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Apart from the fact that this movie is absolutely amazing, I'd have to say you get what you pay for in terms of product quality.
At first I was skeptical buying a Bluray of an animated motion picture because I wasn't sure if you could "tell" it was high-definition, but I think I failed to realize this is a studio Ghibli film, so everything has an amazing level of detail the likes of which has never, and will never be surpassed by any other animation studio.
The Bluray comes with extra content, including a "making of" special, "meet Hayao Miyazaki", "behind the Microphone" and some other special featurettes. All of this content is standard definition on the Bluray disc, but this is just something we'll have to live with like all Disney BTS Features.
Bought for my 14 year old niece who's fallen fast for Anime - who absolutely loves this film and a year later is still thanking me for it!. - If your child is new to Japanese film - this is a really lovely film - wouldn't buy it for anyone under 12yrs though because it can be a little scary in parts. All in all though beautiful animation and a lovely story of a little girl trying to save her family.
Synopsis: In this animated feature by noted Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, 10-year-old Chihiro (Rumi Hiiragi) and her parents (Takashi Naitô, Yasuko Sawaguchi) stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park. After her mother and father are turned into giant pigs, Chihiro meets the mysterious Haku (Miyu Irino), who explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm, and that she must work there to free herself and her parents.
An amazing movie and most little kids in my family love it as do I. Some things to note... at the time of writing this review there is no 4K version. Even if there was (or is), I have read elsewhere that the movie was created in 2K so BluRay 1080P is the highest definition so, there is no need to purchase a more expensive 4K version for the movie alone. Also to note, there is a Japanese soundtrack version with English subtitles. This is often how to watch and hear the film in the best, true to the script way. Often the Japanese is far more eloquent than the American audio version. You can see this by turning on both the subtitles and the US Audio track and reading the difference in language from the subtitles to what you hear.
The film itself is excellent. Culturally ghosts and spirits are everywhere and in everything in Japan so to see a girl walk among spirits is not alarming and wasn’t intended to be frightening for a Western audience so bare that in mind when allowing kids to watch it - I think it’s good to discuss what they watch and I found this an interesting talking point with my kid. Hope this helps and is interesting!
This is flawless. Its moral point is clear without being hammered home. Visually, the film is powerful and the claustrophobic atmosphere is ever-present, though again without being overdone. The script is simple and effective. The acoustic and visual elements are perfectly integrated. Above all, the story is gripping and at times hair-raisingly tense.
I wouldn't recommend this film for young children but I certainly would for older ones, and for discriminating adults.
My Japanese friend wrote a list of Japanese films for me to watch before she went back to Japan in 2004. Later on when I found these were animes I said to myself "NO". And that was all forgotten until 2006 when a friend told me to watch Spirited Away and that I would enjoy it. I took out the library copy and after watching it, I went straight on to Amazon to order my copy. Because I had to have it! LOVED IT! LOVED IT! LOVED IT! And hence the immediate start of interest into Studio Ghibli productions. Out of all them this will be my top one. This was like Alice in wonderland in Japan and changed her name to Chihiro. Miyazaki was amazing with his creativity and how subtle he was with his imagination.
What happened to that list? After watching Spirited Away I was quite annoyed with my Japanese friend that she did not say anything about this film. My apologies to her, only last year I found that list and Spirited Away was on the list, number one, along with other superb Studio Ghibli films. :)
I saw this film years ago on VHS and have now, finally, got it on Blu-ray and is simply "out of this World" being enhanced to 4K through my Blu-ray player, everything is more colourful, images crisper, the film is just amazing, lovely storyline, brilliant dubbing & in Dolby 5.1 Stereo - I can't fault it at all. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this film - it's great for all the Family to watch.
NOTE: The voice actors cited below are from the English language version. Spirited Away is a glorious fantasy; it's a poignant, sometimes dark and visually enchanting masterpiece miles ahead of recent Disney fare. This is partly because the film's not afraid to have morally ambiguous characters. Aside from Chihiro (Daveigh Chase) and to an extent Haku (Jason Marsden) there's no clear heroes or villains; even the main antagonist Yubaba (Suzanne Pleshette), a greedy, sadistic witch, has some love in her, and even the good humans like Lin (Susan Egan) have their mean sides. Throughout the film I was impressed by how seriously it takes itself; a lot of care has been lavished not just on the animation but also the story and characters. It's a breathtakingly original piece which creates a world as detailed and crisply presented, in the visuals and storytelling, as Star Wars'. While moving house Chihiro and her parents (Lauren Holly and Michael Chiklis) take a wrong turn and stumble across a seemingly derelict theme park. They discover an unstaffed buffet and despite Chihiro's protests her parents eat up, promising to pay the bill once someone arrives. Before they can, however, they're turned into pigs by Yubaba, whose underlings laid out the food for customers at her spiritual bathhouse. Aided by Haku, a young man and Yubaba's apprentice, Chihiro finds a job in the bathhouse so she can throw herself at the witch's mercy. The world of the spirits is so rich that this film rewards repeat viewings. Characters and their natures are presented with great subtlety; you're invited to soak up this strange place like a bathing spirit. I loved a spirit called No-Face (Bob Bergen), whose story arc could be a film of its own. He's a creature of emotion and atmosphere, produced by a deep imagination. He has a scene with Chihiro which contains almost no dialogue and is just a procession of imagery. You don't often see that in "children's films"; in the west we've become used to homogenised work and the placement of profit before art. Spirited Away, which overtook Titanic in Japan's box office, exposes our apathy and cynicism simply by being as good as it is. The animation isn't treated arbitrarily but like an actual medium. This is the kind of film you could watch on mute and have a deeply rewarding experience. Every detail reeks of lavish care; you can get lost in this world. The story's told with equal craft, relying on magic and adventure as opposed to an action climax preceded by a "journey", like a video game ending in a last boss. Spirited Away's entire second act has only one setting - the bathhouse - yet is more inventive than many films with several dozen.
We bought the version dubbed into English with English subtitles. We're adults watching it. The beginning is a cranky kid in the back of a car and I was starting to wonder if I wanted to watch it, but once they've accidentally wandered into an alternate world it is brilliant. Good story, fantastic art, lots of inventiveness on all the cast of characters and world.
* So I bought this over 12 months ago. Seen it dozens of times so just want to add the physical copy to my collection. So finally tonight I think oooo I fancy Spirited Away....take off the cellophane and boom no disc in my box! I'll probably reorder it anyway and it's my own fault for not checking sooner but FML. *Re-order arrived, disc in case! Still love the film. worth the £19 I've now paid for it!
In our household of 4 boys - all different ages and personalities, they all expect different things from films. One likes fighting and humour, one likes magic and pretty things, one likes adventure and thinking, and the littlest just likes the colours and dialogue.
This film incorporates all of those things.
On a deeper level it teaches how you should be respectful, kind and caring/helpful to everyone and everything you meet and you will receive it back. If you are greedy, and not very nice you will receive that tenfold back at you. Valuable lessons for children I think!
The film is beautifully animated, exciting storyline and kept all of our attention the whole way through. I have watched many Ghibli films now and this is my favourite - and it was a hard decision to make as they are all so good.
The beauty and depth of these films are incredible and sure beat the shallow and moneygrabbing attempts of all the western films that get thrown at us. Those feel like cheap fast food culture versions in comparison.