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Spirited Away

2003-04-28 16:00:22.624245+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

(Finally) saw Spirited Away[Wiki] last night. I was underwhelmed. Perhaps it was the usual anime problem of cultural background, or maybe it was the perfunctory voicing, or maybe my expectations were raised too high by Princess Mononoke[Wiki], but the story was unconnected and the motivations of the various characters were muddled and unclear. A bunch of pretty pictures and cool ideas (the Luxo, Jr[Wiki] tribute was totally surreal), but not a coherent whole. Go see Totoro[Wiki] or Princess Mononoke[Wiki] again instead.

[ related topics: Movies Sociology ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2003-04-28 16:35:52.319473+00 by: TC

Wow. I totally disagree with you on this one Dan. I thought the story was wound very tightly and even though there was an homage to about 7 different movies it didn't distract from the story line. It would seem that Hayao Miyazaki[Wiki] borrowed from quite a bit of mythology to weave his tale. After the movie I kept refering to Baba Yaga[Wiki] instead of Yubaba. I have it on DVD if you want to watch it again(I think you'll see more the second time). The only thing I found dissapointing was the end. The first and second acts set a nice pace and the third act is all of few minutes. I strongly suspect this was the Disney[Wiki] influence. One of their laws specs childrens movies to be 78 minutes long. So I am sure it was a fight to keep the 125 minutes they have.

#Comment made: 2003-04-28 17:37:03.593687+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think if I see it again it has to be the subtitled version, which wasn't an option while watching it with the boy.

#Comment made: 2003-04-28 17:39:01.177531+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

#Comment made: 2003-04-29 01:25:55.070034+00 by: ghasty

I'm going to side with Dan on this one. My daughter picked it up at the store this past week and I've watched it twice with her...she liked it (she's 5 now...althought it was a bit scary for a 5 year old). I found it very wandering...was hard to connect all the details and get the point...very pretty film...but hard to follow

#Comment made: 2003-04-29 01:37:20.887885+00 by: anser

I think it plays a little better if you either know LOTS about Miyazaki Hayao, or nothing at all about anime or Miyazaki.

In the former case you will never stop grooving on his favorite tropes, devices and sensations, and the way his characters (even or especially the minor ones) relate to their predecessors in the other films.

In the latter case you will be blown away by the sheer power of good anime, and you won't notice the slight disjointedness.

I agree that for folks who have seen Tonari no Totoro and Mononoke Hime, but not Cagliostro or Laputa or Kiki or Porco Rosso, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi is going to seem a little odd. But do rewatch it, it's unforgettable. I actually think that the dub is pretty good, but once you get to know the plot, switch to Japanese audio and turn off subtitles.

#Comment made: 2003-04-29 08:18:08.028312+00 by: spink

Yeah, the subtitled versions are a must. Was watching laputa (castle in the sky) last night and switching between the japanese and english language tracks for a while. The english track was heavily basterdised. Lots of plot points changed. Same happens with pretty much any dub. Though I was disappointed in even the quality of the subtitling on laputa. I've seen the fan subs before and they were of a much higher quality(esp little side comments on some of the japanese customs coming through and places where the japanese could mean two seperate things).