Summary: Beautiful, enchanting, fascinating, profound film by Hayao Miyazaki.
Spirited Away is filled with seemingly boundless imagination. The cast of characters is a lineup of monsters and gods and faceless ones and things you would think no one could imagine and inexplicable beings so fleshed out that you wonder how on earth someone could have created them.
The plot is equally ginormous and fleshed out. Yet initially you have no clue how it's going to be played out. I mean after the first 10 mins, your just as lost as Chihiro. And there lies the adventure, the discovery, we are all in her place, marveling at the same sights, traversing this strange land full of fear and wonder. This is great film making.
And yet none of it is without a moral compass. A story to tell, yes, and all the while it educates us. Not in an overbearing way but in subtly, it's there, subliminally hoping to guide us in our 'real' lives. You see, the story MAY seem like one grandiose dream, the characters feel like unimaginable beasts conjured up in a haze on the way to oblivion.....but they're not, and it's not. Some of it is based on actuality, real life, the greedy workers, the no face who thinks he can buy anything, they represent us, or different facets of humanity and real life. Same goes for the 'polluted' river god, tarnished and ruined by humans. And also Hayao took a lot of the characters and themes from Japanese folklore, he was seeking to bring about a resurgence of Japanese tradition and sense of self.....(sigh), that was a lot of words and I apologize.
My amazing conclusion is that this film is very close to perfect, if not perfect, too bad perfection is unattainable. But a great, great coming of age film, filled with glorious imagination and beautiful story telling that will stand the test of time and be considered a classic for many years to come. Congrats to Miyazaki and Co.