Last night a massive blackout hit the inner west, affecting 70 sets of traffic lights and around 25,000 homes… including ours. We ate dinner by candle light and then settled in to the glow of the fully-charged laptop to watch ‘Spirited Away’. If only our own souls could have been lucky enough to jump aboard a steamboat into another realm we might have been spared the pain.
You know that feeling when someone tells you the crazy dream they had the night before and all you can do is scream inside because it holds zero relevance for you and you are so bored out of your mind with the conversation that you want to stab them in the eyeballs just so you’ll have a different topic to talk about?
That’s what it’s like to watch ‘Spirited Away’.
I blame Hayao Miyazaki’s parents. No doubt they are the kind of parents who repeatedly instilled in him the notion that “You can be anything you want to be if you just try hard enough!” and, “Any brain fart you have is worthy of turning into a feature-length animation!”
It is nightmarish. Not because it is scary, mind you, but because it is nonsensical and disjointed.
It starts well enough, as we see 10-year-old Chihiro battle against the inevitability of her parents’ decision to move to the suburbs. Then, all of a sudden, things get weird.
I’ve tried at all times in my reviews to avoid spoilers, and I won’t change that now. Suffice it to say that Chihiro ends up in an alternate realm in the company of “spirits” and has to battle her way back out, in the process saving her parents from being tomorrow night’s dinner.
Where else but in a nightmare would a ten-year-old girl be forced to bathe a “stink spirit” and pull a bicycle out of its fat rolls only to have sickening sludge rain down upon her and subsequently be branded a hero for her efforts?
(Hopefully the answer to that question is not “In Japan”.)
Let’s just forget about the paedophilic character “No Face” and his creepy, breathy panting for a second (please can we forget about him? He’s been haunting my thoughts ever since!) Let’s also leave out the fact that they managed to cast the whiniest child in the history of all time for Chihiro’s voice. I swear if I’d heard hear wail “Hakuuuuu” one more time I would have thrown the computer clear out the window and onto the street in the hopes that one of the many cars speeding through the now blackened traffic lights would run right over it and “upload it to the cloud” so to speak.
Previously, I teased Hitchcock for his appallingly off-target love story in ‘Vertigo’. I’d sooner be convinced that a rubbish bin fell in love with a toaster than the lead actors in that film had fallen for each other. It’s the same in ‘Spirited Away’.
Lin: What’s going on here?
Kamaji: Something you wouldn’t recognize. It’s called love.
Whoa, whoa! Hold back on the saracasm for a minute there Kamaji, NOBODY saw that one coming. I mean, seriously. Prior to this point there hadn’t been the slightest indication of love… unless you count screaming “Hakuuuuu” at intervals and the fact that there was a male and a female character of approximately the same age talking to each other? Give me the smallest of breaks here, please.
Never before have the letters W, T and F been so forcefully uttered from my lips than at the conclusion of this film.
Have you seen ‘Spirited Away’? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.