Overrated but undeniably masterful.
JTurner - wrote on 05/31/09
With SPIRITED AWAY, Hayao Miyazaki made a major breakthrough not in just Japan, but in many other countries around the world. In fact, it acquired the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2002. Consequently, Disney has since released Miyazaki's output on DVD. However, while SPIRITED AWAY is an absolutely amazing animated feature worthy of five-star status, I wouldn't say it's Miyazaki's greatest feature ever. This surrealistic yet engaging story of a young girl struggling to free her parents from the curse of a greedy enchantress sometimes gets more hype than it deserves; it almost feels as if Ghibli's other works are compared unfavorably to this film. My personal gripe aside, SPIRITED AWAY is worth watching for its mesmerizing visuals and subtle, yet strong messages about simplicity and charm preferable to greed and consumption. Speaking for the English version, the cast does a very credible job with their characters, Suzanne Pleshette coming off best. However, Daveigh Chase as young Chihiro comes across as too high-pitched for my ears to handle. Even still, it's another top-quality English track from Disney. And if purists are unwilling to give even this highly-acclaimed dub a chance, there's always the Japanese version.