Plot twists develop that are unexpected and handled in surprisingly dramatic and original ways. I found the series getting more interesting as it progressed as it addressed issues of militarism, greed, social structure, duty, honor, generational transition, artificial intelligence, and reliance on technology.
This is some of Miyazaki’s best work. It’s enchanting, touching, sentimental, funny, and occasionally, simply astonishing. Miyazaki has a gift for capturing the honesty and wonder of childhood yet he does so without sugarcoating or pandering.
This movie has plot holes galore, the graphic concepts and technologies are derivative, and the characters are oddly un-engaging. Still, it moves along at a very fast clip, the story itself is unusual, and some of the action sequences are spectacular.
It is a fantastic achievement. The art work is better than most of what you see on ADULT SWIM (by a very wide margin), the design of the spaceships and alien vessels is beautiful, the combination of simulation and electronic display inside the power suits looks quite original, and the story, while short at 28 minutes, packs an astonishing amount of information and story elements in while not swerving from the relentless focus on these two emotional lovers, communicating (one way) over a gulf of light years.
One of the most mature, evocative, creative, and melodramatic movies I’ve seen all year is an animated film, directed by the same director (Satoshi Kon) as the realistic yet disappointing (to me) potboiler Perfect Blue and of the excellent Tokyo Godfathers.
Satoshi Kon’s TOKYO GODFATHERS, like his MILLENIUM ACTRESS, proves again animation’s spectacular dramatic and artistic potential. From an unlikely story Satoshi weaves a dramatic and humorous tale that soars above cliché and treacly melodrama.
Back when I first heard the story of Spirited Away I thought that this would never go over big in the U.S. (young girl gets lost in an abandoned amusement park populated by vacationing spirits and seeks a way to turn her parents back into humans from pigs?) I thought it would make an excellent candidate as a simultaneous theatrical/DVD release, given its probable small target audience.
This is an epic adventure interspersed with elements of Japanese folklore, magic, feral teenagers, giant wolves, strong and aggressive women, warfare, politics, terrific music, and enough related plot lines to kill a horse.