Words by Benjamin Pinsent
‘Spirited Away’ (2001) is considered to be the main reason why anyone knows anything about ‘Studio Ghibli’. But why is this film the one that broke the ground more so than any other ‘Ghibli’ film?
The style and character design remain consistent to the Ghibli aesthetic: weird creatures populate painted landscapes. All the art is beautifully realised, as it is in any other film by Hayao Miyazaki. This coupled with the exquisite music makes this film a joy to see and listen to.
What is striking about the film is that the main character Chihiro is not a Hollywood child, i.e. a smart talking little adult, but a real child who has character flaws. She is selfish, lazy and cowardly and it is through the events of the film she grows up to be more mature. Another great character is No-Face, a character with almost no dialogue or facial expression but like Wall-e he is able to do so much with so little.
The reason for the major publicity is mainly thanks to John Lassiter (co-founder of ‘Pixar’). He convinced ‘Disney’ to pick up the dubbing license for the film and consequently any other release
. But though this may have given us a great film and animation company ‘Disney’ are perhaps the worst thing about the film; over dubbing dialogue with too many “ohs” and “ahs” and their choice of voice actors sometimes lets down the film as a voice will not fit a character model.
But, apart from that this is a must see for fans of film and animation a like.