Studio/Creator: Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki
Distributor: Buena Vista/Disney
Running Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Suggested Age: 7+ (MPAA: PG)
My Rating: 10/10
Summary: When Chihiro’s family moves away, they decide to take a shortcut, not knowing it’s actually a gateway to the spirit world. Chihiro must find a way to get home.
Review: I’ve heard that there’s debate whether this movie or Princess Mononoke as Miyazaki’s magnum opus. I’ll admit I have a hard time deciding myself. The animation is truly breathtaking in its detail (take that scene in the covered bridge for instance). Oh and fans of My Neighbor Totoro will recognize the soot gremlins! I have watched this movie several times and at times, I’ll just stare at it because I’m that awestruck. I should also point out that John Lassiter, CEO of Pixar, has said this is his favorite Miyazaki movie.
Chihiro is an excellent heroine. I could totally identify with her because my family moved around quite a bit when I was a kid too. I also liked how much she grew from a bratty kid to a truly heroic, loving girl.
I also liked Haku, the mysterious boy who is both her protector and guide. He’s like a guardian spirit and I like how warm he is toward Chihiro.
This is truly a great movie for all ages. The children will appreciate the beauty and the story, and so will the adults.
Sub/Dub: While I think the original cast is good, I like the dub better. Daveigh Chase, who plays Chihiro, is excellent and conveys her emotions well (you may recognize her as Lilo from Lilo and Stitch.
Music/Score: Joe Hisashi does an excellent score. In fact, this is my favorite music he did.
Violence (1/10) Just some fantasy-based violence.
Religion (3/10) I guess I have to bring this up. The story is rooted in Shintoism. Not only that, but magic is largely part of the environment. I feel that the story is really like a fairy tale. In fact, it’s Chihiro’s own goodness that saves her family. The who story is a test of her character.