Ten-year-old girl, Chihiro, is travelling with her parents to their new home. This doesn’t quite go to plan, however, as they get lost and accidentally enter a magical world in which Chihiro’s parents become human-sized pigs that can’t stop eating.
To make matters worse, Chihiro is told by a young boy named Haku that their only hope of returning to normal is to cross a river before sunset. This proves impossible, however, as the river is completely flooded and the youngster and her family are thus trapped in this weird land. Chihiro must not forget her true name after a witch named Yubaba renames her ‘Sen’. The witch’s sorcery controls people and forces them to stay in the spirit world.
Spirited Away could be considered Hayao Miyazaki’s version of Alice in Wonderland, owing to similarities shared by the iconic book and its filmic adaptations; but this production has a special magical touch that only a genius like Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli can deliver. It’s little wonder that the film was able to go beyond Japan’s frontiers and break into the international markets, even earning an Academy Award for Best Animated Film.
Spirited Away is simply beautiful and flawless in every single frame, with outstanding art-direction, fluid animation and a script that hooks viewers from the first minute in. A special mention must be made of Joe Hisaishi’s soundtrack, which is a piece of art in its own right.
The Blu-ray re-release of Spirited Away includes extras that are to die for, starting with The Making of the film, (in which Miyazaki himself explains the whole animation, pre and post production processes), alternate angle storyboards that give us a hint about how some iconic scenes were originally planned, a look at the English voice cast (we strongly suggest that you watch the film in Japanese with English subtitles), Trailers and TV spots; and an intro from Disney/Pixar’s John Lasseter where he shares his love for the film.