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.
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