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Spirited Away Still Has a Chance 341

Dean Siren writes "Disney chairman Richard W. Cook says that they've budgeted to market Spirited Away in up to 1,000 North American theaters, and if the Oscars endorse it as much as Metacritic has, Disney will launch it. They'll spend the same time and money promoting Spirited Away for Academy Awards as they will Lilo & Stitch and Treasure Planet. Cook hopes that it will win not only Best Animated Film, but get nominated for Best Picture, as Beauty and the Beast got in 1991. Thanks to Jack Mathews at New York Daily News for getting Cook to explain."
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Spirited Away Still Has a Chance

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  • by radoni ( 267396 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:02PM (#4764070) the actual thing.

    this is sure to be better then the "Atlantis" stratedgy.... no wait, how about "The Lion King"....

    i really hope to see in a theatre; i enjoyed watching it at home. the almost-naturalistic take on a love story and spirit world kept me interested enough to keep watching after i took a break halfway through.

    oh wait, there's pizza to eat. i'll take a break half way through this post....

    • wasnt it already in the theatres? I saw this movie in NYC on a digital screen. (English Dub) the subtitled version was also avaliable in that theater but not at a good time for me.

      Overall i thought this was an excellent movie, I Loved the sound track, and also the sound track to Miyazaki's other movie "Princess Mononoke" I cant wait for Disney to release more enlgish Dub's of his animated films, Disney does a really good job on the english dubs. "Princess Mononoke" had an excellent voice cast.
  • excellent (Score:1, Interesting)

    by tps12 ( 105590 )
    This is a great victory for geeks everywhere. Disney has always done a good job of supporting "long shot" geek movies (Toy Story, anyone?). They have the market clout to make people see the beauty in things usually only appreciated by us geeks. If you think about it, The Sorcerer's Apprentice was sort of a prototypical hacker programming geek. The promotion of this film in competition for an Oscar is only going to help geeks of all walks of life. Hopefully, geeks on Slashdot will continue to support Disney so that we can get more of this!
    • Re:excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MisterFancypants ( 615129 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:09PM (#4764105)
      Hah hah hah! Are you on crack, son? Disney is a BUSINESS. These decisions are based on MAKING MONEY. Disney will release Spirited Away if they think they will make a significant RETURN ON INVESTMENT from doing so. Being nice to geeks doesn't even factor into the equation.
    • Disney can keel over and die for all I care, given they're the ones paying for the coninued erosion of our rights through mr Hollings.
  • yup (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:04PM (#4764082)
    step 1: advertise
    step 2: ???
    step 3: profit!

    So far they have failed at step 1, its exactly what happened to Mononoke all over again. This movie makes Country Bears [] laughable at best, why not advertise quality animations and get rid of these terrible terrible films. Oh well, so long as it comes out in DVD with both languages and subs I'll be happy in more than one way.
    • I bought that film based on reviews here.

      I was very disappointed with that film. It could have been trimmed down by 1/2 an hour (at least) which would have made the film paced better and eliminate the parts that just don't help the story.

      Based on the reviews here, I'm worried this film will be another Mononoke. I'm certainly not going to buy it this time.
  • by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:06PM (#4764093)
    Is this the "Disney is good" week? I guess last week must have been the "evil" week, but I didn't get the memo.
    • by Zorikin ( 49410 ) < minus herbivore> on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @11:14PM (#4764733)
      If Microsoft started distributing free Debian installation CDs with some percentage of copies of Windows, for whatever reason, a lot of people (read: Linux fans) would associate Microsoft with goodness.

      Those of them which were in a clearer state of mind at the time would decide that /the specific action/ which Microsoft took was good.

      This story is about a specific action Disney has taken - not Disney in general.
  • by jwiegley ( 520444 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:08PM (#4764100)
    I'm pretty unhappy that anybody made a comparison between Spirited Away and Beauty and the Beast.

    Except for both movies being presented as animation, comparing SA to BATB is like comparing gold to crap.

    Its a comparison between true visual art and typical, run-of-the-mill disney fare. Want to see BATB again? go rent The Little Mermaid.

    And let's not even begin to compare the story lines. SA is far, far more creative, deep and moving.

    • B&tB was a really decent story, up til the sell-out* conformist ending. Of course, the ending and overall flow was the same as the fairy tell, but the parts Disney added were supporting characters to add length- helpful servants and vile, closeminded peasants. This created a racial-discrimination subplot that concluded in an entirely unedifiying way.

      The White Gaulic Catholics are the bad guys, because they attack the hero after judging him solely by his appearance. So how is the situation resolved? He changes his appearance to look just like the bigots who had shunned him.

      What's the moral of the story kids? "If you're different than other people, try to change and blend in. Nobody likes a weirdo, and don't you want to be liked?"

      A better, more courageous ending would've had the Beast miss his deadline, and still live happily without that last-minute miracle.

      Shrek (an anti-Disney film in more blatant ways also) nicely reversed B&tB, by allowing the curse victim to decide that she was better off under the spell (superhuman strength trumps prettiness).

      *Yes, I feel the painful redundancy of using "sell-out" in reference to a Disney movie.
      • [spoiler alert!]

        Wondering how any given movie will end? Here it is:

        1. Hero and bad guy will engage in a fight to the death. Hero is the underdog. Bad guy might "cheat" somehow.
        2. Hero wins fight fairly, possibly even saving bad guy from certain death. Hero decides to let bad guy live, because killing bad guy would "make me just as bad as him." Nevermind that this makes no sense.
        3. After havin his life spared by hero, bad guy makes one last effort to kill hero, and ends up falling to his own death. This satisfies the viewer's need for justice without getting the hero's hands dirty.

        B&tB and the Lion King both end this way. So does Spiderman, more or less. The crappy J Lo movie "Enough" did, as did a recent Tommy Lee Jones & Judd sister movie. I now go into movies expecting them to end this way.

        Contrast this with Superman 2, in which Superman, after rendering General Zod and the gang powerless, kills Zod and watches in glee as the others die. Way to go Supes! Of course if he had a nuke-proof phantom zone handy he probably would have put them in that.

        If this is my last post ever then it is because I have pissed off the Hollywood writers mafia by revealing their secret and they are coming to get me! Good-bye everyone, I'll miss ya!

        [/spoiler alert!]

    • You can diss the BATB animated film all you want, I suppose.

      But the Beauty and the Beast is the BEST musical I've ever seen. (Although, I suppose I'm only comparing it to Phantom of the Opera in Phantages and Les Miserables on Broadway).

      I think that Into The Woods has the potential to be the Best musical of all time, but no professional production has a chorus of Trees like my high school did. And I can't think that my high school did the best performance of those songs.
  • by Cirvam ( 216911 )
    Um, would someone care to explain exactly what Spirited Away is? As far as I can figure out its some movie, an Anime judging from the icon for the story. Would someone care to explain why its such a big deal?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

      All you had to do was click the metacritic link in the story: []
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

      by enkidu ( 13673 )
      Sprited Away, Japanese title "Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi". Hayao Miyazaki created another masterpiece and one that may become his defining work. It is imaginative, beautiful, fun and touching. Don't take my word for it, it has the distinction of being the first animated film to be awarded Germany's highest award, the Golden Bear for best picture (past winners, The Thin Red Line and Sense and Sensibility. It is also the first film to gross $200 million before its release in the U.S. It is, in my opinion, the best film I've seen in two years (close behind were LOTR, Lantana, and Mulholland Drive). If you get a chance to see it, go. You won't regret it.


      • Don't take my word for it, it has the distinction of being the first animated film to be awarded Germany's highest award, the Golden Bear for best picture

        Not quite. Cinderella has been given two Berlinale awards in 1950. Back then, there apparently was no "best picture" category, but several sub-categories. Cinderella got the Golden Bear for "Best Musical" and the "Audience Poll: Grand Bronze Plate".

        Btw, the Golden Bear for Spirited Away has been highly controversial among German critics and reporters. See the archived news articles on for that.


  • How can it qualify? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unfortunateson ( 527551 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:09PM (#4764103) Journal
    Wasn't it released in a previous year in Japan? It shouldn't qualify for US Oscars, right?
    Then again, maybe it's best foreign film, best picture, best animated feature...
    • by prakashj79 ( 235807 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:42PM (#4764306)
      Wasn't it released in a previous year in Japan? It shouldn't qualify for US Oscars, right? Then again, maybe it's best foreign film, best picture, best animated feature...

      It need to run for a week at a theater in LA during the year in order to qualify -- releases in other countries etc. don't qualify.

      Life is Beautiful [], for instance was released in Dec. 1997 in Italy, but had a US release only in 1998. The movie won the best foreign film of 1998 Academy award, with the award itself presented in 1999.

  • by El Cabri ( 13930 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:10PM (#4764112) Journal
    I've had the DVD of this movie for 6 months now. I can watch it in Japanese with subtitles, while in theaters I would likely be restricted to English dubbing.
    • when its done by Suzanne Pleshette, David Ogden Stiers, Daveigh Chase...
    • The Australian release in theatres will be both subtitled and dubbed, plus the anime festival earlier this year only showed it subtitled. W00t. :D

      I do love anime on DVD, but nothing has ever beaten anime on film for me.
    • FWIW, I saw the English dub and thought the voice acting was pretty good. It wasn't the crappy monotone-or-wild-overacting stuff that one usually hears on English dubs. Not the best, but not awful, either.
    • I saw it a month or two ago -- I believe it was at the Loews Cineplex on 42nd / Times Square, but it might have been the theatre across the street. Anywho, it was in Japanese with English subs...... and the subs were pretty good.
      • It's still at the AMC acrossed the street from the Loews. I saw both the sub and the dub. I didn't like the sub. It looked like they basically scratched the words into the film. I guess I'm spoiled by fansubs.
    • by Cuthalion ( 65550 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @10:03PM (#4764417) Homepage
      I've seen it in US theatres both dubbed and subtitled, and I have to say - it's the best Anime dub I've ever seen. I marginally preferred the subtitled version, but both are excellent.

      The dub has some additional information that would be obvious to a japanese audience - for instance when she first comes to the bath house, she mutters to her self in surprise "a bath house!".
    • The point is not to hear it, but to see it. As someone else pointed out in the last story about Spirited Away, there is a lot that you are likely to miss while you are reading the subtitles. Furthermore, unless you're rich, a theatre screen is much, much bigger than your screen at home.

      Anyway, this dub is good. I was lucky enough to see it in a local art theatre with my anime club (in New Orleans), and we all had a great time. Nobody complained about the voices. I was the only one there with a complaint, and it was in regard to a couple of gratuitous dialogue adjustments - minor ones, towards the end. Those of you who have seen both versions should know what I mean.
  • I once bothered to take a look at the manga they are broadcasting over here. After torturing myself painfully for fifteen minutes while feeling something which can only be explained by a spectral force forcing two scolding-hot spiked maces into my skull through my ears and then twisting them. After some research (and recuperation) it turned out that I saw something called "Sailor Moon", dubbed in dutch, which was quite possibly the most horrible thing I ever heard. You cannot copy a line of text from japanese, to english, to dutch. It's just morally and ethically wrong.

    If anything, that event made me decide never EVER to watch manga/anime on dutch TV stations again. And never to wake up before 12:00 out of free will, either.

  • by Siriaan ( 615378 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:12PM (#4764125)
    While I'm not a big fan of the Academy Awards and disagree with much of the way it works, I think a nomination and especially a win at the Oscars for an anime film will rocket anime into even more mainstream outlets. More anime on TV, more films, more professional dubs and subs, etc. I can't think of a better way for anime to become more accepted in the west than for Spirited Away to win an Oscar.
    • Since when has being accepted in the West helped anything? =)

      I saw this at a local artsy theatre. Really, really liked it. The animation was gorgeous, both as a technical work and a work of art.

      As far as it helping the West accept anime, Pokemon and the lot have done enough damage as it is...
    • You clearly don't know how the Academy works. No film will ever be nominated for Best Picture if it has no chance of actually winning the prize. No animated film has ever won Best Picture. And this "film" (and I use that term loosely) has exactly zero chance of ever winning best picture. Ergo, it has zero chance of ever being nominated for Best Picture.
    • The Academy is incredibly conservative, bean-counterish, parochial, heavily marketed to, and occasionally gets desperate for credibility. Now, let's look at anime. Conservatism - that has to work against these weird-ass animated (kiddie) movies from Japan - but hey, some of them are violent and contain a bit of sex, so they're obviously going to Corrupt Our Children(TM). Bean-counterish - anime is relatively small beans compared to mainstream cinema (at least in the West). Heavily marketed to - as I've just said, there's much more money to be made in making sure Oscars go to English-language, mainstream stuff, particularly stuff that appeals to women (and anime, at this point, appeals more to Western men than women). Parochial? Say no more.

      Suffice to say I'm not expecting Oscars to be heading the way of anime directors any time soon.

  • by Hott of the World ( 537284 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:14PM (#4764131) Homepage Journal
    ..Spirited away [] is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, which is the same person who made Nausacaa Valley of the wind, and more recently (1997) Princess Mononoke.

    It seems to be even more captivating than Princess Mononoke, yet somewhat disney oriented as it focuses on the adventures of a ten year old named chihiro who gets "spirited away" to a magical land; separated from her parents, she struggles to find a way home.(trailer) []

    Whoah, that was a mouthful. But it seems to be a really good movie, if your looking for something more than Treasure Planet.
    • The original title is 'Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi', for those who care :-)
      It won a prize at some Berlin (Germany) festival, the Gold Bear
      I saw it in France around a year ago, and even if there were some long scenes imo, it's still a pretty darn good movie.
      Of course, some things are lost in the translation (for instance, why is Chihiro sometimes called 'Sen' isn't that easy to get if you don't know some japanese basics).
      You can also find some ecological references (river god), and things like that.

      I was in Japan in july, around the time it was released in DVD, and boy, it was totally crazy: any shop related more or less to video, anime, games, you-name-it had TVs with the DVDs / tape rolling ! (and i don't even mention related merchandise)

      All in all, a decent movie imo ^_^
  • by infonography ( 566403 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:19PM (#4764156) Homepage
    I would love to see how they plan to put a Radish Spirt toy in a happy meal. They don't care about ticket sales, they care about byproducts and aftermarket trinkets.
  • by haydon4 ( 123439 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:23PM (#4764172)
    Disney has been trying to bury quality anime movies for a long time because they know how good they are. Mirimax was only able to release Princess Mononoke to a limited number of theaters due to pressure from Disney.

    If word got out to the mainstream that animated movies from overseas could be both entertaining to children and thought provoking to adults, then it would force Disney to rework their entire development structure to change over and reinvent their formulated storylines and stereotyped characters.

    The problem for Disney here is that "Spirited Away" has people talking all over the world and even they can't keep this one quiet. So in the spirit of a multi-national corporation crushing its competition; if you can't beat them, buy them.
    That way they can show "Spirited Away" in a limited release, satisfy a few fans and wait for the buzz to die down. But it didn't work this time, so they will put more money into the release and hope this will still go away quietly.

    But I think Disney is in for a real shock here.
    • It's a great conspiracy theory, except that it's bullshit.

      Disney is the company that bought the rights to distribute Miyazaki's films in America. Not Mirimax acting independently. The theatrical releases have been under the Mirimax label because Miyizaki's contract with the Disney studio requires that his movies not be marketed as Disney films.

      I'm all for knocking big companies, but the fact is that big companies like to make money, and spending money on the rights to American distribution for a movie with the intent of killing it is not good business practice. Anime fans may not like the mainstream Hollywood perception that anime releases aren't "big-budget" enough, and they may not like it that Disney obviously buys into this and released both Mononoke and Spirited Away as art-house films. I don't like it, either, even though I'm not much of an anime fan. But that doesn't require a conspiracy.

      Reality check: these films got the same kind of promotional budget and release that other art-house films do. This is the normal pattern. Start small with very little advertising, and when a film starts to take off, pump more money pumped into them. Look at Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon--there was no more advertising for it in the first several months of its release than there was for Mononoke. (In my area, in fact, there was more advertising for Mononoke; Dragon didn't get TV ads, at least in that region, until its Oscar nomination.)

      And you know what? The fact that Mononoke made much less money wasn't a great argument for putting it into wide release. "It'd have made lots of money if only you'd opened it on three thousand screens simultaneously and spent ten million advedrtising it" is an argument that warms the heart of fans but not studio accountants.

      The level of commitment that Disney is showing by even considering a major theatre rollout for Spirited Away is much higher than I'd have expected. It's also inconsistent with the idea that they're interested in burying it--if they hadn't released it in the first place, nobody in America would be talking about it except anime fans. If you hope something "will still go away quietly," you don't start screaming about it louder.

  • by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @09:27PM (#4764204) Homepage Journal
    Disney doesn't know how to promote a movie without the usual BurgerKing/McDonalds/Target/Sears tie-ins.

    Because Disney doesn't hold the merchandising rights to the Ghibli catalog, they will never promote these movies as they should be promoted. Remember: Disney gains nothing from the success of these movies, and loses nothing if they fail.

    There is also quite a bit of Not-Invented-Here attitude that is quite apparent in what little promotion there has been.

    I was lucky enough to see Spirited Away on the big screen. My girlfriend and I went to the 7:45 PM showing on a Saturday. We were the only ones in the audience. The print looked almost new, as if the theatre hadn't been bothering to run it to an empty house. Local promotion? There was only the simple one-line listing in the newspaper. There were NO posters, one-sheets, lobby cards, stand-ups, or anything in or around the theatre. No wonder I got a private showing. Even if the general public had heard of the movie, no one would know it was playing at that theatre.

    To sum up: Disney is burying this movie, just as they did with Mononoke. It may not be entirely intentional, but it is still occuring.

  • would someone explain to me why slashdot is cheering on a disney movie? (The largely fash driven website didn't explain)
      1. Because it's a very, very good film.
      2. ...and it's not made by Disney.
      3. And, if it gets people into theater seats, perhaps it will encourage Disney to start making better animated films.
    • It's not a Disney movie. It's from Studio Ghibli in Japan and was written and directed by Hiyao Miyazaki, who also made My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Princess Mononoke among others. Disney just has the distribution rights for it in the US, and they're doing a miserably poor job of it.

      Can you imagine any other studio taking this approach with a movie? "We'll schlep it around to the art houses, and if it wins an Oscar we'll actually put some effort into marketing it." What bullshit. Yeah, that happens from time to time with movies from small production companies -- I think My Big Fat Greek Wedding is an example -- but those are sleepers; no one ever plans to market them that way. Spirited Away was the top grossing movie in Japan ever, and was almost universally praised by US critics. It deserved much more intensive marketing and much wider distribution from the start, and had it gotten those things it would almost certainly have done very, very well.

      I wonder if Disney is snapping up Ghibli titles for the same reason GM bought out the trolley lines in LA back in the '30s?

      • It's not a Disney movie. It's from Studio Ghibli in Japan

        Monsters, Inc. is not a Disney movie. It's from Pixar. So is that Nemo movie [].

        Cents from every dollar you spend on tickets to see this movie are still going to the defense of bad copyright laws such as the DMCA [] and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act [] and to lobbying for their sequels: the CBDTPA, the Broadcast Flag, the two Berman bills, and the Chastity Bono Act of 2018 that adds yet another 20 years to Mickey Mouse's copyright term.

  • I tried to see where it'd be playing around here (NYC)... entered my ZIP... the only one it came up with was some little dinky place on 12th St in Manhattan. Either it hasn't really opened yet, or the 1000 theaters mentioned in the write-up are stretched really thin.
    Not like i care much - unlike lots of people on /., if I don't like Disney, I don't like Disney. As in, won't spend my money on their profit instead of ranting and raving about how bad they are (at least while I can avoid it, being a child at heart but childless in life for the moment :)

    • A similar situation occured here in Philadelphia. The movie was showing at only two locations, the Ritz in Centre City (another dinky little place, although known to carry a lot of good non-mainstream movies) and the AMC 24 at the Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem. I got to see it at the AMC theatre; only about 10 people were present at the time, myself included.

  • "They'll spend the same time and money promoting Spirited Away for Academy Awards"

    Lets see, would this be called the Old Boys' club? Take only notice of movies developed (or promoted) by members of the Old Boys' club. Throw maybe one or two other movies in just for show. Congradulate the rest of the Old Boys for their work well done, hope to see you after another glorius profit making year.
    • "They'll spend the same time and money promoting Spirited Away for Academy Awards"

      Lets see, would this be called the Old Boys' club?

      Yeah, no shit. The "Academy" awards were once supposed to be about merit. I fail to see, in that case, how one could market or promote for the Oscars. Maybe Speilberg is right.

      This is earily similar to our current domestic political situation. If I have enough money, can I lobby for an Oscar?
  • Then [] should get you up to speed.

    Summary Poem:

    Through the tunnel,
    There was a town of wonder.
    It was an inconceivable place,
    Where inconceivable things happened.

    A world existed right next to the humans' world,
    A world humans could never see.

    Local gods and various lesser deities,
    Goblins and monsters.
    It was a hot springs town,
    Where old gods came to heal their illness and wounds.

    10 year-old Chihiro wanders into this world,
    Where humans shouldn't enter.

    Chihiro can only survive in this world if she accepts two conditions:
    To work for Yu-baaba, an avaricious witch
    Who rules the huge bath house at the center of the town.
    And to be deprived of her name and become a non-human.

    Chihiro lost her name, and began working under her new name, Sen.

    In the town of surprise and wonder, Chihiro comes to know
    A huge sense of helplessness... and a small amount of hope.

    However, in this difficult world, she discovers many things,
    And Chihiro becomes more lively than she ever was.

    Kamajii, the boiler keeper with his rich life experience.
    Rin, who teaches Chihiro the work at the bath house.
    Susuwatari, who carry coal.
    Bou, the son of Yu-baaba.
    The god of the river, a refugee from the human's world, who is covered with trash and sludge.
    Kaonashi, the masked man.
    Zeniiba, the twin sister of Yu-baaba.

    Unimaginable things keep happening.

    Chihiro's sleeping "power to live"
    Has gradually begun to awaken.

    And Chihiro meets Haku, a handsome but mysterious boy.

    The encounter of a boy and a girl, tied together by a promise.
    With awakening memories,
    They understand and help each other.

    Can Chihiro take her name back,
    And return to the humans' world....?
  • afaik so far my closest options have been Boston and NYC. As I live ~2 hours (NW Connecticut) from either, I haven't gotten the chance. I'd support a broader release.
  • ALL of his cartoons star them.

    I'm worried about him, personally....
  • Just Go See It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by divide overflow ( 599608 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @10:19PM (#4764517)

    Spirited Away is a gorgeous movie. Don't judge it by the distributor (Disney) can stand on its own. Disney made a very smart decision to back a film that, in terms of the quality, artfulness and sophistication of its animation, simply blows away most modern animated films.

    I was a bit dubious when a friend of mine told me I had to go see it, but he wouldn't stop praising it. I'm glad I went. It is visually stunning and charmingly quirky in a way I would describe as "Alice in Wonderland, Japanese-style." Miyazaki has produced a superb piece of work.
    • Before seeing it I did not hear much about the film except some mention about it on here. When I went to the theather there were a lot of kids there. Sure you saw the mom's explaining certain words situations etc, but that was fine.

      It is a great movie and like most anime's it has adults mainly as the target audience, however it is a really nice movie where even the kids can sit down an like it. My hope is that it can get released more widely so the rest of the population can see it.

      I do know however that a lot of people do not like reading subtitles. Which is a big drawback because watching the movie in it's original Japanese language is what helps this movie even more.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @10:53PM (#4764665)
    Spirited Away has nothing to do with Disney, other than the advertising. It's an anime film, and is therefore a lot closer to Princess Monononke (you've seen it or at least heard about it, right?) or even Ghost in the Shell (you've heard about THAT one).

    I saw it a couple of weeks ago in theatres, and I was definitely glad I did. Something like half the people here would probably not "get" it and walk from the theatre disappointed, but it was an incredible display of imagination, beautiful animation, and the most refreshing break from Hollywood crap since... well... since a long time. I enjoyed it a lot more than Princess Mononoke, as well.

    About the closest analogy I can find, without discussing the plot and characters, is "Alice in Wonderland". If you think Alice in Wonderland's stupid, or if you just don't get it, you won't like this. (and this movie, like Alice in Wonderland, can be enjoyed by kids - but it can be enjoyed by adults even more).
  • by bujoojoo ( 161227 ) on Tuesday November 26, 2002 @11:26PM (#4764783)
    Where are the hot anime chicks with the flaming hair-dos and swords? Huh? What about the some bad ass spaceships and mechs? What about VAMPIRES, HUH? NOT ONE FUCKING VAMPIRE!

    And to top it off, there is no obligitory $OBJECT blowing up in a slow motion 6 frame sequence...

    Anime, my ass...
  • My Kids Saw It (Score:3, Interesting)

    by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Wednesday November 27, 2002 @12:42AM (#4765089)
    I was simply bown away watching a 4,5 and 6 year old glued to the screen for the entire movie. No potty breaks and no wandering minds. Hell, my oldest probably caught only 10% of the subtitles.
  • The problem with judging Spirited Away alongside this year's stock of American films is the lack of knowledge of the symbolism/references in the anime which are foreign and unrecognized in American culture. I hope the judges do their homework, which may enable them to realize the full brilliance of the movie. Also, Spirited Away helps us familiarize ourselves a bit more with the mentality of Japanese society. While it may be as magical as Alice in Wonderland there are plenty of differences between Alice's Wonderland and Chihiro's Wonderland. I, for one, appreciated seeing a "spirit house", let alone the huge, very important bathhouse operation.
  • Tale as old as time
    Song as old as rhyme
    Lady and the Tramp
  • It's a great movie (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mattr ( 78516 ) <> on Wednesday November 27, 2002 @02:32AM (#4765469) Homepage Journal
    Just to say it is a wonder film and you can take your entire family to see it over and over again. Maybe a couple parts could be a little scary for very young children but nothing like what gets by as entertainment for that age group in the U.S. these days.

    The story's focus on Disney is completely idiotic. Focus on the company that made the film, not the one that succeeded in getting it after ripping off or destroying as much Japanese anime as it could up to now.

    I don't know how the voiceovers are in English. If possible, see the Japanese version with subtitles as well some time, it is quite impressive. Of course Hayao Miyazaki's work is all fabulous. Check out Laputa!

    P.S. There is a book of Spirited Away as well, in English I believe. And in convenience stores they also sell segments of the movie as gorgeous shot-by-shot full color glossy manga books. Lots of Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro) stuff. I believe there is a shop in New York that handles tons of Japanese anime related stuff downtown.

    Incidentally the name Sen to Chihiro refers to her name being stolen (I won't say by whom). The only character left can be read as Sen as well as Chi. Sen means a thousand.

  • by Sw0rdfiche ( 587944 ) on Wednesday November 27, 2002 @02:40AM (#4765497) Homepage Journal
    I've sen "Spirited Away" on a large screen twice now. The film is so rich that, like all good art, it gets better with more study. Beyond the story, the incidental artwork in so many of the scenes is breath taking. I am looking forward to the DVD so I can actually freeze frames and just look more closely at the landscapes, the interior sets, the tapestries, etc. My feeling is that Disney is completely outclassed by this work. They [Disney] are intellectualy bankrupt. If they can use their influence and ample cash reserves to promote something of this quality, I am all for it. My only hope is they do not lock the artist up in a Disney contract for a string of pictures that reflects their dead end concepts of "product." A clear example of this "opportunity" is the Jackie Chan deal. His Disney funded movies are TERRIBLE! They all have that lame "written by committee running a formula" feel. If they want to promote the work, fine. If they need to CONTROL FUTURE CONTENT, we could be screwed.
  • I was lucky enough to see one of the screenings Disney did at their El Capitan theater in Hollywood in Japanese with subtitles. I remember there was a HUGE line out the theater and there was a sign when we came out saying due to popular demand, they had added another subtitled show that night. Cool, huh? I don't give Disney any credit in this except they brought good anime to America and to a wider audience.

    And I still can't get the music to the movie out of my head...Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away definitely rate on my all time favorites list.
  • All of Disney's recent outings have been flops. If it wasn't for Pixar, they'd have sunk by now. Unfortunately for Disney, they only have the rights to a couple more movies from Pixar before that contract ends.

    Disney must be looking for another cash cow and Japan seems like the best place to start searching.
    • Fortunately not. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MtViewGuy ( 197597 )
      I think 2002 will be a much better year for Disney animated features.

      Lilo & Stitch did good business at the box office and was very well-received by critics; it appears that Treasure Planet may do this also. It appears that Disney has learned from the horrid experiences of The Emperor's New Groove, Dinosaur and Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and the upper management kept pretty much hands-off on this year's feature releases.
  • by billtom ( 126004 ) on Wednesday November 27, 2002 @09:32AM (#4766545)

    About the idea of Spirited Away being nominated for best picture, won't happen. The new category of best animated picture was created by the MPA specifically so that animated movies wouldn't be nominated for the best picture award.
  • I'm in Mexico, and while I'm wuite fluent in English, I'd obviously love to be able to share this movie whit my wife/family/friends who are not. Is there any way I can get it on DVD with Spanish subtitles? DVD region is not a problem, and neither is price (within reason).
    Thanks for any pointers...
  • ...for a children's movie?

    This was a classic movie-for-kids that Disney has been marketing well for decades. They knew fully well it should not have been released in the art houses. When I saw it there wasn't a single child in the audience.

    The dub was great. They re-synched the mouths to the English words. Could have been a breakthrough movie for Disney. They screwed it up and promoted the heck out of "Lilo and Stitch," a stinker based on "The Ugly Duckling" with five good jokes.

    I just hope "Treasure Planet" is as good as it looks, not as bad as these morons keep trying to make their movies.

    My protest: I'm going to see "Solaris" instead of "Treasure Planet" today.

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault