The meat doesn't streeeeetch and pop, either.) It just seems REAL.
And then, of course, the movie really begins and things get somewhat surreal. The parade of creatures crossing the bridge is just the beginning: Robed figures wearing masks and holding fans in front of their faces, creatures that appear to be giant chickadees, weird monster-like creatures with tusks and horns and green hair. And they're being welcomed by humanish frogs. And that's just the beginning of the movie.
But, at the same time, with all these fantastic spirits and creatures, the movie maintains its human element: Chihiro. She is the only real human in most of the movie, and it is her ability to adapt, and to care, that propels the story. Chiriho grows. She learns that she has to make it on her own initiative if she wants to get what she needs.
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