Spirited Away (2001)

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great visuals, strong story, good voice actors

Nonsense style of plot will not work for everyone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Spirited Away

Studio:  Studio Ghibli

Genre(s):  Animated/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Family

Release Date(s):  July 20, 2001

MPAA Rating:  PG


Parents are messy animals…

Chihiro Ogino is forced to leave her home and friends when his father takes a new job in a different city. A stop at a strange tunnel leads Chihiro and her family into another dimension. When her parents are transformed into pigs by mystical food, Chihiro must find a way rescue them. Taking a job at a strange bathhouse, Chihiro finds herself tending to the strange guests. When the bathhouse owner Yubaba threatens the life of Chihiro’s parents, Chihro and a boy who can transform into a dragon named Haku must join together to stop Yubaba by freeing Yubaba’s child Boh from her twin sister Zeniba.


Yep, this is not terrifying whatsoever…

Written and directed by famed anime director Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away (or 千と千尋の神隠し) was heralded by critics and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The movie often is listed as “must see” movies for younger children and knocked Titanic out as Japan’s top box-office film of all time. In the United States, the film was released by Walt Disney and had the vocal talents of Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Suzanne Pleshette, Michael Chiklis, Lauren Holly, John Ratzenberger, Rodger Bumpass, and David Ogden Stiers.

Spirited Away is a great movie. The look and style of the film really are a culmination of Miyazaki’s art and borrow from his other work to bring out his style. It is combined with a great story which feels like a strange combination of classic fairy tales.


This just reminds me of Alice in Wonderland’s unbirthday party

Spirited Away feels a lot like Alice in Wonderland. I always found Wonderland scary, but a good scary. Much like Alice, Chihiro is kind of bratty at the beginning of the film. Unlike Alice, Chihiro feels changed by the end of the story. The adventures and the characters all feel like straight out of Alice in Wonderland like Yubaba and her child Boh which are reminiscent of the Duchess and her baby. The whole story plays like the nonsense genre inspired by Lewis Carroll’s work.

Children like to be scared a bit and this movie is scary in a kids’ world. Nothing bad happens in the film, but the idea of wanting to get rid of parents, but then being scared when it happens is a common theme. The creatures and enemies in the movie pose real threats to Chihiro, but the movie also has a nice reassuring feel to it that keeps a kid from being too freaked out by the story…it might just be a bit hard for them to follow on occasion.


I want to go on the Disney dragon ride!!!

As mention, the art for the film is fantastic. The characters have so much life and little details like Chihiro tapping the toes of her shoes when she puts them on to push her foot forward show great detail. The colors and style of the movie really are anime at its best.  The dustballs also show a great resemblance to the spirits in My Neighbor Totoro.

I like Spirited Away a lot…it is a fun movie and one of those rare movies I purchased before I even saw it. The reason is that I loved Princess Mononoke so much and loved Miyazaki’s art. I did not however love Spirited Away as much as Princess Mononoke, but it is a different style of film for a different audience. It can be enjoyed by all, but a younger audience will probably enjoy it more than adults.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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