BloodBoal

The Hayao Miyazaki Retrospective Thread

Recommended Posts

Princess Mononoke is great. One of my favorite things about it is how balanced it is between the opposing sides. The industrialists aren't depicted scenery chewing, mecha-knife wielding lunatics. They have a clear and understandable motivation, even if what they're doing isn't the right thing.

In regards to the dub, I turned it off after 5 minutes or so. Despite the A-list cast, everything came off as really hammy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh wait, I'm forgetting that the Ponyo ending song (the first half) WAS in fact performed by their US voice actors and released separately from the movie on ITunes. Actually, there's two different cuts of that. First is just the song from the credits as is, but then there's an absolutely HIDEOUS techno rap version that unfortunately is tacked onto the second half of the closing credits in the dub of Ponyo.

Whaaaa? Seriously? Wow.

Princess Mononoke is great. One of my favorite things about it is how balanced it is between the opposing sides. The industrialists aren't depicted scenery chewing, mecha-knife wielding lunatics. They have a clear and understandable motivation, even if what they're doing isn't the right thing.

Yep. That's one of the strengths of the film. Really like that.

In regards to the dub, I turned it off after 5 minutes or so. Despite the A-list cast, everything came off as really hammy.

Having heard bits and pieces of the dub, I have to agree. Didn't like it at all.

By the way, I'm still waiting for you to watch Miyazaki's other films and share your thoughts on them. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I had no problem with the running time, I certainly can understand that complaint. Not only is the film lengthy, but there's also a lot happening in it, which can be a bit overwhelming. Still, is that the only reason why it's your least favourite?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, I'm still waiting for you to watch Miyazaki's other films and share your thoughts on them. ;)

It'll happen soon enough. Perhaps in January-April to cure my January-April blues.

Also, coincidentally, The AV Club just released an article about the "villain" of Princess Monononoke. Goddamn plagiarists... :stick:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This will sound strange, but my opinion about the Princess Mononoke dub is the complete opposite. I consider it one of the finest dubs made. The real reason being is because of Neil Gaiman's translation. The man clearly put a lot of time and effort into making sure the script flowed smoothly without going too far from Miyazaki's intentions.

I also liked Billy Crudup, Minnie Driver, and even Billy Bob Thornton in their roles. Eccentric though the latter may have been, there was something about his performance that added to the character of Jigo. I HAVE sampled the Japanese version one time, and personally I think it's no better or worse than Disney's dub, only different. Having said that, I think Gillian Anderson is far and away better than the voice for Moro on the Japanese version. It's interesting to hear the differences between the two, but Anderson's performance gives me the impression of a chilly, stern mother with an edge that the Japanese version lacks. And Keith David is just awesome as the narrator and Okkoto. (Yes, they had a brief narration at the beginning of the movie, and honestly, I think it works.) Underused though he may have been, his presence is nothing but a great asset.

Claire Danes as San is probably the only minor weak link; she's decent for the most part, but there are a couple of missed lines.

I honestly don't see anything about this dub that is "hammy" in any way; as far as I'm concerned, it fits the tone of the movie fine.

All in all, though, I consider Mononoke to be a very fine dub, and for a 1999 production it was considered one of the best dubs. I think it's held up considerably well. Honestly, I can't watch this movie in Japanese or ANY of the other Ghiblis. I recognize that there are some who prefer it that way and that's understandable. But if I feel that the dubs were done with obvious care and time as these are, then who am I to turn up my nose and call it a "lesser" way to see the movie. If Miyazaki was OK with it, then why should I say otherwise? I certainly prefer my Anime in English, even though I DO recognize when there is a bad dub. But the Ghibli movies, IMO, aren't among them. Of course your mileage may vary, but as far as I'm concerned, Disney and Miramax have both done a very fine job dubbing them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I had no problem with the running time, I certainly can understand that complaint. Not only is the film lengthy, but there's also a lot happening in it, which can be a bit overwhelming. Still, is that the only reason why it's your least favourite?

It's ONE of my least favourites. But, yes that's the main reason. And like what you said: a lot is going on that it feels even longer that it is! Both times I watched it I thought it would never end!

My least favourite Ghibli is My Neighbors the Yamadas because I don't like the artistic style and i don't like comedies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's ONE of my least favourites. But, yes that's the main reason. And like what you said: a lot is going on that it feels even longer that it is! Both times I watched it I thought it would never end!

Bah! You just can't appreciate greatness! :pfft:

My least favourite Ghibli is My Neighbors the Yamadas because I don't like the artistic style and i don't like comedies.

Yeah, I'm not a fan of that art style, either (haven't watched the film, but I've seen a few stills from it).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

P.S.: I read that Miyazaki considered doing a sequel to Porco Rosso a few years ago. Hasn't happened yet, will most likely never happen now, and honestly, I don't have a problem with that. This film doesn't need a sequel. None of Miyazaki's films do, really, apart from Nausicaä maybe (and even then, there's not much left to say).

Well, if the book is any indication, there was indeed more story to Nausicaa. They wouldn't have made into movies though.

That said really like the atmosphere of the movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Nausicaa movie is pretty much an adaptation of the first two volumes of Miyazaki's own comic book (the ones he had done at that point).

Yeah, I know that, I mentioned it in my review for the film. ;)

My statement ("there's nothing much left to say") is in regards to the way the movie wraps up the story. From what I've read here and there, the film is a loose adaptation of the first two volumes of the manga: basically, the ending of the film doesn't correspond to the ending of volume two. They came up with some sort of an ending to wrap up the story of the film (at the end of it, the conflict is resolved), whereas at the end of volume two, the story is far from over. So, if you take in consideration only the film, there's not much left for a sequel to explore.

P.S.: It's good to have you back! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

20110426100356-NzMxNDQy.jpg

Porco Rosso

Well, I guess this is the first one I didn't outright love. It's unfortunate, because it had as much potential as the others! I had seen it before, but as it turns out I remembered so little. it was like seeing it for the first time.

I loved the setup. You've got this pig (well, human with a pig face) flying a fighter plane, saving people from air pirates in the open seas in 1930s Europe. How can anything go wrong? Well, nothing does for a long while! I love the opening, with Porco listening to the radio on his private beach, and deciding to take flight. Good first air battle against the pirates! The children interacting with the pirates and then Porco was gold! I loved all the setup that follows, as Porco goes to the hotel where the pirates are meeting and Curtis shows up. You got funny dialogue with the pirates, the pompousness of Curtis, and then the great introduction of Gina, her interaction with everyone, then the great scene with her and Porco upstairs.

This is followed by another good aerial battle, with a really nicely drawn ending as Curtis thinks he has shot down Porco, and we start act 2 with Proco hiding in Milan, repairing his fighter. This section was fantastic, with the great character of Mr. Piccolo, who was really funny and original. I loved when his whole family came in to help with the rebuild! I was wondering when the classic Miyazaki old lady would show up :) Around this time I realized that I was watching the first Miyazaki movie since Cagliostro with a male main character; That was probably because when Piccolo's granddaughter Fio shows up, I realized she was the stereotypical Miyazaki lead girl :)

Porco and Fio taking off together was great, but then the film finally stumbles when it has to have its third act. With Nausicaa and Castle in the Sky, I liked their third acts alot, those movies were very solid through and through. With Totoro and Kiki, Miyazaki did something interesting where there was basically little to no third act - he focused almost the whole movie lengths on character building in 2 prolonged acts, and just kind of has a rushed climax to end it all. But it worked in those movies. Here, he follows more of a traditional 3 act structure, but something about it didn't get for me. The air fight between Porco and Curtis seemed too long, and then the fist fight seemed too... weird. The fact that they were fighting over who gets to marry Fio was strange, and just the whole sidelining of the great pirate characters for the most part. I didn't care for the quick wrap-up either; I loved when a similar thing was done for Kiki, but this one wasn't as successful I thought.

Another thing I found odd was the whole Porco human thing. When the movie started and we're introduced to him, I kinda thought it was would just be one of those things that never gets explained, and I would have been fine with it. But then in the Porco/Gina dinner scene, she mentioned that he got turned into a pig via a curse. So now it seemed like there was a little backstory / mystery going on and it would be explained.... and I guess it kinda was, but not satisfactorily to me. The flashback that explains it was actual beautiful to look at, I loved the sequence in and of itself, but it didn't gel with the rest of the movie and seemed kind of shoe-horned in. I dunno.

I loved Hisaishi's score! I noticed a lot of really nice moments. Gotta check these scores out outside the films soon. The Disney English dub was again excellent. Michael Keaton was really good as Porco, and changed his voice nicely (subtlety) for the Marco flashback. Cary Elwes was a nice slimy/arrogant Curtis, and David Ogden Stiers was really great as Mr. Piccolo. Brad Garret was good as the pirate leader, and I don't know who Susan Egan is, but she was fine as Gina.

I hope to watch Princess Mononoke real soon! Hopefully BB can hold off on talking about Spirited Away until I do :)

So my ranking now would be:

1. Nausciaa
2. My Neighbor Totoro
3. Castle In The Sky
4. Kiki's Delivery Service
5. Castle of Cagliostro
6. Porco Rosso
PR2.gif
porcorosso_grandpa.gif
porcorosso_gang.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Porco and Fio taking off together was great, but then the film finally stumbles when it has to have its third act. With Nausicaa and Castle in the Sky, I liked their third acts alot, those movies were very solid through and through. With Totoro and Kiki, Miyazaki did something interesting where there was basically little to no third act - he focused almost the whole movie lengths on character building in 2 prolonged acts, and just kind of has a rushed climax to end it all. But it worked in those movies. Here, he follows more of a traditional 3 act structure, but something about it didn't get for me. The air fight between Porco and Curtis seemed too long, and then the fist fight seemed too... weird. The fact that they were fighting over who gets to marry Fio was strange, and just the whole sidelining of the great pirate characters for the most part. I didn't care for the quick wrap-up either; I loved when a similar thing was done for Kiki, but this one wasn't as successful I thought.

I think the third act of Porco Rosso was one of the most satisfying in a Miyazaki film. The third act in his movies generally feel forced, just to follow the convention that says that a film needs to have a climax, but here, there's actually a build-up to that third act, there's a natural progression to it. And yeah, maybe it's a tad overlong and I agree that the fist fight felt a bit weird for some reason I can't explain, but still: that climax felt better integrated into the story than the previous ones.

Another thing I found odd was the whole Porco human thing. When the movie started and we're introduced to him, I kinda thought it was would just be one of those things that never gets explained, and I would have been fine with it. But then in the Porco/Gina dinner scene, she mentioned that he got turned into a pig via a curse. So now it seemed like there was a little backstory / mystery going on and it would be explained.... and I guess it kinda was, but not satisfactorily to me. The flashback that explains it was actual beautiful to look at, I loved the sequence in and of itself, but it didn't gel with the rest of the movie and seemed kind of shoe-horned in. I dunno.

I thought it was fine. It revealed just enough to make us understand what happened without spelling it out clearly. That wasn't a problem for me!

I loved Hisaishi's score!

Funny. It's the second time you say that for a Miyazaki film where I found Hisaishi's music to be just OK. Great minds do no think alike, I suppose... ;)

I hope to watch Princess Mononoke real soon! Hopefully BB can hold off on talking about Spirited Away until I do :)

I was actually about to post my review, so damn you! :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My opinion on Hisaishi's scores could all change when I listen to them outside the film. Since I'm watching these films now either for the first time or for the first time in a decade, I'm focusing all my attention on the movie itself and can't really dedicate a lot of "brain power" to the score.

Back to Porco, you may have mentioned this - I haven't read your review yet, but it was interesting how "adult" the film was. I mean, you have the main character smoking and drinking. And there was a lot of odd dialogue concerning 17 year old Fio. Mr. Piccolo keeps telling Porco to keep his hands off her, the adult American pilot wannabe actor wants to marry her.... kind of odd. Maybe its a Japanese thing?


OK, read your review now. Agreed about the cool typewriter opening. Love all the languages present, and how a few of them needed extra characters at the end the rest didn't.

And yes, the whole opening sequence is probably the best part of the film, and sets up almost a different film than the one we get.

Just read a bit about the film on wikipedia. Interestingly, even though it was a short expanded into feature length, it didn't FEEL it the way Totoro and Kiki did, probably because it had a traditional 3 act structure, and it slowed town and took its time in the whole middle section.

Interesting that its the first film basically set in actual real location and time, with practically no fantasy elements. In fact if Marco was human the whole time, there wouldn't be any!

A sequel... I dunno why out of all the films he'd choose this one, other than his love of aviation. Seems like it told a pretty complete story, with him turning human at the end. I'd rather see a sequel to Kiki or Nausicaa before Porco!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My opinion on Hisaishi's scores could all change when I listen to them outside the film. Since I'm watching these films now either for the first time or for the first time in a decade, I'm focusing all my attention on the movie itself and can't really dedicate a lot of "brain power" to the score.

Fair enough. ;)

Will be waiting for your thoughts on the soundtracks too!

Back to Porco, you may have mentioned this - I haven't read your review yet, but it was interesting how "adult" the film was. I mean, you have the main character smoking and drinking. And there was a lot of odd dialogue concerning 17 year old Fio. Mr. Piccolo keeps telling Porco to keep his hands off her, the adult American pilot wannabe actor wants to marry her.... kind of odd. Maybe its a Japanese thing?

I didn't really pay attention to the fact that the movie was more "adult", though, yes, you're right, it is. But the difference in tone between this film and the previous ones is not as jarring as the difference between Princess Mononoke and those (which is why I did mention that in my review of this film, but not in the one for Porco Rosso).

As for the Fio-Curtis thing, it didn't particularly felt awkward to me. I didn't see it as "Oh, you're hot! I want to fuck you! Marry me!", more like an innocent flirt with someone that is, yes, younger than him, but not that much younger. It's not like she's 5 and he's 60 or something. And anyway, it's not meant to be taken seriously, it's played for the laughs (a bit like when the pirates are helping Sheeta in the Tiger Moth's kitchen in Castle In The Sky). Curtis is depicted as an inconstant buffoon, who, one moment is pretending to be in love with Gina, and the next minute, is wooing another girl he just met and he finds cute. That's all.

And regarding "keeps your hands off me!", I don't remember such a line, so maybe that was an addition/weird translation for the American dub!

Just read a bit about the film on wikipedia. Interestingly, even though it was a short expanded into feature length, it didn't FEEL it the way Totoro and Kiki did, probably because it had a traditional 3 act structure, and it slowed town and took its time in the whole middle section.

Yep, I agree. Porco Rosso never felt padded to me. The one that felt the most like it was expanded to make it lengthier than it was originally meant to be was Kiki's Delivery Service. I think that one would have been more effective, had it been about 20 minutes shorter.

Interesting that its the first film basically set in actual real location and time, with practically no fantasy elements. In fact if Marco was human the whole time, there wouldn't be any!

Well, there's also the flashback sequence.

And while it is indeed set in a real location and time, it never really felt like it to me. I mean, it doesn't have a huge incidence on the plot, so I never really thought about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow really? In the English dub, two or three times Mr. Piccolo told Porco "Keep your hands off my grandaughter!" or something similar. Fio never told him to; She seemed pretty into him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know who Susan Egan is, but she was fine as Gina.

She was Belle in the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast. She also voiced Meg in Disney's Hercules. She's had several credits to her resume regarding Disney over the years, but these two are her most famous roles. She also gets to have a role in another Ghibli dub: she's Lin in Spirited Away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reminder: The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki Blu-ray is being released today

Miyazaki1.jpg

And a few problems that this set may have: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p=11112233&postcount=41

Assuming that Disney just re-packages the existing discs from the previous single-film releases, these five movies' BDs will have major problems:

Lossy Japanese audio:
Ponyo

Burnt-in dub credits:
Nausicaa

Dubtitles:
Laputa (Castle in the Sky)
Kiki's Delivery Service

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reminder: The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki Blu-ray is being released today

Miyazaki1.jpg

And a few problems that this set may have: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p=11112233&postcount=41

Assuming that Disney just re-packages the existing discs from the previous single-film releases, these five movies' BDs will have major problems:

Lossy Japanese audio:

Ponyo

Burnt-in dub credits:

Nausicaa

Dubtitles:

Laputa (Castle in the Sky)

Kiki's Delivery Service

Actually, from why I've read, the problems have been resolved on this BD set as far as the subtitles go.

AFAIK, Laputa and Kiki are no longer dubtitled in this box set, and neither is Mononoke. Nausicaa also has the Japanese credits unaltered. I don't know about Ponyo, though.

My only hope is that the rescore is brought back to Laputa's dub so that people can at least experience the dub with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, from why I've read, the problems have been resolved on this BD set as far as the subtitles go.

AFAIK, Laputa and Kiki are no longer dubtitled in this box set, and neither is Mononoke. Nausicaa also has the Japanese credits unaltered.

That's good to know!

My only hope is that the rescore is brought back to Laputa's dub so that people can at least experience the dub with it.

The best thing they could have done is include an option to watch the film either with the original score or the new score. Though that's never gonna happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forest-Spirit-Princess-Mononoke.jpg

 

Princess Mononoke

 

Wow! After a stretch where Miyazaki put out 5 films in 9 years, there was 5 long years off between Porco Rosso and this. And boy, does the time off really show! This film is absolutely gorgeous to look at from the first shot to the last. There must have been an improvement in technology too, as so many fantastic effects are used: fog, rain, translucence, I don't even know what else. Beyond the tech side, the animation is someone improved over the greatness of the last five films. Everything is completely smooth and fluid and just LOOKS great. The film has a nice visual style.

Storywise, it's almost a re-do of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, isn't it? It preaches the same things and has the same themes, at least, though different characters are used. In fact there's elements of Castle in the Sky too, with the warring villages. But that doesn't even matter, because this story is better than both of those stories.

 

The voice cast was great again. Billy Crudup as Ashitaka was neither here nor there, but everyone else excelled: Claire Daines was really excellent as San, especially in her more emotional scenes. Minnie Driver was a nice snarly Eboshi, effectively the villain but played her other side well too. Billy Bob Thornton was so good as Jigo, I loved how he talked a mile a minute, like he had to fill up every lull in every conversation. He had a nice soft side too. Gillian Anderson and Keith David were great as the Wolf and Boar spirit leaders too, I loved the way their voices were processed to sound like animal gods. Just great all around.

 

One thing I loved was the characters and that there were no 100% good guys and no 100% bad guys. Ashitaka was basically good but flat out killed a bunch of people (ok, it was the demon infection, but still), not to mention he interfered with many people's intentions without always thinking through the consequences. Eboshi was effectively the villain, but even she had a good side saving the woman of the village and ultimately deciding to work with nature. And I loved that Jigo was seemingly a pure good guy for half the film, then ended up being a big dick before suddenly changing his mind back again.

 

The themes of destroying nature vs working with it are not new to Miyazaki, but as I said I thought they were explored here better than ever before. I loved the way nature was represented, from the adorable little white wood spirits to the big Wolf and Boar leaders, to the freaky little apes, to the gorgeous Forest Spirit in its deer-like form. Love the transformations it goes under too.

 

The film starts with a great attack sequence with the rampaging boar infection by the demon. I loved the animation of all of that. I was instantly reminded of the ohms from Nauscaa, and the rampaging boars later reminded me of that too. There was so much other great animation as I mentioned before; how about the chases on elk-back, the scenes with characters half-underwater, the rifles and cannon things, the bombs and explosions, the forest vistas, so much good stuff.

 

One thing I was surprised by was the increasing "adult-ness" of Miyzaki's films - this film is flat out not for children. I was quite shocked when Ashitaka chopped of arms and heads when he meets the first villagers! I never saw that coming after the first 6 Miyazaki's, half of which were super-light G rated fares! I think its great that he shoes that level of violence so early, though, because it puts you in a state where you expect things to be more adult and serious than you might have though. I also noticed that the Iron Town women (who always were bathrobes from some reason?) were actually drawn with cleavage, another thing I wasn't expecting!

 

In case you couldn't tell, I loved this film - it's Miyazaki doing what he does best, with superb, top notch animation throughout. Great film!

This was my second time seeing this since I saw it in college; I dunno why I waited so long!

 

So my ranking after 7 films is

1. Princess Mononoke

2. Nausciaa of the Valley of the Wind

3. My Neighbor Totoro

4. Castle In The Sky

5. Kiki's Delivery Service

6. Castle of Cagliostro

7. Porco Rosso

 

 

giphy.gif

 

 

Oh hey! No aviation at all in this one! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, all I can say is I agree with most of what you said!

Just two things:

Billy Bob Thornton was so good as Kobayashi, I loved how he talked a mile a minute, like he had to fill up every lull in every conversation.

And I loved that Kobayashi was seemingly a pure good guy for half the film, then ended up being a big dick before suddenly changing his mind back again.


The character isn't called Kobayashi: that's the name of the guy doing the character's voice in the japanese version.

The character is called Jiko-Bo (Jigo in the English version).

Eboshi was effectively the villain, but even she had a good side saving the woman of the village and ultimately deciding to work with nature.


And she helps the lepers too!

Never saw Eboshi as a villain, really ("antagonist" would be more appropriate ;)). She took care of ex-whores and lepers, and does everything in her power to protect them, and that's the reason why she wants the Deer God's head. So that doesn't make her evil to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That my point, nobody was fully evil or fully good.

 

But come on, she was trying to murder the wolf god and the deer god, and tear down all the forest to make weapons. That's some villainous shit!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But come on, she was trying to murder the wolf god and the deer god, and tear down all the forest to make weapons.

Yes, but again: the only reason she wants to kill the deer god was to gain protection from the Emperor. And the reason she wanted to kill Moro (the wolf) is because she kept on attacking her people. And the reason she tear down the forest was to get the iron ore, in order for her people to make a living. So none of that is "villainous shit", at least not to me. Of course, these are not good actions, but they're not villainous either, because the intention behind them isn't to cause harm for the sake of causing harm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're proving my point! The film is full of characters neither pure good or pure evil :)

 

Every character has two sides, and makes you think about their actions and decisions and what you would do.

 

Great stuff!

 

Btw, you didn't talk about it too much, but wasn't the animation truly remarkable, a step up from what he had already accomplished before?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, if you mean animation as in "motion", the movements of the characters, etc., I think it was great of course, but not a huge leap forward compared to Porco Rosso (which is the film where I thought there was a big difference with what came before). But yes, all the action sequences had super fluid animation. Particularly like the duel between Eboshi and San as well as the short fight between San and Ashitaka in that regard.

giphy.gif

tumblr_n69kdannHw1sujz4so1_500.gif

And if you mean animation in a broader sense (as in the the drawing style, the overall visuals), then yes, I think it was a huge step up compared to his previous films, definitely. The film looks absolutely stunning. Many shots look like paintings you could easily put in a museum! Gorgeous film all around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I meant both, I guess. And I completely agree with everything you just said.

 

BTW, I just realized I didn't mention the score. I noticed it only a few times, I was so absorbed in the story. I did notice a few spots where it was scored oddly, like there was a vista shot that was held at the end of an intense sequence, and the music swelled, there was a bit of silence, then the movie moved onto the next scene. Kind of felt like a commercial break, honestly!

 

I also noticed a few spots that sounded synth?

 

Regardless, as I said I didn't pay attention to the music enough to really comment, but I did like some stuff I heard, and if I were to check out the OSTs to these films, I'd probably start with this one!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, I just realized I didn't mention the score. I noticed it only a few times, I was so absorbed in the story. I did notice a few spots where it was scored oddly, like there was a vista shot that was held at the end of an intense sequence, and the music swelled, there was a bit of silence, then the movie moved onto the next scene. Kind of felt like a commercial break, honestly!

Hahaha!

Not sure which scene you're referring to.

I also noticed a few spots that sounded synth?

Yep, there are a few synt-ish moments in the score, though nothing really obstrusive, unlike, say, the synth stuff in Nausicaä, which I found to be more jarring.

Regardless, as I said I didn't pay attention to the music enough to really comment, but I did like some stuff I heard, and if I were to check out the OSTs to these films, I'd probably start with this one!

Yep, that's probably the best Hisaishi score to start with, as it's his most accessible (in the sense that it's a more traditional score, like the ones we're used to).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, from why I've read, the problems have been resolved on this BD set as far as the subtitles go.

AFAIK, Laputa and Kiki are no longer dubtitled in this box set, and neither is Mononoke. Nausicaa also has the Japanese credits unaltered.

That's good to know!

My only hope is that the rescore is brought back to Laputa's dub so that people can at least experience the dub with it.

The best thing they could have done is include an option to watch the film either with the original score or the new score. Though that's never gonna happen.

I know. It would have been a cool idea, though. It WOULD be interesting to see the original movie w/Japanese performances with the rescore. It certainly would be interesting for those who prefer the Japanese VAs but are in love with the rescore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

QAZmzw1.png

 

千と千尋の神隠し a.k.a Spirited Away - Hayao Miyazaki (2001)

 

Quote
During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

 

Fourth time watching that one.

 

This is probably Miyazaki's weirdest film, but also his most accomplished. It almost feels like all his previous films were leading up to this one. The universe presented here is really rich and well-developed, with many references to Miyazaki's past projects as well as all the themes that are generally found in them. This is a film where you can see that Miyazaki's creativity was at its maximum: a lot of outlandish ideas, crazy creatures designs, a weird atmosphere... And that's where the real strength of the film comes from: a lot of mysterious stuff is happening, but there's not a lot that is actually explained, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Which means that not only each viewer can take something different out of the film, but also that you can see the movie in a different light with each viewing. One time, you'll watch it, maybe thinking that the bathhouse represents Chihiro's psyche, with each character representing one aspect of her personality, one of her emotions, or whatever... (Interesting article about that here: https://circleofmeditation.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/spirited-away/). Another time, you can interpret the bathhouse as being a brothel ;) (more on that at the end of this post). Or you can just take everything at face value and see it as nothing more than just a bathhouse for spirits! The same can be applied to other aspects of the film, like the train journey at the end of the film or the Faceless spirit. Yep, the many possible interpretations of the story/universe are really the most fascinating aspect of the film.

 

Of course, that's not the only thing it has to offer. The characters in the film are a fun bunch, all memorable in their own way: the grumpy Kamaji, the sinister Yubaba, the mysterious Haku, the hilarious three green heads, the kind Zeniba, Yubaba's crow and her baby (those two deserve their own film!)... Another colourful collection of characters we get there (once again, though, you can notice a few character designs from previous Miyazaki films being reused here: the engineer from Castle In The Sky being turned into Kamaji, Dola being turned into Yubaba, some of Moro's facial features are reused for Haku in dragon form). What I really like here is that they all get a proper, lengthy introduction scene: the whole nighttime sequence for Haku, the boiler room scene for Kamaji, the entrance into the bathhouse for Rin, the whole contract scene for Yubaba... So you get to really spend time with each of them before moving on to the next character. That's also part of another thing I like about the film and more specifically its first act: how we are gradually introduced to all the various parts of the bathhouse and its surroundings: first the "amusement park", then the exterior of the bathhouse, as Chihiro has to make her way down to the boiler room, then the boiler room, then the ground floor, then the second floor and finally the top floor with Yubaba's office. I find that it's a clever way to slowly deliver information to the viewers and make them familiar with the main location of the film without them being overwhelmed by everything. The whole first act is masterfully done in that regard. And still on that aspect of the film: love how each part of the bathhouse is its own little universe with its own characters and mood. You have the rough boiler room with Kamaji and the sootballs, the busy ground floor with Rin, Aogearu, the bathhouse workers and the spirits and finally, the gloomy and mysterious top floor with Yubaba, her baby, her crow and the three green heads. So you have just one location in the film, but still get a lot of variety in it, which is great!

 

Another strong aspect of the film is the atmosphere. Right from the start, as Chihiro and her parents are exploring the amusement park, there is a great sense of foreboding that is subtly done and works terribly well. Then after that, you get the nighttime sequence, which is probably my favourite moment in the entire film: a great combination of fantastic visuals and superb music (I particularly love the shot of Yubaba's crow flying above the amusement park, for some reason). And once that fantasy element is introduced, the atmosphere just keeps on getting eerier and eerier. Just like Chihiro, you're left wondering "What the hell is going on?", but not in a way that you feel uninvested. On the contrary, it keeps on making you wonder what will happen next. First, you have Kamaji's introduction, where you're not sure if he's a bad guy or not, and you get a certain sense of uneasiness. The sootballs then come in (a nice reference to My Neighbor Totoro), and the atmosphere gets lighter, and keeps on getting lighter with the entrance into the ground floor, where it feels like it's not all bad after all... And then, BAM! We arrive at Yubaba's office, and suddenly, it's all looking grim... The atmosphere and mood of the film keeps on switching from one scene to the next, but it never feels jarring. It's all done smoothly. And while you keep on learning new info throughout the film, there is still a lot of unexplained stuff that participates in maintaining the dreamlike atmosphere, such as the water level that keeps on changing from one day to the next for whatever reason, or the Kaonashi character with his unexplicable mood swings... You never really get a good grasp of the logic of the world, but it's all for the best, really, as that's part of what makes the film so special.

 

Visually, the film looks stunning. The colours in particular look really vibrant, more than they ever have in a Miyazaki film. I love the contrast between the various locations and sequences in the film: the warm colours of the ground floor in the bathhouse, the more brownish boiler room, the blue of the ocean where the train station is, Yubaba's greenish office.. There's a shitload of great shots too, especially of the bathhouse (we basically see it in every angle imaginable)! I love that location. Miyazaki really managed to breathe life into it, by not only showing every single room in it, but also showing how lively each one is (each shot is full of people doing something, going somewhere. It's so dense, every single frame has so many things going on). It's probably the visually busiest Miyazaki film! It's also worth mentioning that this is the first digital film he did, and it shows. There is absolutely no grain to be found on the picture. And while on the whole, it doesn't bother me as it doesn't make a huge difference, especially when it comes to the backgrounds, I do think it affects a bit the drawings of the characters. The lack of grain makes it look a tad too sterile to my liking, and as a result, too run-off-the-mill. It may seem like a lame complaint to you (because it is a subtle difference, I admit), and maybe it is, but that's how I feel. I felt he grain added a little something to the look of the films that was lost here. There's another small problem I have with the visuals, and that's the use of some subtle 3D effects: there are quite a few shots that combine 2D drawings with 3D elements, and I find that they don't mesh well, and would have preferred if they had stick to doing it completely in 2D. Still, this is just a minor complaint (just like the one regarding the lack of grain), as it is limited to just a few moments in the film, and thus doesn't bother me that much. But wanted to adress that nonetheless!

 

And then there's the music. Hisaishi's score for the film features some of his best melodies, going through a great range of emotions, and offers some really satisfying musical sequences. It's interesting to note that this film is almost scored wall-to-wall, which shows quite a progression compared to the first few films Hisaishi did with Miyazaki, which were sparsely spotted (it's the first Miyazaki film with some tracked music, and a fair share of unreleased music, too!). Also, while it does contain quite a few themes, the score is not as thematically driven as Princess Mononoke was (most themes appear twice or three times, tops), Hisaishi often resorting to incidental music when thematic material could have easily been used. The score opens with Chihiro's theme in One Summer Day, a sweet melody which is often played on the piano throughout the film. This is the main theme of the score, even though it doesn't appear that much through it (basically, it is only found in four places: One Summer Day, The Empty Restaurant, Day Of The River and The Return). I know many people are not fond of it, but I find its simplicity to be quite effective. The sootballs theme (first appearing in the aptly titled Sootballs) is a fun, Gershwin-like tune that perfectly encapsulates the little creatures, and is one of the highlights of the score. Another cool thematic idea is the one for the spirits, introduced in Procession Of The Spirits, which is probably the most memorable cue in the score. It's an uplifting march which offers a nice contrast to the more dissonant theme for Yubaba (heard in the eponymous track), the darkest theme in the score often accompanied by a little motif for her son (a nice little tune played on a glockenspiel(?)). The bathhouse also gets a theme, introduced in It's Hard Work, and while that idea sounds a bit mundane, it does get an awesome glorious rendition in the second half of The Stink Spirit. Finally, there's the theme for Kaonashi (given a lengthy treatment in Kaonashi (No-Face)), which is easily my least favourite melody in the score. It's an Eastern-flavoured theme that is not particularly pleasing, and funnily enough, it's one of the most prominent ideas in the score!

 

While on the whole, I find the thematic material in the score to be solid, I think there's a clear lack of a narrative arc that is a bit unsatisfying. Basically, many tracks on the album/cues in the film feel like small concert presentations of themes, so basically, you get Chihiro's theme covering most of One Summer Day, then the sootballs theme forming the whole of Sootballs, then Procession Of The Spirits consisiting only of the spirits theme, then Yubaba's theme forming the bulk of the track of the same name... There's no connective tissue between these segments: it just goes from one theme presentation to the next, but those themes rarely get to interact with each other. They're for the most part limited to their own cue, which I find to be a shame. Thankfully, most of the incidental music that pops up in many places makes up for that. The atmospheric A Road To Somewhere contains great ambient music which plays a big part in making the scene in which it appears work. Nighttime Coming has always been a favourite of mine (probably my favourite Hisaishi cue) with its lovely harp melody for Haku taking care of Chihiro, followed by ominous music for the appearance of Yubaba's crow, and finally the exciting orchestral outburst for the run through the amusement park. The Dragon Boy is another great track that conveys quite well Chihiro's disorientation as she sees the spirit world coming to life. Bathhouse Morning has some nice gentle music to offer. The melancholy conveyed in The Sixth Station works to great effect in the film. We also are given great lyrical music in The House At Swamp Bottom, and of course in the amazing Reprise (easily THE highlight of the score, and one of Hisaishi's finest cues). It's also the first Hisaishi score where I not just like, but love the end credits song, Always With Me. The rest of the musical material is not quite as satisfying: tracks like The Empty Restaurant, Sen's Courage or The Bottomless Pit all feel a bit inconsequential (the suspense and action material are the weakest aspect of the score). But on the whole, there's a lot to like in the score, and while it may not be a great listen from start to finish when taken on its own, its work wonderfully well in the film. So kudos to Hisaishi for that!

 

Spirited Away was my favourite Miyazaki movie when I had only seen four of his, and it still is, after having watched more than two thirds of his filmography. It easily is one of his finest works, if not his finest. And let's not be afraid to say it's also one of the finest animated films all around! From the visuals, to the music, including the atmosphere, the characters, the story... Everything just works. Bravo, Miyazaki-san! Bravo!

 

9/10

 

 

One Summer Day

 

A Road To Somewhere

 

Nighttime Coming

 

The Dragon Boy

 

Sootballs

 

Procession Of The Spirits

 

The Stink Spirit

 

The Sixth Station

 

Reprise

 

The Return

 

 

uMjOuJ9.pngnK7djfb.png

siLnrjW.png

WnEMwkb.png

WFQMn8N.png

 

 

P.S.: Interesting trivia bits (source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0245429/trivia?ref_=tt_ql_2):

 

- The cleansing of the river spirit is based on a real-life incident in Hayao Miyazaki's life in which he participated in the cleaning of a river, removing, among other things, a bicycle.

 

- When Chihiro arrives at Zeniba's house, the jumping lamp with sound effect is a nod to the Pixar logo.

 

- The song over the closing credits ("Itsumo Nando Demo"/"Always With Me") was intended for a Hayao Miyazaki film that was never made. Miyazaki played it relentlessly while making this film and decided to include it in the end credits.

 

- First Studio Ghibli film produced in full digital process with DLP technology.

 

- It is said that this movie refers to prostitution and many signs of that can be seen throughout the film, for example; The sign above the bathhouse has the sign "yu" which means hot water (bathhouse), and during the Edo period bathhouses were often associated with brothels, places where men and women would exchange sexual favors. The women who worked at these kinds of brothels were called "Yuna" while the madam working at the brothel would be called "Yubaba" which, coincidentally enough, is the name of the witch running the bathhouse. Another noticeable thing is that Chihiro has to sign a contract in which she changes her name (to Sen) which was also very common in these bathhouses. Also, "No face" tries to buy Chihiro with gifts and money, representing an obsessive client wanting to own her. Another noticeable point that could be speculated about is that the dirty spirits visiting the bathhouse is how these women view their costumers.

 

- The biggest difficulty in making the film was to reduce its length. When production started, Miyazaki realized it would be more than three hours long if he made it according to his plot. He had to delete many scenes from the story, and tried to reduce the "eye-candy" in the film because he wanted it to be simple (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirited_Away#Development).

 

Would love to know what some of those deleted scenes consisted of!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't consider Spirited Away my favorite Miyazaki film (Princess Mononoke and Laputa both hold that honor for me, although that really wouldn't be fair for me to say, as I generally like a lot of them), but it is indeed a beautifully animated movie. Thank goodness it won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature here. Otherwise we'd never see the rest of Miyazaki's work released here in America.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haven't watched SA yet, but I remembered something else about Mononoke I forgot to bring up

 

So at the end, Eboshi shoots off the Forest Spirits head, and then it roams around looking for it while its locked up in a box, until finally Jigo agrees to give it back.... but then the spirit dies anyway! So what did that accomplish? Jigo said it'd be day in the daylight anyway? What would have happened if the head hadn't been returned? What would have happened if it had never been shot off to begin with?

I probably missed something that explains this

 

Also, it was probably mentioned before, but the discs in the new Disney collection of all his films drop all the special features from the individual releases, and only contain a simple menu with language and subtitle selections. What's up with that?

 

http://nerdist.com/the-collected-works-of-hayao-miyazaki-blu-ray-review/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't consider Spirited Away my favorite Miyazaki film (Princess Mononoke and Laputa both hold that honor for me, although that really wouldn't be fair for me to say, as I generally like a lot of them), but it is indeed a beautifully animated movie. Thank goodness it won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature here. Otherwise we'd never see the rest of Miyazaki's work released here in America.

Yep. Moreso than Princess Mononoke, I'd say this is the film that made people want to see more of Miyazaki's work, and led to all his other films to be released.

Haven't watched SA yet, but I remembered something else about Mononoke I forgot to bring up

So at the end, Eboshi shoots off the Forest Spirits head, and then it roams around looking for it while its locked up in a box, until finally Jigo agrees to give it back.... but then the spirit dies anyway! So what did that accomplish?

That's a good question.

I'd say that what is accomplished is that it made the humans realize they have to live in harmony with nature: they're the ones willingly giving the deer god (representing nature) his head back, so it's a symbolic way of showing they realized the error of their ways. So, basically, in my opinion, the deer god didn't really die, he just "left": he was the protector of nature, but now that the humans have learned their lesson, he's no longer needed. The humans will take care of nature from now on.

I'd say that's a possible interpretation, but I just came up with that right now, without really thinking this through, so maybe it's completely off the mark! :P

Jigo said it'd be day in the daylight anyway? What would have happened if the head hadn't been returned? What would have happened if it had never been shot off to begin with?

I'm not sure what you mean with your first question. Basically, Jigo says that, when the sun will rise, the deer god will return to his initial form (a "regular" deer, and not the gigantic ectoplasmic form we see when he first arrives to heal Ashitaka's wound) and basically die. The only reason he didn't die when Eboshi shot him is because night had already started falling, and he had already started his transformation into his ectoplasmic form.

Of course, you could say: "But he died anyway, even with his head back!", in which case we go back to the question I answered to above.

As for what would have happened if it had never been shot off to begin with... Well, nothing.

Also, it was probably mentioned before, but the discs in the new Disney collection of all his films drop all the special features from the individual releases, and only contain a simple menu with language and subtitle selections. What's up with that?

http://nerdist.com/the-collected-works-of-hayao-miyazaki-blu-ray-review/

Well, that's disappointing.

All the separate releases of the films just have one disc, with both the film and the extras, right? So the explanation can't be that they wanted to keep the number of discs to a minimum, to offer the box set at a low price?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the individual releases already have the special features on the same disc as the film, so they could have just simply repressed those!

 

Maybe they didn't want to because they start playing trailers to random Disney movies when you put them in, and that would be odd in a box set situation. But they could have kept the special features!

 

This is just Disney being lazy.

 

And I like you interpretation above :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally watch this video. Good stuff!

I particularly liked the explanation Miyazaki gives regarding why Jiji doesn't speak at the end of Kiki's Delivery Service. It was also interesting to learn that Miyazaki rarely plans the ending of his films, and generally prefers to make up the story as he goes along.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, from why I've read, the problems have been resolved on this BD set as far as the subtitles go.

AFAIK, Laputa and Kiki are no longer dubtitled in this box set, and neither is Mononoke. Nausicaa also has the Japanese credits unaltered.

That's good to know!

Yes it is! Unfortunately a lot of the uncertainty stemmed from some Amazon reviews which people were inexplicably allowed to submit months ago, way before anyone new any true details of the release. Assumptions were made, confusion spread. I ended up buying the blu ray of Spirited Away because it's my favorite Miyazaki film (Princess Mononoke isn't far behind!) and because I didn't think I would be getting the box set due to the reported problems.

I started doing a bunch of research into buying the Japanese blu rays which are costly. This changes everything. I have to save up a bit but I think this'll be a Christmas present to myself!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ended up buying the blu ray of Spirited Away because it's my favorite Miyazaki film (Princess Mononoke isn't far behind!)

Great minds think alike!

I have to save up a bit but I think this'll be a Christmas present to myself!

And then we'll be waiting for your thoughts on each film! No excuse will be accepted!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

597876438.png

 

Spirited Away

I saw this movie in theaters back in 2002 and instantly fell in love with it. It was my #1 movie of the year and insured I'd watch his whole back catalog at home and see any new movies he made in the theater. Well I saw Howl in the theater but missed out on Ponyo and Wind Rises theatrically. Luckily I've been making up for that by watching all his films on the great Disney blu rays at home. Thanks again to BB for inspiring me because otherwise I dunno how long I would have gone before seeing Spirited Away again. And boy am I glad I did!

This film is a masterpiece of cinema, and the crown jewel of Miyazki's output. It's just perfect. The story is compelling, the characters are varied and nuanced, the animation is stunning, perfect, and so unique and thought provoking, and the music is great too.

 

I don't even know what to say about this. Right from the start you are instantly hooked on the story, as Chihiro is being moved to a new home (shades of My Neighbor Totoro) and is upset by that. Then her parents want to explore a tunnel after taking a wrong turn, and she's upset by that too. We're only 5 minutes into the movie and there's already a great sense of mystery and exploration that I loved. I dunno how he came up with the idea of a hidden bathhouse for the spirit world but its such a great one! It lead to so many great little scenes and situations.

 

The animation in this film is SO damn good. Princess Mononoke was already a big leap forward from his earlier films, and this film is another step forward from that (though not as big a leap as before). This film also uses CGI at times, and its almost perfectly integrated (the one time its obvious is a shot during the sequence where they free the river spirit and the water rises). Another aspect I noticed in Mononoke was that the foreground elements were better integrated with the backgrounds. In all the cartoons I watched as a kid, and even Miyazaki's early movies, it was always obvious. Which is fine of course, that's just how it was. But with Mononoke the line between foreground and background started to blur, and here in Spirited Away its blurred even more. They did really, really impressive work here in that regard!

 

Another thing great about the film is its imagination. The movie keeps presenting these awesome new ideas and characters throughout, like no other movie I've seen. It's just so impressive how many fantastic ideas he had for characters, creatures, places, things, etc in one movie. Beyond that, almost every shot has something super impressive in it, something off to the side or in the background going on that's really clever.

 

This is Hisaishi's best Miyazaki score yet, at least in regards to what I've noticed in the films. There is a really great main theme, and its used as the center of attention in key scenes. And I noticed in the end credits he played the piano himself - he did great!

 

I watched the English dub, and for the first time, they chose not to use a bunch of huge, pre-established stars. I wonder why? Perhaps because it was in US theaters a little over a year after its Japanese premiere? I don't know, but whatever the reason, it was great. Not recognizing the actors (actually, I was pretty sure I heard Ratzenberger) draws you into the story more.

 

I don't know what else to say. Great film, 10/10, A+.

 

Rankings so far

1. Spirited Away

2. Princess Mononoke
3. Nausciaa of the Valley of the Wind
4. My Neighbor Totoro
5. Castle In The Sky
6. Kiki's Delivery Service
7. Castle of Cagliostro
8. Porco Rosso
 
 
Only 3 more to go :(

And I know I've already seen the best. Spirited Away seems to be what his whole career was leading up to. Really, it contains elements of a lot of his prior work, but all redone to the best possible version, with the best animation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once again, I've nothing else to say except I agree with you on everything (except regarding the use of 3D elements, and maybe the animation too, where I didn't notice any major difference with previous films)!

Ah, something I forgot to mention in my review: one thing I wasn't a big fan of during the ending was the use of the hair tie to make it clear what happened to Chihiro was real. I would have preferred they hadn't introduced that element, and left it to the viewer to decide whether all that happened was real or just a dream, or whatever. As it is, everything leading up to the ending is rather vague in that regard, but then, right before the end credits, the emphasis is put on that hair tie, which I find to be a bit of shame. It doesn't ruin the ending or anything, but I think having a more ambiguous denouement would have made for a more interesting conclusion to the story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Only 3 more to go :(

And I know I've already seen the best. Spirited Away seems to be what his whole career was leading up to. Really, it contains elements of a lot of his prior work, but all redone to the best possible version, with the best animation.

Well, I hope you watch the non-Miyazaki Ghibli films too!

Although I have a hunch that you may not like some of them if you're used to the fantasy/adventure of the rest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And I've read your review BB and I basically agree with everything you said. Except for all that crap in the beginning about multiple interpretations.. wtf? A brothel? No. It's clearly just a bathhouse for the spirits. Simple as that. All those other interpretations are really stretching!

 

It is great how each character and room is introduced one by one, yes. And I didn't notice anything about a difference in grain or whatever. All the Disney Blu Ray looks flawless.

 

A 3 hour version of this would have been way worse. The great pace of the final film is one of its strong points.

 

Somehow I missed the bit with the hair tie at the end! Woops!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And I've read your review BB and I basically agree with everything you said. Except for all that crap in the beginning about multiple interpretations.. wtf? A brothel? No. It's clearly just a bathhouse for the spirits. Simple as that. All those other interpretations are really stretching!

I don't think they are (except the brothel thing. Yeah, that one is REALLY stretching it!). In fact, I'd find it less interesting if the film was just to be taken at face value, a "what you see is what you get" kind of flick. To me, there's definitely more to it than meets the eye

A 3 hour version of this would have been way worse.

Oh, I'm not saying I would have wanted the film to be longer! But I would have been interested in knowing what was some of the stuff Miyazaki decided to remove nonetheless.

Somehow I missed the bit with the hair tie at the end! Woops!

Towards the end of the film, Zeniba gives Chihiro a hair tie, which we see again in the final scene, right before Chihiro goes into her parents' car.

I7e8mVF.jpg

spirited-away-28.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now