Chihiro and her family are on their way to their new house in the suburbs, on their way, they stumble upon a tunnel that leads them into a fantasy world full of ghosts, and strange creatures.
Chihiro and her parents are moving house. But her father takes a wrong turn, and they wind up in a mysterious place that at first seems like an abandoned theme park. While her parents begin to gorge on food they find in a restaurant - with dire results - Chihiro explores - and, despite the warnings of Haku, a teenage boy, finds herself trapped in a strange palace inhabited by some very weird creatures - the palace is apparently a resting place for 80 million spirits and it's managed by the witch-like Yubaba who has an evil twin, Zeniba. Chihiro's adventures get curiouser and curiouser.
This extremely accomplished animation film from Japan owes a great deal to Lewis Carroll, like Alice in Wonderland, Chihiro's mysterious adventures take her, and us, into a strange parallel universe. Writer-director Hayao Miyazaki, who previously made the impressive Princess Mononoke, has created a wonderfully bizarre world filled with a gallery of creepy, and some not so-creepy, characters. The visual design is extremely rich, and the level of invention prodigious - every element of the film, the storyboard, the animation, the music - is testimony to a considerable talent. You can see the film either in the original Japanese version, at a very limited number of city cinemas, or in the American dubbed version (as we've shown you tonight) - I saw the original version, and that's the one I'd recommend. It's not a film for very small children, and the Japanese flavour should, if possible, be maintained.
Watch 'Spirited Away'
Thursday 13 August, 5:05pm on SBS World Movies
Friday 14 August, 6:40am on SBS World Movies
Saturday 15 August, 2:00pm on SBS World Movies
Genre: Family, Adventure, Animation
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring (voice cast): Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino