The highest grossing film in Japanese box-office history (more than $234 million), Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away
(Sen To Chihiro Kamikakushi
) is a dazzling film that reasserts the power of drawn animation to create fantasy worlds. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
and Lewis Carroll's Alice, Chihiro (voice by Daveigh Chase--Lilo in Disney's Lilo & Stitch
) plunges into an alternate reality. On the way to their new home, the petulant adolescent and her parents find what they think is a deserted amusement park. Her parents stuff themselves until they turn into pigs, and Chihiro discovers they're trapped in a resort for traditional Japanese gods and spirits. An oddly familiar boy named Haku (Jason Marsden) instructs Chihiro to request a job from Yubaba (Suzanne Pleshette), the greedy witch who rules the spa. As she works, Chihiro's untapped qualities keep her from being corrupted by the greed that pervades Yubaba's mini-empire. In a series of fantastic adventures, she purges a river god suffering from human pollution, rescues the mysterious No-Face, and befriends Yubaba's kindly twin, Zeniba (Pleshette again). The resolve, bravery, and love Chihiro discovers within herself enable her to aid Haku and save her parents. The result is a moving and magical journey, told with consummate skill by one of the masters of contemporary animation. MPAA Rated: PG ("Some scary moments") --Charles Solomon
SPIRITED AWAY Introduction -- Academy Award(R)-Winning Director And Miyazaki Admirer John Lasseter (Special Achievement Award, 1995) Introduces The Film.