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More Miyazaki and Spirited Away in the Press

posted on by Christopher Macdonald
Spirited Away certainly is racking up press exposure, mostly good; but will this translate into box office sales?

Paul Sherman of the Boston Herald may not be the only person around that doesn't like Spirited Away, but he cerainly is amongst the minority. His Boston Herald review of Spirited Away is titled "Well-crafted animation lacks spirit" and in it he states, "It's hard to fathom why Miyazaki has a worldwide legion of admirers."

Meanwhile, the LA Times has taken another look at Spirited Away with the review titled Under the Spell of 'Spirited Away'. In it Spirited Away is referred to as a Masterpiece and the author, Kenneth Turan, states, "It's hard to think of a filmmaker who deserves that prominence more," (referring to Miyazaki's name being the last image on the screen after the credits).

In a much shorter review, David Chute of the LA Weekly, lists Spirited Away as "recommended," and calls the voice acting "excellent."

In the Los Angeles New Times, Luke Y. Thompson starts his review of Spirited Away with a very clear statement, "Spirited Away is the best movie I've seen all year." Thompson states that Spirited Away ins a masterpiece in any language and recommends that those with children see the English version of the film, while those without see the subtitled version, "so that Disney (and with luck their subsidiary, Miramax) will do this sort of thing more often." Thomson's review continues to pour praise after praise upon the movie to the point that he states, "It feels downright embarassing to gush this much."

Someone else who did not like Spirited Away is Michael Elliot of christiancritic.com. Christian religious reviews have long had issues with Anime as it generally presents beliefs different from their own and Elliot makes no secret about this, "Confession time. I'm not a big fan of Japanese animation. I'm also not very appreciative of films whose messages contradict the Bible from which I derive my beliefs. These are two big strikes against Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away." Despite this, Elliot continues with, "The fact that despite this, I've given the film two and one half stars speaks volumes as to its artistic level. Did I like it? Not really. Can I recognize the artful craft of its maker? Yes... for it is undeniable. "

Meanwhile the Boston Globe has several articles about Spirited Away and Miyazaki; 'Spirited' discussion with an animator, featuring some Q&A with Miyazaki at the Toronto International Film Festival; a review by Wesley Morris entitled "'Spirited' takes you on a dreamlike quest through a wonderland," that heaps much praise on the movie; and an article entitled Animator's work is easy to love but hard to find outside of Japan that looks at Disney's dsitribution (or lack thereof) of Miyazaki films in North America and hints at upcomming plans for DVD releases. It suggests that Disney is trying to build the market for the films. The article also interviews Anime scholar Helen McCarthy and Nausicaä.net webmaster Michael Johnson. (Nausicaä.net was also Slashdotted in relation to Spirited Away yesterday).

Numerous more reviews of Spirited Away are appearing every day, and it seems that the movie is garnering even more critical acclaim than Princess Mononoke was given in 1999. The question remains, will the critical acclaim translate into more box office sales? In 1999 Mononoke was highly lauded by Ebert and other North American reviewers, yet the film only earned $2.4 mullion at the North American box office.

Rottentomatoes.com, which tracks major press reviews of films, currently lists a total of 33 reviews of Spirited Away and gives it a tomatometer rating (a sort of average of all the reviews published in newspapers and other sources) of 100%.

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