Spirited Away and Gotham By Gaslight; A Double Feature Review

Would it surprise you to know I haven’t seen most of Miyazaki’s films, or even Studio Ghibli films in general?

Well before October 27th, 2019 at exactly 12:55 pm the only film I had seen from the Studio Ghibli film I saw was “Whisper of the Heart,” in which I ended absolutely LOVING.

Something about Studio Ghibli films just pulls you into them with a warm embrace that makes you forget the time and space around you. Its absolutely breathtaking watching a film and forgetting you’re sitting in a theater watching said film.

That feeling was more than present when I sat down in the theater to watch the critically acclaimed 2001 academy award winning film by Studio Ghibli, “Spirited Away.”

Spirited Away follows Chihiro (voiced by Rumi Hiiragi) and her parents (voiced by Takashi Naitō and asuko Sawaguchi) moving to a new homr. Before they can arrive to their new home though, Chihiro goes off road (in his Audi with four wheel drive) and they discover what seems to be an abandoned amusement park. They venture on inward where they find a place to stop and eat, yet Chihiro either out of fear or instinct refuses to eat and runs off where she finds an old towering bathhouse and runs into Haku (voiced by Miyu Irino) who explains that the amusement park is an attraction for spirits at night. She then embarks on a truly unique journey to save her parents, making friends along the way and learning lessons of courage, humility, and strength.

“Spirited Away,” literally reminded me why I absolutely love anime and why animation is so important. For the past few years, animated movies had become kinda tasteless. There are the few exceptions like “Spider-Man Into The Spiderverse,” “Anomalisa,” and “Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs,” but nonetheless even some of my favorite animated films from the past few years felt almost like a perfected blandness.

The same goes with the story. “Spirited Away,” is not a story about being yourself or doing good things, but in my opinion it’s about looking at your flaws and working on them. Rather than working on your strong points it says rebuild your weak points and make them stronger. Work on your manners, your humility, your strength. Be a better you than what you are now.

I absolutely love “Spirited Away,” and I’m so glad I finally got around to seeing this now nearly 20 year old film.

Speaking of getting around to seeing a film I’ve had “Gotham By Gaslight” sitting on my Blu-Ray shelf for god knows how long. I had bought it the day it came out in the interest of Batman and my love for victorian era like worlds, I never ended up watching it though.

Well after getting home from watching Spirited Away and still trying to collect myself on everything I just experienced, I finally decided to watch the film.

Gotham By Gaslight is a new take on the caped crusader as it’s a late 1800’s alternate universe wherein the Batman is tasked with finding one infamous Jack the Ripper.

The film is nice to watch and acts more as a mystery film than a superhero film as it introduces three main suspects. Dr. Hugo Strange, Harvey Dent, and Commission General Gordon.

The animation isn’t really a big showcase of this film but is just a means to an end to make a film the probably no studio would make in live action. It’s still smooth and not a pain to look at but is nothing special.

It’s a good idea for a film and an enjoyable story but nothing out of the ordinary. Just good ol’ Bats kicking butts and taking names.

I enjoyed watching “Gotham By Gaslight,” but it’s nothing to run home about. I feel as if most people that are interested in the straight to DVD and Blu-Ray DC films have seen this and those that haven’t aren’t going to give it a try unless they’re bored or they need something to watch.

Watch it if you want but don’t be surprised if you come out just thinking “eh that was okay.” Its not a bad movie but it’s no masterpiece.