Category Archives: Opinion

A Quick Reflection on Spirited Away

The first time I watched Spirited Away was during an A Level Film Studies class. Four to Five years on I decided to re-watch it. Considering the film is rated so highly amongst critics and ‘Greatest Ever Animated Film’ polls I couldn’t remember much about it except some of the odder characters. The creatures and spirits are some of the oddest, surreal and bizarre in an animated film I can remember. There are the soot workers, a momentary glimpse of a giant and obese radish spirit, two identical big headed grannies, a silent spirit monster and three green bouncing heads to name a few. Watching the film a second time the creativity was equally refreshing. There a scenes with a stinking, sludge spirit that transforms with the help of Chihiro (the protagonist), as well as another where paper birds attack Haku (Chihiro’s friend in the spirit world) in the form of a dog-like dragon. The film isn’t enchanting like a fairy tale is but it does captivate you and your imagination.

Spirited Away is a far cry from the sentimental and hopeful films that Disney produces. It is refreshing to see a children’s film that isn’t overbearingly emotional, but peaceful and quaint; it feels Japanese rather than American. The film was odd, bizarre and surreal, but it was oddly comforting. Animation can capture you like a live action film never could. Spirited Away thrives in its creativity but it doesn’t make it a classic or to be regarded as one of the greatest animated films ever, but it is a captivating film.




Films lack drama!

I can’t remember any intensely dramatic films I’ve watched from the past year.

The last two films I watched were Apocalypse Now and The Green Mile. I didn’t think either was dramatic. By dramatic I mean the intense type of drama that grips and alarms you like Edward Bond’s Olly’s Prison or Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire.  Apocalypse Now had some great scenes but didn’t hold my gaze. There was no violent intensity or fierceness about it. The Green Mile was the same. It was sad, and deeply tragic, cruel in places but not truly dramatic.

Maybe it’s the immediacy of theatre that films lack. Films have action and they have silence but they just don’t seem to have any thrust, or any force, or any real drama.