Archive for December, 2011

Spirited Away (2001)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 24, 2011 by dpallee

Yubaba the witch (left) and Chihiro (right) from "Spirited Away"

 I have passed over this movie far too long and need to give credit and praise to Hayao Miyazaki’s multi-award winning classic, Spirited Away. I am so impressed by this film that if asked to produce a top ten animated films of all time list, Spirited Away would take the number one seat, hands down. I stand in company of quite a few others who feel this way as the film’s credits include being the most successful film in Japanese history, Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, the Golden Bear Award and ranked in the top ten of the British Film Institute’s list of the 50 films you should see by the age of fourteen. Studio Ghibli continues to bring their audiences superb films and this one stands as a leader amongst them.

 Illustrated with the same quality style as classics like Princess Mononoke and Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away (original title Chihiro no kmikakushi) is a fantasy tale about the adventures of a young girl named Chihiro Ogino (English  dub voice performed by Daveigh Chase). Chihiro is moving with her parents to a new town and stops along the way to rest at an abandoned amusement park. Her parents are transformed into pigs by a witch named Yubaba (English dub voice performed by Suzanne Pleshette) leaving the young girl to wander about in a world of spirits and strange characters in an effort to restore her parents back to human form. She is befriended by  a young boy named Haku, who helps her along the spirited world and holds a secret himself (which I won’t give away). The perseverance of Chihiro is heroic and humorous to watch making this an enjoyable movie for viewers of all ages. Keep in mind that the very young may be somewhat frightened by characters like Yubaba the witch or Kamaji the six armed man, but those who focus on the young girl note her composure throughout her adventure and feel no threat from the strange inhabitants.

 If you have not seen this movie yet, do so by all means. If you have watched it, watch it again and enjoy; this tale is as good the second time around.

Une Vie de Chat (A Cat in Paris) 2010

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 18, 2011 by dpallee

Dino the cat from Un Vie de Chat (2010)

  French directors Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alan Agnol bring to screen a pleasant film about a cat that leads a double life through the streets of Paris. Une Vie de Chat (A Cat in Paris) is a 2010 production I enjoyed for a a variety of reasons, foremost being the illustrated style given to the characters and scenery. The streets of Paris as seen following the adventures of Dino the cat bring an illustrated style that reminds me of the art by French post impressionist Paul Gauguin. The whimsical approach to the design and fluidity of movement make the entire production easy on the eyes to watch, colorful yet not overbearing.

The story follows the life of Dino the Cat, who lives with a young girl named Zoe by day and a burglar name Nico by night. Zoe’s mother is a police officer which brings one elemental tie-in to the story, another link being a small bracelet the cat brings as a gift to the young girl. Various characters pop in and out of the plot but the viewer ends up identifying the most with this sly black and striped cat. This is a French production so be prepared to translate it or pick up a copy with subtitles (even though I felt the animated visuals almost carry the story along without need of dialogue at all). A Cat in Paris represents the epitome of France through the style of art and flair of the design as strong as the scene location itself.