By George Rose
September 15, 2009
This movie tells the trippy story of a young girl named Chihiro. After moving to an unfamiliar town, her reality starts to transform into a twisted amusement park alt-realm where she must locate and free her parents. With the help of a young man named Haku, she explores this world and all its mysterious creatures and spirits until reality is restored. I'm not usually a fan of Asian animation but found myself unable to resist the allure of Miyazaki's world. This was also the case with Ponyo, as the film is beautiful and thought provoking, but the world introduced in Spirited Away is much deeper adventure that will leave you as bewildered about your own reality as Chihiro is with hers.
When Chihiro's parents turned into pigs because of their greed, I knew I wasn't watching a mindless DreamWorks Animation cartoon. Miyazaki's work is covered in metaphors and mind games, allowing his mature viewers to enjoy adult themes and complications while watching work that leaves you as enchanted and giddy as a child. Though I know people who consider this style of storytelling and animation to be too much to handle, requiring more brain activity than the senseless, escapist fun so many prefer when watching a movie, it really is worth checking out if you want a completely unique movie-going experience. If you don't trust me, trust the Academy; it won the Best Animated Movie Oscar in 2003.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Speaking of unique experiences, did you know there is a drinking game that references Edward Scissorhands? It's called "Edward 40 Hands." I was just introduced to it a few days ago and thought it was genius. Then again, I think most drinking games are genius. What you do is buy a 40oz bottle of beer and duct tape it to your hands. You can't undo the tape or get rid of the bottle until you drink the entire thing. Because duct tape is uncomfortable (especially on hairier male hands) and you usually take having function hands for granted, drinking quickly becomes a priority and initiates a race among the drinkers. The game might not be as innovative at the movie but it's still a ton of fun and gets the party going.
Other than you needing hands to drink the beer, I can't see any reason it's related to the movie. But learning the game reminded me of the movie and now I'm going to recommend it. The movie is about a Frankenstein-style creation that is brought to life before its completion. Since the monster's creator died before he could finish building his entire body, Edward is released into the world with Swiss Army Knife hands. It's a charming and stylistic story about this emotional creature's integration into normal suburban family life, helmed by the always imaginative Tim Burton. It was one of his earlier, more creative collaborations with Johnny Depp, before they both sold out and started remaking classics into modern freak shows. Ok, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory wasn't terrible and the upcoming Alice in Wonderland in 3-D looks pretty good, but long gone are the days when these two made unexpected career choices.