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Reviews Comments: I'm sorry. Spirited Away film/book review by lyralio

When you're a 14 year-old anime fan, and you hear that an Anime movie has won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, followed by an insane amount of hype, you can't help but feel a little excited. You watch the trailer, and think: "Wow, this must be amazing! I can't wait to see it!" A few years later, you finally get to watch it. It... doesn't hold up. ...This was supposed to be an awesome movie, right? Then why do you feel like you've been cheated? You rent it, and watch it again - twice. Maybe you just didn't "get it" the first time around. ...But no. You don't get anything from the experience but an empty void. There was something there, but it was so vague and lost within itself it just evaporated before you could grasp it. The story is thin, most characters are either pointless or plot devices, and, to top it off, the ending (before the credits, I mean) is a downer.

It is with my deepest sorrow, thus, that I state: I hate Spirited Away with a passion.

Okay, granted, part of my hatred for this movie might come from all the hype thrown at it. I just don't think it lives up to it, outside of its artistic value, but people seem intent on simply not finding any flaws in it, just endlessly praising it to the ends of the Earth. It probably doesn't help that I found out it was up against Disney's Lilo And Stitch and Treasure Planet for the Oscar. Pixar wasn't in the competition that year, so it was the one chance Disney had at the Best Animated Feature award. One chance, two movies, both good, and both movies lost. To this. Don't get me wrong, I do understand some of the praise it gets. The animation is brillliant, the setting is interesting to look at (like I said, artistic value), and some of the characters are fun to watch, and, heck, if you don't feel at least a little for Chihiro, you have no freaking heart. And yes, it does have some good parts, and a good underlying, basic karma-centric message: be good to people, endure through harsh times, and you'll eventually be rewarded at the end. That's all good, but it takes too long to get there, and most of it feels like void padding.

I really wanted to like this movie, but I can't - it's just not for me, I guess. Nothing's perfect, including this movie. I just wish not as many people pretended it was.


  • spambot
  • 12th Jul 11
I liked Lilo and Stitch over Spirited Away too. Spirited Away was supposed to follow Chihiro's development from a whiny brat to her more mature self at the end, but a lot of the scenes were like sidey plot cul-de-sacs that really could have been cut out. Felt kind of bloated to me. Definitely not as thematically tight as, say, Mononoke.

And I know it was made in 2000, but the cgi wall of flowers she runs through was just... yeah.
  • DavidtheMouse14
  • 30th Jul 11
Really, this wasn't much of a review all I got from this review is whining and complaining about why your preferred movie didn't win.And constant mention of the hype.
  • Lyralio
  • 19th Dec 11
@spambot: You don't know how refreshing it is to hear that.

@Davidthe Mouse: Well, to be honest, I openly admit I was way too fixed on those points and should've talked more about the movie proper. If it's worth anything, I confess I didn't even feel right after posting it. The thing is, I had been with a bunch of big-time fans of the movie not long before I wrote this, so I was just pretty much boiling with bile over them panning my opinions pretty much on just the grounds of "The movie's effin' PERFECT! WTF is wrong with you??" rather than, you know, actually discussing them. Nonetheless, I broke one of the rules for writing a good review: don't write when in a shitty mood. And for that, I apologize. I promise if I ever review anything on this site again, whether I like it or not, it'll be with a clear head. No hard feelings, I hope...
  • kay4today
  • 19th Dec 11
You don't have to apologize for disliking the movie.
  • eveil
  • 19th Dec 11
You don't have to apologize for having a different opinion than the majority.
  • kay4today
  • 20th Dec 11
That too.
  • lacusness
  • 24th Dec 11
I found an old DVD of Spirited Away in my cabinet last year, and watched it.I never knew Spirited Away was hyped. So, the hype stuff didn't affect me. I liked it. The only thing I see here is you complaining the movie being hyped up.
  • Kaizoku20
  • 24th Dec 11
You really need to expand on the few points against the movie you say you have. How are the characters "pointless" or "plot devices"? How is the ending a "downer"? All I hear is Hype Backlash: The Review.
  • PrinterThorn
  • 26th Dec 11
Honestly, I prefer Spirited Away over the other two. I like its atmosphere. I like how it's an original concept. I like stories where there's no real antagonist and everybody is just living the way they can. With that said, it's not my favorite of Miyazaki's movies, but I still really like it.
  • KachinoOkimane
  • 11th Jan 12
Lordy. First of all, while not originally Disney, they do dub and distribute all of Ghibli's movies in America, so at least get that right.

Second, where did you live that this got hyped at all? I only knew because I was already a Ghibli fan, other than that, it almost didn't exist where I live. No Ghibli movies are known over here. Except Ponyo, but that was hyped for the 2 siblings of some tweeny "Stars"...

While I'll leave this alone because I know people have diverse opinions, I'm gonna have to agree with the 2nd comment up from mine. You should at least explain the exact details on those points.

  • Lydia777
  • 1st Aug 12
I think I was too young to understand the hype of it when mom popped the DVD in for the first time. I was in constant awe of the animation and story. Maybe you have to be really young to experience it and then as you get older, it becomes classic nostalgia filter?

It is a really good movie, though. But it's your opinion, so no hard feelings.
  • Tuckerscreator
  • 1st Aug 12
I think Spirited Away is a little overrated, but I see no reason to hate it. It'd be better to explain why it's not good or why you dislike it, since I can't find why in your review.
  • RockLeeYourFace
  • 2nd Aug 12
Try watching it again when you're older (that's not an insult). I didn't see much in the movie until I saw it again when I was 17, and it had a lot more meaning to me then. Just a thought.
  • marcellX
  • 3rd Aug 12
I hate it because it got an Oscar instead of a Disney movie, I hate it because I of other people's opinion of it.
  • RobbieRotten
  • 15th Mar 13
". Nothing's perfect, including this movie. I just wish not as many people pretended it was."

it's their opinion, dude. if they think it's perfect, they are not pretending. that is how they see it. i think many pixar films are perfect, but many people have shown flaws they find with it. doesn't mean i'm crazy, i just don't think of the flaws as flaw, cuz i'n different.

  • TheMoiderah
  • 24th Mar 13

This isn't a review. This is whining. Fuck off, and learn how to critique properly.
  • kay4today
  • 24th Mar 13
Thank you for sharing this extremely valuable comment with us, good sir!
  • Teraus
  • 30th Mar 13
I think I missed the part where you actually criticized the movie.
  • MrMallard
  • 31st Mar 13
"The message was good, but most of the film felt like padding."

It does, by the way. I chose to just immerse myself in the fantasy, but people view fiction differently - and storywise, I understand that Treasure Planet stuck to its storyline better than Spirited Away (But the story was fleshed out decades before, so you can't really deviate and play with the settings much like Spirited Away).

The review is 2 years old, guys. Robbie Rotten mistakenly necro'd it, no need to Tumblr it up and start swearing at the OP (*COUGHCOUGHTHEMOIDERAHCOUGHCOUGH*). It's old, it's not the best written review (but hey - considering some other reviews on TV Tropes, this isn't too bad) and I reckon y'all should just let it die already.
  • warner14
  • 1st Nov 14
I'm glad you liked some aspects of this movie but my problem with this review is that it more feels like a rant than a review and I feel that the hype complaint is a terrible reason to hate the movie. Also, it's you who doesn't like said film (I like said film for various reasons), not your audience reading the review. Quit assuming what your audience thinks with 'It's you who feels cheated' when in reality, most people I know like the movie for various reasons. I don't think any piece of media is perfect (the opposite would be bullshit) but I honestly think the film is admirable.

It's fine to not like the movie but just because you feel the way you do about the movie, it doesn't make it truth and I know you didn't say it but you did off this impression to me. That's something I can't stand with most critics and some outright piss me off for various reasons and think they could be better worded. I also think some of your points could have been elaborated on a bit more to have a better understanding of why you don't like the film.

I didn't like the review and I would appreciate it if you were to follow my criticisms next time to improve.
  • TT454
  • 1st Nov 14
The Moiderah, you're the butthurt one. You got so butthurt that you had to do an all-caps "impression" of the reviewer, because he or she hated on something you like. Lol.
  • Bastard1
  • 1st Nov 14
Don't be. I don't like it either.
  • DisneyVillain
  • 17th Dec 14
Don't worry about not liking the movie. Everyone has at least one good movie or television show they don't like.
  • catmuto
  • 4th Mar 15
I don't recall much hype about Spirited Away, though I do know that an old classmate of mine voices Chihiro in the German version. Not that I care much, I generally watch it in Japanese, anyway.

The art is nice and, I think, aside from maybe Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away is like the other Miyazaki movies I watched: an entertaining enough story, but nothing really in it that is a huge climax. (Howl's Castle had a war going, but honestly, it was more in the background) I think the movie more goes for the emotional aspect and the art.

I don't see why it would be hyped a lot (did someone really famous and popular voice the English cast?) it's not a bad movie, but it's certainly not amazing.

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