By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Oct 28th (sub) & 30th (dub)
Please check local listings
Home video release date:
November 12, 2019
Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し) is returning to theatres this week courtesy of GKIDS and for those discovering this magical film for the first time, they can enjoy it again when the Blu-ray Collector’s Edition arrives on home video two weeks later. To time the cinematic screening with Halloween is not unusual because of the themes. It’s a Alice in Wonderland style parable, and the themes are just as reverent for the season.
This film deserves to be seen on the big screen first before taking the spirits–er, film home. That way, this work can be enjoyed year round.
Hayao Miyazaki delved into the power of myth and Shinto lore in making this film. The story looks at the survival of personal identity. Chihiro is the protagonist. Her family is relocating, and on their way to a new life, a break at an out of the way amusement park/village leads to problems. There’s a mysterious tower and even stranger, food laid out for anyone to eat! When the matron of bathhouse, Yubaba finds mortals are about, she’s furious!
Chihiro has to confront her, but loses her identity in the process. She becomes Sen, Ultimately, the tale reveals itself as a coming of age tale, where she’s a little older, and definitely all the wiser. It’s a beloved fable for all to learn.
Other aspects of this film is explained in simpler terms in the essays provided in the booklet in the home video release. In addition to specifically selected images from the film, the discourse reminds us of why many critics–from Leonard Maltin to Kenneth Turan (film critic for the LA Times)–loves Hayao Miyazaki. Even notes about how hard he treats himself is noted. A few of the articles are old but the newer ones includes mention of The Never Ending Man, (review here) released a couple of months ago. The fact these re-releases includes new material is great.
Also included are trailers, storyboards and tv spots for budding animation filmmakers to study. I particularly like how well constructed the keepsake boxes continue to look. The companies involved are not simply offering quick releases of old material, but instead are providing newcomers wishing to own Studio Ghibli’s works with a lot more content. Music enthusiasts will enjoy the fact the soundtrack is included! They make my original two disc DVD Region 2 release look tiny in comparison.