I blame boredom.
I had nothing to do, and Spirited Away was playing near by.
It had just won an Oscar, and was a critically acclaimed movie, so I decided to go see it. Of course, Iím still upset about the failure of Disneyís TREASURE PLANET, but thatís another story.
Now, I must say my previous experiences with Hayao Miyazaki havenít been too favorable for me. I saw the acclaimed director's Princess Mononoke theatrically and Kikiís Delivery Service on video, and was kinda bored and disappointed.
But like I said, boredom is a bitch, and so I went and saw Spirited Away anyway.
I must say, as I watched the movie, I was getting sleepy, but in Miyazakiís defense, I didnít sleep all that well last night, so that might have something to do with it. But at 125 minutes, Spirited Away is a bit long, and a little slow.
Itís about a little girl moving to a new area with her folks, but along the way something very odd happens and in true animated tradition, the little girl becomes the heroine that saves the day.
This is a weird movie. I dunno what it is about Anime, Japanese animation, that makes it so...itís so weird. It tends to be very, Lovecraftian, which is not something I like. Iíve explained what I mean by "Lovecraftian" on this site before, once in my review of FINAL FANTASY:THE SPIRIT WITHIN and once while discussing the Book of Revelations from the Bible.
What I mean is that I donít like creatures that are very alien in appearance; Multiple arms, eyes, legs, etc. I prefer "monsters" to be more human in appearance, but H.P. Lovecraft tended to write of outlandish monsters with tentacles and such. Ironically, I just finished a book called Breed by Owl Goingback. Yes, thatís his name. Heís Native American. Sure enough the baddie was all Lovecraftian, with tentacles and six eyes and a big old throbbing penis about the size of a battering ram. But I digress...
Anyway, Spirited Away, unfortunately, has plenty of Lovecraftian creatures, and no sir, I donít like Ďem.
But I have to say, overall, I did find the movie enjoyable. It was the English dubbed version. I prefer subtitles in any foreign movie, but if itís animated I can live with dubbing. Besides, it had some cool casting. I didnít realize it while watching it, but the parents are voiced by Michael Chiklis of TVís The Shield and Lauren Holly.
Susan Egan who was the Meg in Disneyís Hercules was also in it.
Most importantly though, the main character, Chihiro, was voiced by Daveigh Chase.
She was Lilo in Disneyís LILO & STITCH, but sheís probably best known for her live action role as Samara in THE RING. She did a nice job here, and at times she spoke really fast, just like Japanese animated flick of old.
So Spirited Away didnít blow me away, but it did have itís moments.
Itís much deeper and more visceral than American animated movies. It sort of a family flick, but not one that talks down to children. It does move kinda slow, but it may be worth checking out on DVD.