March 15, 2017

Film Review: Spirited Away

Figure 1: Movie Poster
Spirited Away (2001) is a film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, produced by studio ghibli. It is a animated fantasy adventure film, and is about a young 10 year old girl, Chihiro, who finds herself in a strange fantasy world and is trying to find her parents, who have been turned into pigs. Although a japanese anime film, it is extremely popular in the West, and has helped Studio Ghibli achieve a worldwide audience.
This film is a mash up of asian and western cultures and influences, for example there is a lot of asian mythology but also western influences. The look of Spirited Away is beautiful and peaceful, it is full of calm naturalistic landscapes, which all look like a watercolour. The film looks very appealing to audiences of all ages, as it is bright and colourful, but not over the top or garish.
Figure 2: Film Still
“Miyazaki's luminescent, gorgeously realized world is relatively safe for children, but it also acknowledges blood, pain, dread, and death in ways that other animated films wouldn't dare.” (Robinson, 2013)

This quote by Robinson proves that it is recognised that although Spirited Away is a child-friendly popular animation, it has obvious acknowledgements of the bad sides of life and references to horrors of the world.
For example there are underlying themes of prositution and brothels. In the bath house where Chihiro works, spririts come to replenish themselves, and there are many theories that this bath house represents a brothel. Inside the bath house, we meet many other young women who work there bathing these creatures, and they all are given new names, including Chihiro. In the bath house we meet another character, an old spirit called No-Face. This spirit follows Chihiro around and their interactions become more and more sinister, and he keeps offering her tokens and money, perhaps to buy her.This one is an event, a huge accomplishment in the world of traditional animation and a powerful rebuttal to the notion that films for children must be simplistic and visually dull. (Horn, 2014)

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