A wildly imaginative fantasy with personal and universal appeal — tells the story of Chihiro. Upon stumbling into a magical world for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm, she learns that she must work there to set herself free.
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You need to see it as a kid and an adult to fully appreciate it, I think. I first saw it at 8. I found it scary, but fascinating. It filled me with a desire to explore and learn; I wanted to understand what baffled me, conquer it. It speaks to me in a very different (yet complimentary) way at 22. Sen's terror in the face of overwhelming responsibility, and yearning for a younger, simpler self, touched me deeply.
Not sure why it took me so long to jump on the Myazaki train but I'm glad I did. Watching Spirited Away I kept thinking about Eisenstein's thoughts on Disney and animation where he compared animation to fire on the basis of its infinite changeability. Miyazaki's knack for abstractions and changeability is precisely what I'd say makes him the most innovative filmmakers working today. Masterpiece.
I loved the creativity and thought that was put into this film. I just believe it could have been more focused. There are perhaps too many objects and locations that are so disparate its hard to tie together. Perhaps that was Miyazaki's intention though: a sprawling, spirited journey.