Spirited Away Blu Ray|
Available for the very first time on Blu-ray the Oscar® winning visionary work of Hayao Mizayaki Spirited Away. A remarkable fantasy adventure film quite unlike any other Spirited Away tells the story of Chihiro a headstrong 10-year-old girl unhappy that her family are moving house and that she will have to make new friends. As they make their way to the new home Chihiro’s father takes a detour to explore a mysterious tunnel in the woods. On the other side is what seems to be a deserted theme park but is in fact a ghostly town. Unwittingly they have strayed into the Land of the Spirits a world of dreamlike scenery inhabited by ancient gods and magical beings ruled over by the sorceress Yubaba. With her parents held captive and Yubaba set on enslaving them forever Chihiro must use all her energy to survive in this strange new place. With the help of Haku a brave young spirit she is forced to overcome her fears and join an epic battle for her family’s freedom. With its depth and complexity the unique visuals the dream-like spectacle Spirited Away enchants both adults and children alike.from£13.30 | RRP:
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- 24 November 2014
- Hayao Miyazaki
- 124 minutes
Master animator Hayao Miyazaki directs this fantasy adventure about Chihiro, a ten-year-old girl who is leaving behind everything she knows to move with her parents to a new home. Along the way, they stumble across a tunnel that leads to a spooky, deserted open-air restaurant where Chihiro's parents sit down and begin to eat. But she is uncomfortable with their new surroundings and wanders off to explore further. She meets a boy, Haku, who explains to her that the world they have entered is a holiday resort for spirits who have left behind their exhausting earthly duties. After discovering that her greedy parents have been turned into pigs, she learns the number one rule of the new world she is now part of: laziness is not tolerated, and only working hard can enable her to break the spell on her parents. With its fantastical critique of an adult world of capitalism and wasteful consumption, entwined with the simple tale of a girl finding herself and learning to get by on her own, the film has been dubbed a modern-day 'Alice in Wonderland', and won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Average Rating for Spirited Away [Blu-ray] - 5 out of 5
(based on 1 user reviews)
Spirited Away [Blu-ray]Dave Wallace
Of all the films that I have ever seen, 'Spirited Away' is one of the ones that has touched me most deeply. A beautiful, strange and beguiling animated film from Japan's famous Studio Ghibli, its coming-of-age story deftly mixes fantasy and reality to create an adventure that is partly an allegory for a child entering the scary world of being an adult, and partly a celebration of youthful naivety and imagination in the face of grown-up dullness. Filled with memorable and original characters, it's a film that is guaranteed to stay in your mind forever, even after you've only watched it once.
To explain how it has touched me so deeply probably means revealing some of my personal history with the film. I was lucky enough to first see 'Spirited Away' at an advance cinema screening in the UK shortly before its release here in 2003, and as a result I didn't know anything about it beforehand. But as soon as I watched it, I immediately knew it was something special. I had never even seen a Studio Ghibli film before this one, so the wildly imaginative and exotic, resolutely un-western creations of legendary Ghibli writer and director Hayao Miyazaki felt fresh and new to me in the same way as landmark modern animations like 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?', 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Toy Story' felt in their day.
After seeing the film at the cinema, I immediately sought out the DVD (at that time having to import a copy, well before a UK version was available) and watched the film to death, drinking in the glorious animation and finding new subtleties and layers in the story each time I watched it. But it wasn't until later that I truly fell in love with 'Spirited Away': on a difficult night when, suffering from insomnia and nervousness after a long evening of working, and unable to switch my mind off, I decided to sit down at 3am and try to calm myself by losing myself in the world of 'Spirited Away'.
And I was transported.
The expansive world created by Miyazaki for 'Spirited Away' has its inception in the simple journey taken by a young girl, Sen, to her new home with her parents. However, when the family stop their car and discover a strange old abandoned theme park, Sen begins to be drawn into a magical world that lies just beneath the surface of her own - and as she gets sucked further into it (her parents being mysteriously transformed into pigs at this point), she discovers an entire society of strange creatures that live and work in a magical parallel universe.
But like 'Alice in Wonderland' - which surely must have been an inspiration for this story - the world of 'Spirited Away' is not all pleasant and kind. Sen is forced to work for her living in a local bath-house that is visited by a host of weird gods and monsters, all of which are magical and strange, but some of which have their own sinister agendas and secrets. Unlike many childrens' films, 'Spirited Away' is not afraid to challenge childrens' views about the world: but although the film is sometimes scary and often ambiguous, all of its darker and creepier moments inevitably lead Sen to the eventual discovery of a profound truth or a greater understanding of life, empowering her by encouraging self-education and empathy.
When it comes to filmmaking, there's a lot of talk of 'character arcs' as an important aspect of every story - which usually means a character going from point A to point B in their life, and learning something or changing somehow on the way. But not many movies give you the sense of truly going on a journey with the lead character in the way that 'Spirited Away' does. Sen truly grows into a different character by the end of this film, and unlike many lesser movies, you are truly made to feel that (sometimes difficult) transition every step of the way.
And as I sat there in the middle of the night, going on this journey of self-discovery and edification with Sen (culminating in a beautiful and moving sequence set on a train, that I won't ruin for newcomers here), I genuinely felt as though I had come out the other side of the film as a slightly different person: stronger, more confident, and more secure in my place in the world. How many films can truly move you like that?
Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that you have to have a deeply personal or profound experience like mine with this film to enjoy it. There's so much here to recommend to even a casual viewer, whether it's the visual comedy of Sen's bath-house experiences, the cuteness of many of the character designs, or the sheer sense of imagination that exudes from every pore.
But if you really invest yourself in it, you'll find that this is a powerful movie that goes far beyond the normal reach of a mere animated kids' adventure. And on Blu-Ray - with the unsurpassed picture and sound quality that makes the high-definition format such a boon for fans of hand-drawn animation (as well as the elimination of some of the defects of earlier DVD versions, such as the odd overly-red tinge that marred the visuals of many of the standard-definition releases of 'Spirited Away') - it finally has a release worthy of its greatness.
I wish I could give it six stars.
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