Discussion:
Spirited Away dispiriting
(too old to reply)
Jason H. Schaumlau
2003-09-13 12:16:35 UTC
Permalink
Miyazaki, the great master of anime and almost religiously regarded
among American animators, has had two widely acclaimed successes with
Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away. Neither movie, however, won the
hearts of majority of American moviegoers and regrettably I must side
with the American public.

Both movies are heavy and cumbersome, more cluttered than detailed,
repetitious, and horribly contradictory in terms of style. However,
let me at the very least state that both films are worth seeing for
Miyazaki's scope, ambition, and many nice touches by master filmmaker.

Yet, why do both movies fail to achieve greatness? First, Miyazaki's
main strength is that of a fascist aesthetician. It doesn't matter
that he's ideologically anti-militaristic or anti-fascist(even though
this too is debatable); Miyazaki is at his best when portraying and
presenting that very thing he's condemning. As an artist he's the heir
to Riefenstahl and Wagner; he's superb at conjuring up world torn
asunder by mighty war machines, apocalyptic visions and renewal thru
destruction, heroic striving to attain god-like status. A movie
director who shares the same kind of strength is George Lucas. Sure,
Attack of Clones is a cautionary epic about fascist menace yet the
very strength of Lucas's vision is inseparable from what he's
condemning.

Both Lucas and Miyazaki are limited artists but at their best they can
mount incomparable spectacles of the grandest scope. Miyazaki's best
film is Laputa Castle in the Sky for it chanced Miyazaki to exercise
his primary talent: images of war, thunderous action, soaring
adventure, epic destruction beautifully balanced by friendship between
two wonderful children, wisdom of quietude, striving toward proportion
and balance. Same could be said for Nausicaa, Miyazaki's first great
artistic and commercial success.

Among his later works, one really stands out: My Neigbor Totoro.
Unlike Nausicaa and Laputa, it's essentially a treat for kids though
adults will be delighted on the first viewing. It's basic idea and
plot work wonderfully, and Miyazaki's designs of supernatural forces
and wonders are brilliant in their simplicity and warmth. Totoro looks
like a cross between a bear and a sumo wrestler. The cat bus is both
big & roomy and nimble & nifty.
Less satisfying was Kiki with a plot that sunk and ended abruptly,
inexplicably, unsatisfactorily; worse, its message for girls was to be
a timid servant of society. Still, it had many lighthearted moments
and was generally cheerful.
Porco Rosso had more adult themes and characters and many bravura
action sequences but degenerated into pointlessness, culminating in a
dumb fight scene. Yet, it did have one of the most powerful pacifist
images ever put on screen and its flaw was that of underachievement
than overstriving.

Then came Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away, two movies where Miyazaki
strained himself to excess yet with comparatively meager results.
Mononoke Hime had some great images but Miyazaki's depiction of nature
lacked a sense of aura, the smell of earth and leaves, the rich
texture of earth and water. Though utilizing more advanced and
expensive animation process the movie resulted in images that were too
cleanly scrubbed, too precise to have that impressionistic sense of
bewilderment that is at the heart of nature. Worse, Miyazaki began to
make the mistake he carried to new heights in Spirited Away; he began
to repeat his established ideas; worse, to distort them into something
grosteque and ugly.

So, if in Laputa there was a baldheaded man with thick beard and
goggles, in Spirted Away that creature has been given 4 elongated
arms. If My Neighbor Totoro had dustbunnies, Spirted Away has
dustbunnies with legs. If his earlier films had a nasty old lady,
Spirited Away has a bigger, uglier, nastier old lady with a wart
several times bigger than those of old grannies in My Neigbor Totoro
and Laputa combined.
Gone are the simple but effective ideas like the creature Totoro.
Instead, we get 20 times more weird creatures but their odd
appearances are merely superflous, uninteresting, even annoying like
the alien creatures in Star Wars. Instead of wonderment, affection,
and/or awe inspired by Totoro or Ohmus in Nausicaa we get an endless
parade of goblins, deformities, and grossness. Miyazaki isn't tuning
his imagination but merely indulging in it as Federico Fellini in his
later films(starting with Juliet of the Spirits). Miyazaki, best
suited for grand images and bold gestures ala Lucas and Riefenstahl,
seems to have discovered surrealism of, say, Bunuel. He's doing things
his talent is wholly unsuited for. He's stretching his ideas to
unintelligible visual gibberish, straining fantasy ideas into pompous
quasi-spiritual gobbledygook phantasmagoria. There's nothing in
Spirited Away that's as simple and fun as the catbus. Instead, we have
an underwater train that recalls the arthouse antics of Ingmar Bergman
or the dream imagery of painter Dali. What is this bogus shit?

What I admired about Miyazaki at his best(even at his not-so-best)
prior to Mononoke was his movies had basics most anime works
disregarded: sense, character, story. Compared to airheaded cyberjunk
blow-em-ups like Akira, Miyazaki knew how to tell a story instead of
relying merely on empty fireworks. Yet, Spirited Away is nothing but a
series of effects, riots, and nonsensical chaos. It holds our
attention thru hysteria, headbuttings, pointless violence, and
tiresome magical interludes. It has stuff like a Jabba the Hut sized
shit taking a bath, the creature from Zeiram swallowing a Japanese
Kermito the frogu, a two ton baby who throws fits one moment and then
later spouts timeless wisdom to his two ton grandma who--don't ask me
why--sometimes turns into a crow(though unfortunately her ugly mug
remains 'human').
Miyazaki, to be sure, follows up each one of these excesses with a
lesson about life and nature, ecological mumbo jumbo but really, if
you gotta show this amount of fecal matter and vomit to make us wiser,
no thanks.

The movie is similar in some respects to Alice in Wonderland but
Miyazaki's(perhaps Japanese, as a whole)style and approach are most
unsuited to creating the kind of world of Lewis Carroll. In Alice in
Wonderland, book and Disney film, the hallucinogenic unreality derives
from within, from Alice's mindbending dream-logic psychology.
Miyazaki's strength as artist is the polar opposite of what
constitutes surrealism. Even Miyazaki's fantastic visions are mythic,
grand, otherworldly; they are not psychological, inner directed,
probing, or deep. Miyazaki is not Bunuel or David Lynch, not Lewis
Carroll. At best, he's a bombastic director of grandiose stories told
on a titanic scale. Even dreamstates in My Neighbor Totoro Miyazaki
work because they are flights into fanciful worlds, not as meandering
search for hidden symbolisms within our psyche. And so, unlike Alice
in Wonderland, Spirited Away is simply gross, oddball without being
fundamentally weird in a deeper, more unsettling sense. Also, the main
character is another Miyazaki archetype that's half conservative timid
Japanese girl and only superficially enlightened modern girl. The
message of the movie is modern people only know consumption and
excretion. That we eat up nature and have no clue as to how out of
whack our accounting is with nature and the spirit world. And, so the
little heroine learns something about how to be a dutiful, servile
girl who suppresses her modern individuality and learns to be humble,
devoted to the mythic past when man and nature supposedly lived in
harmony. Somehow, this was more fun with Kurosawa's dreams than in
Miyazaki's latest visual gross out fest or feast that sadly more
resembles one especially odious skit in Monty Python's Meaning of
Life.

Yet, how did this movie become the biggest boxoffice hit in Japan? I
think it has more to do with its calculated blend of endless array of
empty but distracting effects with its tiresome but always comforting
message about how we need to restore balance and order in our hearts
and in the world. Snore!
Chika
2003-09-13 12:38:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, the great master of anime and almost religiously regarded
among American animators, has had two widely acclaimed successes with
Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away. Neither movie, however, won the
hearts of majority of American moviegoers and regrettably I must side
with the American public.
I can't comment on the latter show; I have yet to see it. I certainly
enjoyed the former, Princess Mononoke, which I found to be an enchanting
and sometimes even thrilling eco-drama.

However, this review has a slight problem. The American public largely
ignored both these movies because, to a great extent, they had been buried
by the company that had the job of promoting them in the US. It was
released to a minimal number of art houses, received little or no
advertising and even embarrased that company when the latter show had the
temerity to win an Oscar over shows it was pushing from its own stable,
amongst other things finally putting the point that many have made over
the last couple of years, in that it is only the execs that have misread
the market, pushing this idea that 3D is the way of the future and that 2D
is dead.

How I would have liked to see Eisner's face, even if only to rub his nose
in it!

However, reading through the rest of this so-called review, spamposted
right across Usenet in what seems to be an attempt to pose as some sort of
reasoned argument, especially considering the groups chosen, I am left
with only one response.

Hello Gaza!

(Sorry, folks. A troll. I'll reset my followups...)
--
//\ // Chika <miyuki at crashnet.org.uk>
// \// MMW Crashnet <crashnet.org.uk>

... Open mouth, insert foot, echo internationally.
Shouse
2003-09-15 14:42:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chika
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, the great master of anime and almost religiously regarded
among American animators, has had two widely acclaimed successes with
Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away. Neither movie, however, won the
hearts of majority of American moviegoers and regrettably I must side
with the American public.
I can't comment on the latter show; I have yet to see it. I certainly
enjoyed the former, Princess Mononoke, which I found to be an enchanting
and sometimes even thrilling eco-drama.
However, this review has a slight problem. The American public largely
ignored both these movies because, to a great extent, they had been buried
by the company that had the job of promoting them in the US. It was
released to a minimal number of art houses, received little or no
advertising and even embarrased that company when the latter show had the
temerity to win an Oscar over shows it was pushing from its own stable,
amongst other things finally putting the point that many have made over
the last couple of years, in that it is only the execs that have misread
the market, pushing this idea that 3D is the way of the future and that 2D
is dead.
How I would have liked to see Eisner's face, even if only to rub his nose
in it!
However, reading through the rest of this so-called review, spamposted
right across Usenet in what seems to be an attempt to pose as some sort of
reasoned argument, especially considering the groups chosen, I am left
with only one response.
Hello Gaza!
(Sorry, folks. A troll. I'll reset my followups...)
--
//\ // Chika <miyuki at crashnet.org.uk>
// \// MMW Crashnet <crashnet.org.uk>
... Open mouth, insert foot, echo internationally.
You're right on target about the failure to promote these films in the US. I
stumbled upon them by accident.
Blade
2003-09-15 16:10:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shouse
Post by Chika
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, the great master of anime and almost religiously
regarded among American animators, has had two widely acclaimed
successes with Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away. Neither movie,
however, won the hearts of majority of American moviegoers and
regrettably I must side with the American public.
I can't comment on the latter show; I have yet to see it. I
certainly enjoyed the former, Princess Mononoke, which I found to be
an enchanting and sometimes even thrilling eco-drama.
However, this review has a slight problem. The American public
largely ignored both these movies because, to a great extent, they
had been buried by the company that had the job of promoting them in
the US. It was released to a minimal number of art houses, received
little or no advertising and even embarrased that company when the
latter show had the temerity to win an Oscar over shows it was
pushing from its own stable, amongst other things finally putting
the point that many have made over the last couple of years, in that
it is only the execs that have misread the market, pushing this idea
that 3D is the way of the future and that 2D is dead.
How I would have liked to see Eisner's face, even if only to rub his
nose in it!
You're right on target about the failure to promote these films in
the US. I stumbled upon them by accident.
No she's not. Both movies would have bombed with a wider release.

Blade
8-Bit Star
2003-09-16 03:20:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Blade
Post by Shouse
You're right on target about the failure to promote these films in
the US. I stumbled upon them by accident.
No she's not. Both movies would have bombed with a wider release.
What makes you so sure? Seems to me that a film that was worthy
of an Oscar would probably also attract a moderate amount of
success as well.
Blade
2003-09-16 03:25:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by 8-Bit Star
Post by Blade
Post by Shouse
You're right on target about the failure to promote these films
in the US. I stumbled upon them by accident.
No she's not. Both movies would have bombed with a wider release.
What makes you so sure? Seems to me that a film that was worthy
of an Oscar would probably also attract a moderate amount of
success as well.
Oh, moderate, to be sure. Heck, it DID have a moderate success. But
Spirited Away, with the best will in the world, wouldn't have ever come
close to something like Finding Nemo or Lilo&Stitch. The market for that
sort of animation just isn't there; quality of the release
nonwithstanding.

Blade
Chika
2003-09-16 12:06:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Blade
Post by Blade
Post by Shouse
You're right on target about the failure to promote these films in
the US. I stumbled upon them by accident.
No she's not. Both movies would have bombed with a wider release.
What makes you so sure? Seems to me that a film that was worthy of an
Oscar would probably also attract a moderate amount of success as well.
Oh, moderate, to be sure. Heck, it DID have a moderate success. But
Spirited Away, with the best will in the world, wouldn't have ever come
close to something like Finding Nemo or Lilo&Stitch. The market for
that sort of animation just isn't there; quality of the release
nonwithstanding.
The trouble with that theory is that until somebody actually tries the
market, we will never know for sure. Goodness knows that Finding Nemo and
L&S both had their own problems finding the kind of numbers that some of
their predecessors did, not to mention the various other releases that
went down the toilet for one reason or another such as Treasure Planet.
What people are looking for overall is something fresh, and these two
titles might have been the answer or, if not, at least some sort of
pointer to what will get folks into the theatres again.

Certainly this has been shown by the critical acclaim SA has received here
since they started screening it at the meagre number of venues allowed by
the UK distributor. Whatever I may have said about critics, when they all
feverishly talk up a title, it can only be for two reasons; either it
stinks on ice and they are being paid to talk it up (unlikely for this
sort of release) or it is actually good.

And, btw, who's "she"?!? *^^*
--
//\ // Chika <miyuki at crashnet.org.uk>
// \// MMW Crashnet <crashnet.org.uk>

... An ulcer is what you get mountain climbing over molehills
Rob Kelk
2003-09-16 14:15:23 UTC
Permalink
(off-topic newsgroups trimmed)
<snip>
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
What makes you so sure? Seems to me that a film that was worthy of an
Oscar would probably also attract a moderate amount of success as well.
Oh, moderate, to be sure. Heck, it DID have a moderate success. But
Spirited Away, with the best will in the world, wouldn't have ever come
close to something like Finding Nemo or Lilo&Stitch. The market for
that sort of animation just isn't there; quality of the release
nonwithstanding.
The trouble with that theory is that until somebody actually tries the
market, we will never know for sure.
However, Disney *has* tried the market, with "Princess Mononoke". While
it didn't flop, it also wasn't a success on the scale of "Lilo &
Stitch", and that's what Disney expects from a major release. Thus, I'd
be extremely surprised if Disney was to release other Studio Ghibli
movies on anything more than the arthouse circuit.

As for other studios... (thinks for a moment to recall a non-Disney
animated movie similar in tone to stereotypical anime) How well did
"The Road to El Dorado" do in its theatrical run?
Post by Chika
Goodness knows that Finding Nemo and
L&S both had their own problems finding the kind of numbers that some of
their predecessors did, not to mention the various other releases that
went down the toilet for one reason or another such as Treasure Planet.
Part of that, I'd suspect, is the industry-wide problem that consumers
are no longer forced to choose from only the current crop of movies -
they can stay home and watch their favourites on their DVD players and
big-screen TVs. (That's for "Finding Nemo" and "L&S"; movies like
"Treasure Planet" bombed because they weren't as good as the
competition.)
Post by Chika
What people are looking for overall is something fresh, and these two
titles might have been the answer or, if not, at least some sort of
pointer to what will get folks into the theatres again.
Certainly this has been shown by the critical acclaim SA has received here
since they started screening it at the meagre number of venues allowed by
the UK distributor. Whatever I may have said about critics, when they all
feverishly talk up a title, it can only be for two reasons; either it
stinks on ice and they are being paid to talk it up (unlikely for this
sort of release) or it is actually good.
Ah, but how well does critical acclaim convert to box-office results on
your side of the Atlantic? In North America, there's only a loose
correlation.

<snip>
--
Rob Kelk <http://robkelk.ottawa-anime.org/> robkelk -at- jksrv -dot- com
"I'm *not* a kid! Nyyyeaaah!" - Skuld (in "Oh My Goddess!" OAV #3)
"When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of
childishness and the desire to be very grown-up." - C.S. Lewis, 1947
RufusTFirefly
2003-09-16 16:06:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rob Kelk
(off-topic newsgroups trimmed)
<snip>
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
What makes you so sure? Seems to me that a film that was worthy of an
Oscar would probably also attract a moderate amount of success as well.
Oh, moderate, to be sure. Heck, it DID have a moderate success. But
Spirited Away, with the best will in the world, wouldn't have ever come
close to something like Finding Nemo or Lilo&Stitch. The market for
that sort of animation just isn't there; quality of the release
nonwithstanding.
The trouble with that theory is that until somebody actually tries the
market, we will never know for sure.
However, Disney *has* tried the market, with "Princess Mononoke".
Horseshit. 'Mononoke' played the same arthouses that every anime theatrical
release plays. 'Tried the Market' my ass.


While
Post by Rob Kelk
it didn't flop, it also wasn't a success on the scale of "Lilo &
Stitch", and that's what Disney expects from a major release. Thus, I'd
be extremely surprised if Disney was to release other Studio Ghibli
movies on anything more than the arthouse circuit.
As for other studios... (thinks for a moment to recall a non-Disney
animated movie similar in tone to stereotypical anime) How well did
"The Road to El Dorado" do in its theatrical run?
Post by Chika
Goodness knows that Finding Nemo and
L&S both had their own problems finding the kind of numbers that some of
their predecessors did, not to mention the various other releases that
went down the toilet for one reason or another such as Treasure Planet.
Part of that, I'd suspect, is the industry-wide problem that consumers
are no longer forced to choose from only the current crop of movies -
they can stay home and watch their favourites on their DVD players and
big-screen TVs. (That's for "Finding Nemo" and "L&S"; movies like
"Treasure Planet" bombed because they weren't as good as the
competition.)
Post by Chika
What people are looking for overall is something fresh, and these two
titles might have been the answer or, if not, at least some sort of
pointer to what will get folks into the theatres again.
Certainly this has been shown by the critical acclaim SA has received here
since they started screening it at the meagre number of venues allowed by
the UK distributor. Whatever I may have said about critics, when they all
feverishly talk up a title, it can only be for two reasons; either it
stinks on ice and they are being paid to talk it up (unlikely for this
sort of release) or it is actually good.
Ah, but how well does critical acclaim convert to box-office results on
your side of the Atlantic? In North America, there's only a loose
correlation.
<snip>
--
Rob Kelk <http://robkelk.ottawa-anime.org/> robkelk -at- jksrv -dot- com
"I'm *not* a kid! Nyyyeaaah!" - Skuld (in "Oh My Goddess!" OAV #3)
"When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of
childishness and the desire to be very grown-up." - C.S. Lewis, 1947
Juan F Lara
2003-09-16 17:46:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by RufusTFirefly
Horseshit. 'Mononoke' played the same arthouses that every anime theatrical
release plays. 'Tried the Market' my ass.
Um, no. Up to then every non-mon anime played in only 20 or 30 screens.
"Princess Mononoke" played in over 120.

- Juan F. Lara
http://bellsouthpwp.net/l/a/lara6281/intro.html
RufusTFirefly
2003-09-16 19:32:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juan F Lara
Post by RufusTFirefly
Horseshit. 'Mononoke' played the same arthouses that every anime theatrical
release plays. 'Tried the Market' my ass.
Um, no. Up to then every non-mon anime played in only 20 or 30 screens.
"Princess Mononoke" played in over 120.
'Over 120'. And how many screens was 'Findo Nemo' released to? 1200?
1800? '120 screens' would not even cover 1 screen in every major city.
Sheesh. Don't say no shit about 'Monoke' being promoted like major release,
because it aint true.
Post by Juan F Lara
- Juan F. Lara
http://bellsouthpwp.net/l/a/lara6281/intro.html
Arnold Kim
2003-09-16 20:29:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by RufusTFirefly
Post by Rob Kelk
(off-topic newsgroups trimmed)
<snip>
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
What makes you so sure? Seems to me that a film that was worthy of
an
Post by Rob Kelk
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
Oscar would probably also attract a moderate amount of success as
well.
Post by Rob Kelk
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
Oh, moderate, to be sure. Heck, it DID have a moderate success. But
Spirited Away, with the best will in the world, wouldn't have ever come
close to something like Finding Nemo or Lilo&Stitch. The market for
that sort of animation just isn't there; quality of the release
nonwithstanding.
The trouble with that theory is that until somebody actually tries the
market, we will never know for sure.
However, Disney *has* tried the market, with "Princess Mononoke".
Horseshit. 'Mononoke' played the same arthouses that every anime theatrical
release plays. 'Tried the Market' my ass.
Apparently, they tested the movie for a wider release in Minneapolis
(television commercials and all), and it bombed.

For a movie to succeed, it has to reach out to Middle America, and
Minneapolis is a Middle American city.

Arnold Kim
McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
2003-09-18 02:45:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rob Kelk
Post by RufusTFirefly
Post by Rob Kelk
(off-topic newsgroups trimmed)
<snip>
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
What makes you so sure? Seems to me that a film that was worthy of
an
Post by Rob Kelk
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
Oscar would probably also attract a moderate amount of success as
well.
Post by Rob Kelk
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
Oh, moderate, to be sure. Heck, it DID have a moderate success. But
Spirited Away, with the best will in the world, wouldn't have ever
come
Post by RufusTFirefly
Post by Rob Kelk
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
close to something like Finding Nemo or Lilo&Stitch. The market for
that sort of animation just isn't there; quality of the release
nonwithstanding.
The trouble with that theory is that until somebody actually tries the
market, we will never know for sure.
However, Disney *has* tried the market, with "Princess Mononoke".
Horseshit. 'Mononoke' played the same arthouses that every anime
theatrical
Post by RufusTFirefly
release plays. 'Tried the Market' my ass.
Apparently, they tested the movie for a wider release in Minneapolis
(television commercials and all), and it bombed.
For a movie to succeed, it has to reach out to Middle America, and
Minneapolis is a Middle American city.
No. It isn't. Minneapolis is not at all typical of "middle America."

Cheers,

Todd "It is, however, a wonderful city" McNeeley
Joshua Kaufman
2003-09-18 10:41:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
Post by Rob Kelk
Post by RufusTFirefly
Post by Rob Kelk
(off-topic newsgroups trimmed)
<snip>
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
What makes you so sure? Seems to me that a film that was worthy of
an
Post by Rob Kelk
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
Oscar would probably also attract a moderate amount of success as
well.
Post by Rob Kelk
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
Oh, moderate, to be sure. Heck, it DID have a moderate success. But
Spirited Away, with the best will in the world, wouldn't have ever
come
Post by RufusTFirefly
Post by Rob Kelk
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
close to something like Finding Nemo or Lilo&Stitch. The market for
that sort of animation just isn't there; quality of the release
nonwithstanding.
The trouble with that theory is that until somebody actually tries the
market, we will never know for sure.
However, Disney *has* tried the market, with "Princess Mononoke".
Horseshit. 'Mononoke' played the same arthouses that every anime
theatrical
Post by RufusTFirefly
release plays. 'Tried the Market' my ass.
Apparently, they tested the movie for a wider release in Minneapolis
(television commercials and all), and it bombed.
For a movie to succeed, it has to reach out to Middle America, and
Minneapolis is a Middle American city.
No. It isn't. Minneapolis is not at all typical of "middle America."
Yes, they have streets named in alphabetical order there *nodnod*

-Joshua
--
AOL-IM: TerraEpon
McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
2003-09-19 14:43:16 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 18 Sep 2003 10:41:38 GMT, Joshua Kaufman
Post by Joshua Kaufman
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
Post by Arnold Kim
For a movie to succeed, it has to reach out to Middle America, and
Minneapolis is a Middle American city.
No. It isn't. Minneapolis is not at all typical of "middle America."
Yes, they have streets named in alphabetical order there *nodnod*
Yes they do. And they have four of each one to boot. Now, am I going
to North Henry, East, west, or South Henry...

I arrived in Minneapolis between August and June, so naturally, it was
snowing. I followed a freeway exit to my destination, because it bore
the name of the street I was looking for. I had printed directions for
the neighborhood in hand, and spent like two hours trying to find this
place. I was south, and should have been west.

And I don't care how long you travel west on a road that the map shows
as parallel to another road. That other road actually ends 24.2 miles
north east of wherever you think it is, and the one you're one
secretly loops back south west.

In Minneapolis, at least as far as driving is concerned, there is
definitely something wrong with the space-time continuum.

Cheers,

Todd "Now Chicago... There's an easy to drive in city" McNeeley
Jack Bohn
2003-09-19 21:45:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
On Thu, 18 Sep 2003 10:41:38 GMT, Joshua Kaufman
Post by Joshua Kaufman
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
Post by Arnold Kim
For a movie to succeed, it has to reach out to Middle America, and
Minneapolis is a Middle American city.
No. It isn't. Minneapolis is not at all typical of "middle America."
Yes, they have streets named in alphabetical order there *nodnod*
Yes they do. And they have four of each one to boot. Now, am I going
to North Henry, East, west, or South Henry...
Try Gainesville, Florida. ALL their streets are numbered. Am I
going to North 4th St., N 4th Ave., N 4th Blvd., N 4th Terrace...
--
-Jack
McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
2003-09-20 00:06:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack Bohn
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
On Thu, 18 Sep 2003 10:41:38 GMT, Joshua Kaufman
Post by Joshua Kaufman
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
Post by Arnold Kim
For a movie to succeed, it has to reach out to Middle America, and
Minneapolis is a Middle American city.
No. It isn't. Minneapolis is not at all typical of "middle America."
Yes, they have streets named in alphabetical order there *nodnod*
Yes they do. And they have four of each one to boot. Now, am I going
to North Henry, East, west, or South Henry...
Try Gainesville, Florida. ALL their streets are numbered. Am I
going to North 4th St., N 4th Ave., N 4th Blvd., N 4th Terrace...
Sounds ghastly...

But do all the streets take sudden, sharp, erratic, and disorienting
turns in random directions in order to avoid hitting one of over
10,000 lakes?

Cheers,

Todd "You need flippers to go straight in MN" McNeeley
Sawfish
2003-09-18 16:14:48 UTC
Permalink
"McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better..." <***@myserver.gov> writes:

<SNIP>
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
Post by Arnold Kim
Apparently, they tested the movie for a wider release in Minneapolis
(television commercials and all), and it bombed.
For a movie to succeed, it has to reach out to Middle America, and
Minneapolis is a Middle American city.
No. It isn't. Minneapolis is not at all typical of "middle America."
Cheers,
Todd "It is, however, a wonderful city" McNeeley
I think you are correct in saying it's not typical of "middle America" (is
that like Middle Earth?). I thought about this a lot. I live in Portand,
OR and it is used for such product testing. The reason they use Portland,
I believe, is not that it represents middle America -- whatever the fuck
that may be -- but that it has many disparate elements within its
metropolitan area. A significant grouping of the following:

Greek
Jewish
Vietnamese
German
Scandinavian
Chinese
Japanese
Russian
Romanian

Plus the regular undifferentiated whitebread and small black and hispanic
communities.

Then is has a large gay element, a very liberal element, and is surrounded
by very conservative elements.

Maybe this is the same for Minneapolis. You couldn't very well use LA for
a *national* test bed, for example, since it would be disproportiately
weighted toward hispanic influence.
--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sawfish: A totally unreconstructed elasmobranch.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
2003-09-19 14:58:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sawfish
<SNIP>
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
Post by Arnold Kim
Apparently, they tested the movie for a wider release in Minneapolis
(television commercials and all), and it bombed.
For a movie to succeed, it has to reach out to Middle America, and
Minneapolis is a Middle American city.
No. It isn't. Minneapolis is not at all typical of "middle America."
Cheers,
Todd "It is, however, a wonderful city" McNeeley
I think you are correct in saying it's not typical of "middle America" (is
that like Middle Earth?). I thought about this a lot. I live in Portand,
OR and it is used for such product testing. The reason they use Portland,
I believe, is not that it represents middle America -- whatever the fuck
that may be -- but that it has many disparate elements within its
Well, see, that's it... No city, that is, no major metro area can
really represent "middle America".

If you need a sample of Middle America, you gotta go to podunk little
one-horse settlements like Indianapolis, Cleveland, Kansas City,
Flint, Flagstaff, Boulder, Detroit, or Little Rock...

And for the authentic cooking, you gotta find even more remote and
primitive places than those.

Minneapolis is a city. A real, honest to God city. When you release a
film to selected cities before going wide, Minneapolis is "selected
cities."

It's true that you can't get a decent pie in Minneapolis, but we've
been over this before... Only New York and Chicago can offer a real
pie.
Post by Sawfish
Greek
Jewish
Vietnamese
German
Scandinavian
I hate to break it to you, but the insidious scourge, the Scandinavian
"infection" has spread to every nook and cranny of the nation. Riding
the bus or sitting in restaurants with Scandinavians is generally bad
enough, but when they start sending their kids to our schools, trying
to go to our churches, and taking our jobs... well, I say enough is
enough...
Post by Sawfish
Maybe this is the same for Minneapolis.
Yep... Damn Scandinavians everywhere... ya.

Cheers,

Todd "How the hell did I get off on that weird rant :-)" McNeeley
Sawfish
2003-09-19 17:05:47 UTC
Permalink
"McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better..." <***@myserver.gov> writes:


<SNIP>
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
Post by Sawfish
Greek
Jewish
Vietnamese
German
Scandinavian
I hate to break it to you, but the insidious scourge, the Scandinavian
"infection" has spread to every nook and cranny of the nation. Riding
the bus or sitting in restaurants with Scandinavians is generally bad
enough, but when they start sending their kids to our schools, trying
to go to our churches, and taking our jobs... well, I say enough is
enough...
Goddamn right, MacNeeley!

And their *cooking*, or what passes for it, since I don't think they know
the difference between the wheel and fire, and probably attempt to cook
over wheels...

And the fucking Canadians are just as bad, in their own way!!!

I've seen them lustfully eyeing our women, as we cross the border to take
advantage of the exchange rate -- don't think I haven't.
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
Post by Sawfish
Maybe this is the same for Minneapolis.
Good god, let's hope not!!!
--
--Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Wha's yo name, fool?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rob Kelk
2003-09-19 21:27:41 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 19 Sep 2003 17:05:47 GMT, Sawfish <***@q7.com> wrote:

<snip>
Post by Sawfish
And the fucking Canadians are just as bad, in their own way!!!
I've seen them lustfully eyeing our women, as we cross the border to take
advantage of the exchange rate -- don't think I haven't.
Oh, like _you_ haven't had salacious thoughts about Shania Twain or Pam
Anderson (both Canadians)...

Although we have a cure for people who cross the border just to ogle
Canadian women: Rita McNeil. <evil grin>

<snip>
--
Rob Kelk
robkelk -at- jksrv -dot- com
Member of, but not speaking for, the Ottawa News Administrators Group
McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
2003-09-20 00:16:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rob Kelk
<snip>
Post by Sawfish
And the fucking Canadians are just as bad, in their own way!!!
I've seen them lustfully eyeing our women, as we cross the border to take
advantage of the exchange rate -- don't think I haven't.
Oh, like _you_ haven't had salacious thoughts about Shania Twain or Pam
Anderson (both Canadians)...
Twain... yes... as long as she doesn't sing... Or open her mouth to
speak.

Anderson, no.
Post by Rob Kelk
Although we have a cure for people who cross the border just to ogle
Canadian women: Rita McNeil. <evil grin>
Don't be mean to the fat chick. ;-/

Cheers,

Todd "some guys go for that" McNeeley
McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
2003-09-20 00:10:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sawfish
<SNIP>
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
Post by Sawfish
Greek
Jewish
Vietnamese
German
Scandinavian
I hate to break it to you, but the insidious scourge, the Scandinavian
"infection" has spread to every nook and cranny of the nation. Riding
the bus or sitting in restaurants with Scandinavians is generally bad
enough, but when they start sending their kids to our schools, trying
to go to our churches, and taking our jobs... well, I say enough is
enough...
Goddamn right, MacNeeley!
And their *cooking*, or what passes for it, since I don't think they know
the difference between the wheel and fire, and probably attempt to cook
over wheels...
Minnesota is, apparently, famous for something they call "hot dishes."
Upon closer inspection, it turns out to just be the casserole. For all
the good Minneapolis and Minnesota having going for it, cuisine is not
on the list.
Post by Sawfish
And the fucking Canadians are just as bad, in their own way!!!
I've seen them lustfully eyeing our women, as we cross the border to take
advantage of the exchange rate -- don't think I haven't.
Dude... Your response to my faux rant was hysterical... But I'm afraid
that if I try to drag out the joke, there may be serious consequences
;-)

Cheers,

Todd "Lustfully eyeing our women --- hahaha" McNeeley
Chibi-Light
2003-09-20 03:15:12 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 19 Sep 2003 14:58:00 GMT, "McNeeley... Cheaper, faster,
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
I hate to break it to you, but the insidious scourge, the Scandinavian
"infection" has spread to every nook and cranny of the nation. Riding
the bus or sitting in restaurants with Scandinavians is generally bad
enough, but when they start sending their kids to our schools, trying
to go to our churches, and taking our jobs... well, I say enough is
enough...
Post by Sawfish
Maybe this is the same for Minneapolis.
Yep... Damn Scandinavians everywhere... ya.
I resemble those remarks. ^^;

CL
---
Pre-order Glenn Beck's The Real America
www.glennbeck.com
McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
2003-09-21 02:52:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chibi-Light
On Fri, 19 Sep 2003 14:58:00 GMT, "McNeeley... Cheaper, faster,
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
I hate to break it to you, but the insidious scourge, the Scandinavian
"infection" has spread to every nook and cranny of the nation. Riding
the bus or sitting in restaurants with Scandinavians is generally bad
enough, but when they start sending their kids to our schools, trying
to go to our churches, and taking our jobs... well, I say enough is
enough...
Post by Sawfish
Maybe this is the same for Minneapolis.
Yep... Damn Scandinavians everywhere... ya.
I resemble those remarks. ^^;
You'll be the first Scandinavian up against the wall when the
revolution comes :-)

Cheers,

Todd "Look at me... I'm running with a gag I'm
not even committed to." McNeeley
--

E-Mail: todd dot mcneeley at earthlink dot net
Chibi-Light
2003-09-21 05:33:10 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 21 Sep 2003 02:52:20 GMT, "McNeeley... Cheaper, faster,
Post by McNeeley... Cheaper, faster, better...
You'll be the first Scandinavian up against the wall when the
revolution comes :-)
Sweet.

CL
---
Pre-order Glenn Beck's The Real America
www.glennbeck.com
Rob Kelk
2003-09-17 00:56:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by RufusTFirefly
Post by Rob Kelk
(off-topic newsgroups trimmed)
<re-quoted and un-commented-on text snipped>
Post by RufusTFirefly
Post by Rob Kelk
Post by Chika
The trouble with that theory is that until somebody actually tries the
market, we will never know for sure.
However, Disney *has* tried the market, with "Princess Mononoke".
Horseshit. 'Mononoke' played the same arthouses that every anime theatrical
release plays. 'Tried the Market' my ass.
Really? When did the big-chain theatre that I saw "Mononoke" in become
an arthouse?

<re-quoted and un-commented-on text snipped>
--
Rob Kelk <http://robkelk.ottawa-anime.org/> robkelk -at- jksrv -dot- com
"I'm *not* a kid! Nyyyeaaah!" - Skuld (in "Oh My Goddess!" OAV #3)
"When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of
childishness and the desire to be very grown-up." - C.S. Lewis, 1947
Chibi-Light
2003-09-19 00:43:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rob Kelk
Really? When did the big-chain theatre that I saw "Mononoke" in become
an arthouse?
Tis true. I as well saw it in one of those monsterous 19,000,000
screen theaters.

Hell, same thing with Spirited Away, and the third time I viewed it
the place was packed. (second time doesn't really count seeing it was
Halloween night after all).

CL
---
Pre-order Glenn Beck's The Real America
www.glennbeck.com
Bean Fried Deja
2003-09-23 10:25:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chibi-Light
Post by Rob Kelk
Really? When did the big-chain theatre that I saw "Mononoke" in become
an arthouse?
Tis true. I as well saw it in one of those monsterous 19,000,000
screen theaters.
Hell, same thing with Spirited Away, and the third time I viewed it
the place was packed. (second time doesn't really count seeing it was
Halloween night after all).
CL
I don't know about Spirited Away but Princess Mononoke only played in
tiny arthouse theatres in Washington D.C., which is NOT a minor
market. Same thing in Rochester, NY where I was going to school at
the time.
Post by Chibi-Light
---
Pre-order Glenn Beck's The Real America
www.glennbeck.com
-Beans
unknown
2003-09-23 16:47:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bean Fried Deja
Post by Chibi-Light
Post by Rob Kelk
Really? When did the big-chain theatre that I saw "Mononoke" in become
an arthouse?
Tis true. I as well saw it in one of those monsterous 19,000,000
screen theaters.
Hell, same thing with Spirited Away, and the third time I viewed it
the place was packed. (second time doesn't really count seeing it was
Halloween night after all).
CL
I don't know about Spirited Away but Princess Mononoke only played in
tiny arthouse theatres in Washington D.C., which is NOT a minor
market. Same thing in Rochester, NY where I was going to school at
the time.
Spirited Away played at one of those huge blahblahblah-plexes in Baton
Rouge,which I guess is NOT a major market.
Post by Bean Fried Deja
Post by Chibi-Light
---
Pre-order Glenn Beck's The Real America
www.glennbeck.com
-Beans
Eric Schwartz
2003-09-23 19:40:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bean Fried Deja
I don't know about Spirited Away but Princess Mononoke only played in
tiny arthouse theatres in Washington D.C., which is NOT a minor
market. Same thing in Rochester, NY where I was going to school at
the time.
Princess Mononoke played in a normal N-plex (for relatively small
values of N; about 4-6, IIRC) in Colorado Springs, CO. Admittedly,
the crowd was nigh-nonexistant, but it wasn't an art-house release
(the one art-house theater in the Springs never showed it).

-=Eric
--
Come to think of it, there are already a million monkeys on a million
typewriters, and Usenet is NOTHING like Shakespeare.
-- Blair Houghton.
Juan F Lara
2003-09-16 17:59:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rob Kelk
However, Disney *has* tried the market, with "Princess Mononoke".
And when they tried it with "Spirited Away" they went for an arthouse
sized distribution that was reasonable in light of "Princess Mononoke"'s
performance.
People may want Disney to try harder, but OTOH Disney is already trying
harder than any other major US studio.

- Juan F. Lara
http://bellsouthpwp.net/l/a/lara6281/intro.html
Liz Broadwell
2003-09-16 18:46:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juan F Lara
Post by Rob Kelk
However, Disney *has* tried the market, with "Princess Mononoke".
And when they tried it with "Spirited Away" they went for an arthouse
sized distribution that was reasonable in light of "Princess Mononoke"'s
performance.
I became convinced that the art house strategy was probably the correct
on for _Spirited Away_ after I took several people to see it and they all
walked out saying, "Well, um, that was, um, you know, pretty strange."
All of these people have diverse moviegoing tastes; none of them were
averse to having their minds bent by a film; all of them agreed that the
animation was superb; and none of them thought it was the magnificent
piece of work I had advertised it to be. (All of them are still speaking
to me, though. :-) I stopped complaining about Disney's marketing
strategy and started grumbling about how if only everyone read Celtic
wonder tales while they were growing up (forget _Alice in Wonderland_;
try _The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel_), _SA_ wouldn't have looked so
um, you know, strange.

Peace,
Liz "just not in the cultural mainstream" B.
--
Elizabeth Broadwell (ebroadwe at dept dot english dot upenn dot edu) at
the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
"If wizardry [at Hogwarts] wasn't more fun, creative, and fascinating than
computer hacking, all the kids would switch to CompSci." (Andrew Plotkin,
r.a.sf.w., 09/08/03)
Juan F Lara
2003-09-16 19:07:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Liz Broadwell
Liz "just not in the cultural mainstream" B.
Times like these make me wish the whole of the United States was like
Austin, Texas. :-( Nearly every limited release movie opens in Austin,
including animes like "JinRoh" and "Cowboy Bebop". We got three screens of
"Spirited Away" last October. One of them was a mainstream multiplex screen
in prefab suburbia. That screen sold out all through the first weekend. The
crowd I saw it with loved the movie. I sat next to a guy who had never seen
a Miyazaki movie before and he was very impressed. I heard one guy say it's
like "Alice in Wonderland", on crack. :-) And a bunch of teenage girls were
cooing over Haku like he was Justin Timberlake. Austin is a great place for
a movie fan.
Now I live in Clemson, South Carolina. Anybody out there want to open
an indy plex in Greenville or Anderson? :-}

- Juan F. Lara
http://bellsouthpwp.net/l/a/lara6281/intro.html
RufusTFirefly
2003-09-16 19:33:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juan F Lara
Post by Rob Kelk
However, Disney *has* tried the market, with "Princess Mononoke".
And when they tried it with "Spirited Away" they went for an arthouse
sized distribution that was reasonable in light of "Princess Mononoke"'s
performance.
Disney did alot more with 'Spirited Away', getting it into multiplexes and
such.
Post by Juan F Lara
People may want Disney to try harder, but OTOH Disney is already trying
harder than any other major US studio.
- Juan F. Lara
http://bellsouthpwp.net/l/a/lara6281/intro.html
Blade
2003-09-16 15:42:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
Post by 8-Bit Star
Post by Blade
Post by Shouse
You're right on target about the failure to promote these
films in the US. I stumbled upon them by accident.
No she's not. Both movies would have bombed with a wider
release.
What makes you so sure? Seems to me that a film that was worthy
of an Oscar would probably also attract a moderate amount of
success as well.
Oh, moderate, to be sure. Heck, it DID have a moderate success.
But Spirited Away, with the best will in the world, wouldn't have
ever come close to something like Finding Nemo or Lilo&Stitch. The
market for that sort of animation just isn't there; quality of the
release nonwithstanding.
The trouble with that theory is that until somebody actually tries
the market, we will never know for sure. Goodness knows that Finding
I invite you to look at "The Iron Giant". Or "Titan A.E.". Or, hell,
even "Atlantis".

Blade
Ron Christian
2003-09-17 20:31:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Blade
Post by Chika
The trouble with that theory is that until somebody actually tries
the market, we will never know for sure. Goodness knows that Finding
I invite you to look at "The Iron Giant". Or "Titan A.E.". Or, hell,
even "Atlantis".
Iron Giant was worth seeing, but the marketing sucked. Titan A.E and
Atlantis had adequate marketing, but the films sucked.

I don't think we've seen the combination of a good film, wide release,
and good marketing yet. Spirited Away came close, but it's release,
although wider than most anime, was still (I believe) orders of magnitude
smaller than other Disney animated releases.


Ron
--
[http://www.christianfamilywebsite.com
"Portland: The city that works" -- Mayor Vera Katz
...By an overwhelming margin, Oregonians voted Portland the crappiest
city in Oregon. (The Oregonian, August 21, 2003)
Jorge Pratt
2003-09-17 02:34:31 UTC
Permalink
Trimmed the reply to include RAAM only.
<snip>
Post by Chika
Post by Blade
Oh, moderate, to be sure. Heck, it DID have a moderate success. But
Spirited Away, with the best will in the world, wouldn't have ever come
close to something like Finding Nemo or Lilo&Stitch. The market for
that sort of animation just isn't there; quality of the release
nonwithstanding.
The trouble with that theory is that until somebody actually tries the
market, we will never know for sure.
In that case, let's make a little experiment with the recent Mexican opening
of "El Viaje de Chihiro" (roughly, "Chihiro's Journey.")

Sept. 6 was the first of the "pre-release" showings --non-advertised
screenings that take place at 8 to 10 PM and in just a couple screens in
major cities. I went with six other friends, and we found quite a mainstream
crowd in attendance, including small children. Then, this Friday, it opened
officially at a whopping FORTY-FOUR screens in Mexico City alone, with an
average of four to five showings daily. Literally, all theater chains in
Mexico have at least one screen per cineplex running "Chihiro" at any given
time. As for public awareness, there are full-page color ads in major
newspapers and magazines, bus-stop posters, billboards every few miles, TV
spots, and more than adequate radio reviews and newspaper columns. Among
these, all major critics have loved it, even though everyone agrees that
children under ten will most likely be frightened and/or bored by certain
scenes.

The odd part is, Disney chose to distribute it anonymously. Despite the
publicity highlighting the Oscar and Golden Bear awards, you will find no
Mouse logos anywhere near the materials, up to and including the movie
itself --even the film print is the original Japanese master, with the Toho
presentation and all. I'd be willing to bet that few professional critics
know that the film is being distributed by Disney, to say nothing of the
general public.

Now, what does this bit mean? Personally, I would have preferred to see
Disney display their logos somewhere before the Blue Screen of Ghibli,
inasmuch as a larger mainstream audience would be lured into theaters.
However, I can see some logic behind this: perhaps Disney is using the Latin
American market, arguably their largest follower, as a measuring rod for the
success of these "niche" films before a completely oblivious audience. This
way, if the movie flops here, Disney can cut their losses without losing
face; otherwise, it would help them take bolder steps in releasing further
Ghibli features to a more receptive public.

I'm currently looking for Mexican sites that can yield the box-office
figures of both the opening weekend as well as the film's full run. Does
anyone know of US-based services that can also calculate international
figures?


The Zephyr
(Half-regretting having bought the R1 disc of Spirited Away, since this
release all but guarantees an R4 version with the top-notch Mexican dub...)
Janice
2003-09-16 17:54:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Blade
Oh, moderate, to be sure. Heck, it DID have a moderate success. But
Spirited Away, with the best will in the world, wouldn't have ever come
close to something like Finding Nemo or Lilo&Stitch. The market for that
sort of animation just isn't there; quality of the release
nonwithstanding.
Did Spirited Away have comic books, toys at Burger King, TV ad
saturation, voice actors guesting on Letterman?
Blade
2003-09-16 17:58:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Janice
Post by Blade
Oh, moderate, to be sure. Heck, it DID have a moderate success.
But Spirited Away, with the best will in the world, wouldn't have
ever come close to something like Finding Nemo or Lilo&Stitch. The
market for that sort of animation just isn't there; quality of the
release nonwithstanding.
Did Spirited Away have comic books, toys at Burger King, TV ad
saturation, voice actors guesting on Letterman?
No. Because Disney doesn't like throwing good money after a a useless
and quixotic quest.

Be happy with what they did. It's a hell of a lot more than they had to,
and a hell of a lot more than past experience might have pursuaded them
to.

Blade
Julian Fong
2003-09-16 18:42:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Blade
Post by Janice
Did Spirited Away have comic books, toys at Burger King, TV ad
saturation, voice actors guesting on Letterman?
No. Because Disney doesn't like throwing good money after a a useless
and quixotic quest.
Be happy with what they did. It's a hell of a lot more than they had to,
and a hell of a lot more than past experience might have pursuaded them
to.
They could have done one more thing: they could have tried saturation-marketing
it in Minneapolis like they did with Mononoke, just to see if anything changes.
Who knows, maybe more people would have wanted to see a movie whose title they
could pronounce.

I don't think any movie that's strongly influenced by Japanese culture is going
to be a major commercial success in the US. That goes for Mononoke, Sprited
Away and Millennium Actress. Cowboy Bebop *might* have been worth risking a
wider release, but popularity on CN doesn't necessarily translate to big
box-office: look at Powerpuff Girls. And Powerpuff Girls is more popular on CN
than Bebop.

Disney should have tried going wide with Laputa or Kiki, the most acultural
movies Miyazaki ever made, but again, they'd been burned on Mononoke and
perhaps they thought the age of the movies would be a turnoff for mainstream
audiences. The litmus test is going to be Howl's Moving Castle, Miyazaki's
next film. Diana Wynne-Jones's original book was set in a fantasy world with
occasional sidetrips to suburban Wales. If Disney picks up the rights to it,
and doesn't try to give it wide distribution, we'll know they really do have
their head up their ass.
--
Julian Fong
***@aol.comXYZZY
http://www.evilnet.net/~jhfong/
- Per ardua ad astra -
Juan F Lara
2003-09-16 19:13:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Julian Fong
I don't think any movie that's strongly influenced by Japanese culture is
going to be a major commercial success in the US. That goes for Mononoke,
Sprited Away and Millennium Actress. Cowboy Bebop *might* have been worth
risking a wider release
Even a $10 million boxoffice like what "Powerpuff Girls" did would've
been welcome. "Cowboy Bebop" should've been perceived as more accessible.
All through that first scene I thought Spike was doing his best Dirty Harry
impersonation.

- Juan F. Lara
Juan F Lara
2003-09-16 18:02:11 UTC
Permalink
Did Spirited Away have comic books, toys at Burger King, TV ad saturation,
voice actors guesting on Letterman?
You really want Happy Meal toys of Miyazaki movies?
Isn't preoccupation with how well movie merchandice will sell the thing
that ruined US cartoons in the first place?

- Juan F. Lara
Invid Fan
2003-09-16 21:34:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juan F Lara
Did Spirited Away have comic books, toys at Burger King, TV ad saturation,
voice actors guesting on Letterman?
You really want Happy Meal toys of Miyazaki movies?
Isn't preoccupation with how well movie merchandice will sell the thing
that ruined US cartoons in the first place?
You mean back when Walt licences Mickey Mouse watches in either the
1920's or 30's? I agree. It's been all downhill since then.
--
Chris Mack "Refugee, total shit. That's how I've always seen us.
'Invid Fan' Not a help, you'll admit, to agreement between us."
-'Deal/No Deal', CHESS
Juan F Lara
2003-09-16 17:53:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chika
However, this review has a slight problem. The American public largely
ignored both these movies because, to a great extent, they had been buried
by the company that had the job of promoting them in the US. It was released
to a minimal number of art houses, received little or no advertising
[ sigh ] This has been gone over and over again, and I think the way non-
Disney studios have released their animes has debunked this myth. "Spirited
Away" opened to 150 screens ultimately, before it won its Oscar. That's six
times more than what "Metropolis" or "Cowboy Bebop" got. SA got an opening
weekend of 28 screens. "Millennium Actress"? SIX! It seems to me that for
non-toy fad animes Disney is the one among major studios giving these movies
the best treatment.
Post by Chika
and even embarrased that company when the latter show had the temerity to win
an Oscar over shows it was pushing from its own stable,
Embarrassed? Not at all. Disney devoted a lot of advertising to
"Spirited Away" to get Oscar attention. Maybe even more than to "Treasure
Planet" or to "Lilo and Stitch" ( which personally I thought deserved the award
more ). The oscar victory got them some prestige by association.

- Juan F. Lara
http://bellsouthpwp.net/l/a/lara6281/intro.html
Sawfish
2003-09-13 14:11:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, the great master of anime and almost religiously regarded
among American animators, has had two widely acclaimed successes with
Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away. Neither movie, however, won the
hearts of majority of American moviegoers and regrettably I must side
with the American public.
Both movies are heavy and cumbersome, more cluttered than detailed,
repetitious, and horribly contradictory in terms of style. However,
let me at the very least state that both films are worth seeing for
Miyazaki's scope, ambition, and many nice touches by master filmmaker.
Yet, why do both movies fail to achieve greatness? First, Miyazaki's
main strength is that of a fascist aesthetician. It doesn't matter
that he's ideologically anti-militaristic or anti-fascist(even though
this too is debatable); Miyazaki is at his best when portraying and
presenting that very thing he's condemning. As an artist he's the heir
to Riefenstahl and Wagner; he's superb at conjuring up world torn
asunder by mighty war machines, apocalyptic visions and renewal thru
destruction, heroic striving to attain god-like status.
What you've described her is more like early 20th C romanticism, which
played itslef out is facist movements.
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
A movie
director who shares the same kind of strength is George Lucas. Sure,
Attack of Clones is a cautionary epic about fascist menace yet the
very strength of Lucas's vision is inseparable from what he's
condemning.
Both Lucas and Miyazaki are limited artists but at their best they can
mount incomparable spectacles of the grandest scope. Miyazaki's best
film is Laputa Castle in the Sky for it chanced Miyazaki to exercise
his primary talent: images of war, thunderous action, soaring
adventure, epic destruction beautifully balanced by friendship between
two wonderful children, wisdom of quietude, striving toward proportion
and balance. Same could be said for Nausicaa, Miyazaki's first great
artistic and commercial success.
I think that if you miss mentioning his mysticism, you are overlooking his
greatest strength.
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Among his later works, one really stands out: My Neigbor Totoro.
Unlike Nausicaa and Laputa, it's essentially a treat for kids though
adults will be delighted on the first viewing. It's basic idea and
plot work wonderfully, and Miyazaki's designs of supernatural forces
and wonders are brilliant in their simplicity and warmth. Totoro looks
like a cross between a bear and a sumo wrestler. The cat bus is both
big & roomy and nimble & nifty.
Less satisfying was Kiki with a plot that sunk and ended abruptly,
inexplicably, unsatisfactorily; worse, its message for girls was to be
a timid servant of society. Still, it had many lighthearted moments
and was generally cheerful.
Porco Rosso had more adult themes and characters and many bravura
action sequences but degenerated into pointlessness, culminating in a
dumb fight scene. Yet, it did have one of the most powerful pacifist
images ever put on screen and its flaw was that of underachievement
than overstriving.
Then came Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away, two movies where Miyazaki
strained himself to excess yet with comparatively meager results.
Mononoke Hime had some great images but Miyazaki's depiction of nature
lacked a sense of aura, the smell of earth and leaves, the rich
texture of earth and water. Though utilizing more advanced and
expensive animation process the movie resulted in images that were too
cleanly scrubbed,
Whoa! Did we see the same film? The sweeping forest vistas that looked
like the first day after creation? The diseased boar?

"Scrubbed"?
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
too precise to have that impressionistic sense of
bewilderment that is at the heart of nature. Worse, Miyazaki began to
make the mistake he carried to new heights in Spirited Away; he began
to repeat his established ideas; worse, to distort them into something
grosteque and ugly.
So, if in Laputa there was a baldheaded man with thick beard and
goggles, in Spirted Away that creature has been given 4 elongated
arms.
Yes, I will agree that characters and situations are beginning to
reappear.
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
If My Neighbor Totoro had dustbunnies, Spirted Away has
dustbunnies with legs. If his earlier films had a nasty old lady,
Spirited Away has a bigger, uglier, nastier old lady with a wart
several times bigger than those of old grannies in My Neigbor Totoro
and Laputa combined.
Gone are the simple but effective ideas like the creature Totoro.
Instead, we get 20 times more weird creatures but their odd
appearances are merely superflous, uninteresting, even annoying like
the alien creatures in Star Wars. Instead of wonderment, affection,
and/or awe inspired by Totoro or Ohmus in Nausicaa we get an endless
parade of goblins, deformities, and grossness. Miyazaki isn't tuning
his imagination but merely indulging in it as Federico Fellini in his
later films(starting with Juliet of the Spirits).
I think that phase started with 8 1/2.
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, best
suited for grand images and bold gestures ala Lucas and Riefenstahl,
seems to have discovered surrealism of, say, Bunuel. He's doing things
his talent is wholly unsuited for. He's stretching his ideas to
unintelligible visual gibberish, straining fantasy ideas into pompous
quasi-spiritual gobbledygook phantasmagoria. There's nothing in
Spirited Away that's as simple and fun as the catbus. Instead, we have
an underwater train that recalls the arthouse antics of Ingmar Bergman
or the dream imagery of painter Dali. What is this bogus shit?
Pretty much unique in today's cinema, that's what.
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
What I admired about Miyazaki at his best(even at his not-so-best)
prior to Mononoke was his movies had basics most anime works
disregarded: sense, character, story. Compared to airheaded cyberjunk
blow-em-ups like Akira, Miyazaki knew how to tell a story instead of
relying merely on empty fireworks. Yet, Spirited Away is nothing but a
series of effects, riots, and nonsensical chaos. It holds our
attention thru hysteria, headbuttings, pointless violence, and
tiresome magical interludes. It has stuff like a Jabba the Hut sized
shit taking a bath, the creature from Zeiram swallowing a Japanese
Kermito the frogu, a two ton baby who throws fits one moment and then
later spouts timeless wisdom to his two ton grandma who--don't ask me
why--sometimes turns into a crow(though unfortunately her ugly mug
remains 'human').
I find this to be generally applicable to traditional Japanese animee
storytelling though. There is a general acceptance of hidden motives and
forces that permit a story to be told, then upended by a secret, hidden
plot conection. Almost deus ex machina stuff.
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, to be sure, follows up each one of these excesses with a
lesson about life and nature, ecological mumbo jumbo but really, if
you gotta show this amount of fecal matter and vomit to make us wiser,
no thanks.
I think he is playing around with the Japanese cultural notion of
cleanliness.
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
The movie is similar in some respects to Alice in Wonderland but
Miyazaki's(perhaps Japanese, as a whole)style and approach are most
unsuited to creating the kind of world of Lewis Carroll. In Alice in
Wonderland, book and Disney film, the hallucinogenic unreality derives
from within, from Alice's mindbending dream-logic psychology.
Miyazaki's strength as artist is the polar opposite of what
constitutes surrealism. Even Miyazaki's fantastic visions are mythic,
grand, otherworldly; they are not psychological, inner directed,
probing, or deep.
IN my opinion, there is in Japanese narrative tradition a certain passive
acceptance of surprises. It is, I think, a cultural remnant of the extreme
peasant/noble relationship in which the motives of powerful exteral forces
(nobility) are unknown by the common folk.
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki is not Bunuel or David Lynch, not Lewis
Carroll. At best, he's a bombastic director of grandiose stories told
on a titanic scale. Even dreamstates in My Neighbor Totoro Miyazaki
work because they are flights into fanciful worlds, not as meandering
search for hidden symbolisms within our psyche. And so, unlike Alice
in Wonderland, Spirited Away is simply gross, oddball without being
fundamentally weird in a deeper, more unsettling sense.
I agree that Spiritd Away is basically woolgathering.
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Also, the main
character is another Miyazaki archetype that's half conservative timid
Japanese girl and only superficially enlightened modern girl.
For god's sake!!! That's Japanese culure he's showing you!!! That's 21st C
Japanese dualism: superstitious passivity under a veneer of modernity.
There's a slowly emerging tension, but very slowly emerging.
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
The
message of the movie is modern people only know consumption and
excretion. That we eat up nature and have no clue as to how out of
whack our accounting is with nature and the spirit world. And, so the
little heroine learns something about how to be a dutiful, servile
girl who suppresses her modern individuality and learns to be humble,
devoted to the mythic past when man and nature supposedly lived in
harmony. Somehow, this was more fun with Kurosawa's dreams than in
Miyazaki's latest visual gross out fest or feast that sadly more
resembles one especially odious skit in Monty Python's Meaning of
Life.
Yet, how did this movie become the biggest boxoffice hit in Japan? I
think it has more to do with its calculated blend of endless array of
empty but distracting effects with its tiresome but always comforting
message about how we need to restore balance and order in our hearts
and in the world. Snore!
It resonantes with the Japanese in many ways. It fails to do so here in
many ways, yet still scores highly enough in execution and surprise (dried
salamander?) that it had appeal.

Just not the same appeal as in Japan.
--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"If we use Occam's Razor, whose razor will *he* use?" --Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ken Arromdee
2003-09-13 17:25:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sawfish
For god's sake!!! That's Japanese culure he's showing you!!! That's 21st C
Japanese dualism: superstitious passivity under a veneer of modernity.
There's a slowly emerging tension, but very slowly emerging.
That post was a troll, even though not the Gaza type of troll. Would you
people please stop responding to it? (It's not on-topic in alt.fan.bgcrisis
either.)
--
Ken Arromdee / arromdee_AT_rahul.net / http://www.rahul.net/arromdee

"How pleasant it would be if only we lived a hundred years ago when it was
easy to get servants."
"It would be horrible... We'd be the servants." -- Isaac Asimov
El Durango
2003-09-14 01:00:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ken Arromdee
Post by Sawfish
For god's sake!!! That's Japanese culure he's showing you!!! That's 21st C
Japanese dualism: superstitious passivity under a veneer of modernity.
There's a slowly emerging tension, but very slowly emerging.
That post was a troll, even though not the Gaza type of troll. Would you
people please stop responding to it? (It's not on-topic in
alt.fan.bgcrisis
Post by Ken Arromdee
either.)
--
Ken Arromdee / arromdee_AT_rahul.net /
http://www.rahul.net/arromdee
Post by Ken Arromdee
"How pleasant it would be if only we lived a hundred years ago when it was
easy to get servants."
"It would be horrible... We'd be the servants." -- Isaac Asimov
How does his opinion make him a troll, please explain.
Chika
2003-09-14 11:31:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by El Durango
How does his opinion make him a troll, please explain.
You have to appreciate the modus operandii of said troll. By encouching
what is liable to be inflammable material and assumptions in language that
might be mistaken for valid critical evaluation, then crossposting it to
groups that have little or no connection to the subject at hand, said
troll attempts to cause trouble. A lot of what was said in it contradicts
itself, if you look through it, and much more contradicts the facts too.
This isn't because the writer is making a mistake, it is because they want
to start an argument.

Believe me, the various folk at a.f.bgc and raam are well aware of Gaza
and his aspiration of media critic stardom, or at the very least of his
trolling behaviour.
--
//\ // Chika <miyuki at crashnet.org.uk>
// \// MMW Crashnet <crashnet.org.uk>

... Take care of the pennies and the Inland Revenue will take care of the rest.
Juan F Lara
2003-09-14 20:18:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by El Durango
How does his opinion make him a troll, please explain.
Tony Gaza has been a troll for years on end. Sometimes he can write
decent posts. But when I saw this name he used I remembered that weeks ago
he used this name to post NeoNazi spams on all these newsgroups.

- Juan F. Lara
Cathy Parker
2003-09-13 20:03:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, the great master of anime and almost religiously regarded
among American animators, has had two widely acclaimed successes with
Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away. Neither movie, however, won the
hearts of majority of American moviegoers and regrettably I must side
with the American public.
Both movies are heavy and cumbersome, more cluttered than detailed,
repetitious, and horribly contradictory in terms of style. However,
let me at the very least state that both films are worth seeing for
Miyazaki's scope, ambition, and many nice touches by master filmmaker.
Yet, why do both movies fail to achieve greatness? First, Miyazaki's
main strength is that of a fascist aesthetician. It doesn't matter
that he's ideologically anti-militaristic or anti-fascist(even though
this too is debatable); Miyazaki is at his best when portraying and
presenting that very thing he's condemning. As an artist he's the heir
to Riefenstahl and Wagner; he's superb at conjuring up world torn
asunder by mighty war machines, apocalyptic visions and renewal thru
destruction, heroic striving to attain god-like status.
What you've described her is more like early 20th C romanticism, which
played itslef out is facist movements.
Miyazaki at his best deals with romanticism perverted into fascism.
Nausicaa and Laputa both gain power thru Miyazaki's cautionary but
spectacular presentation of power concentrated in god wanna-be's. In
fact, the sane message gains resonance only as counterpoint to such
grand, heightened madness.
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
A movie
director who shares the same kind of strength is George Lucas. Sure,
Attack of Clones is a cautionary epic about fascist menace yet the
very strength of Lucas's vision is inseparable from what he's
condemning.
Both Lucas and Miyazaki are limited artists but at their best they can
mount incomparable spectacles of the grandest scope. Miyazaki's best
film is Laputa Castle in the Sky for it chanced Miyazaki to exercise
his primary talent: images of war, thunderous action, soaring
adventure, epic destruction beautifully balanced by friendship between
two wonderful children, wisdom of quietude, striving toward proportion
and balance. Same could be said for Nausicaa, Miyazaki's first great
artistic and commercial success.
I think that if you miss mentioning his mysticism, you are overlooking his
greatest strength.
He's not a mystic but a visionary. He's too enamoured of surface
reality, of physical beauty to qualify as a mystic. He's a pagan
romanticist; his notion of spirituality fixates on nature, never
transcending or surpassing nature into deeper sources.
Japanese spirituality, though influenced by mystical traditions in
Buddhism, was always more indigenous, nature centered and directed,
obsessed with form than formlessness.
Also, Miyazaki's message works best when he hints at his vision of
balance between man and nature, as in key scenes in Nausicaa or the
final scene in Laputa. When he tries to cram it up our ass as in
Mononoke, it just aint fun. And, it doesn't help that divine force of
nature in Mononoke took the form of inflatable godzilla doll with a
face of gnu.
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Among his later works, one really stands out: My Neigbor Totoro.
Unlike Nausicaa and Laputa, it's essentially a treat for kids though
adults will be delighted on the first viewing. It's basic idea and
plot work wonderfully, and Miyazaki's designs of supernatural forces
and wonders are brilliant in their simplicity and warmth. Totoro looks
like a cross between a bear and a sumo wrestler. The cat bus is both
big & roomy and nimble & nifty.
Less satisfying was Kiki with a plot that sunk and ended abruptly,
inexplicably, unsatisfactorily; worse, its message for girls was to be
a timid servant of society. Still, it had many lighthearted moments
and was generally cheerful.
Porco Rosso had more adult themes and characters and many bravura
action sequences but degenerated into pointlessness, culminating in a
dumb fight scene. Yet, it did have one of the most powerful pacifist
images ever put on screen and its flaw was that of underachievement
than overstriving.
Then came Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away, two movies where Miyazaki
strained himself to excess yet with comparatively meager results.
Mononoke Hime had some great images but Miyazaki's depiction of nature
lacked a sense of aura, the smell of earth and leaves, the rich
texture of earth and water. Though utilizing more advanced and
expensive animation process the movie resulted in images that were too
cleanly scrubbed,
Whoa! Did we see the same film? The sweeping forest vistas that looked
like the first day after creation? The diseased boar?
"Scrubbed"?
That's the problem. It looks like the first day after creation.
Everything looks too new, too clean, yes, 'scrubbed'. Compare the more
subtle, muted use of colors in Nausicaa. Or, consider the Sky Castle
in Laputa, where there's more than bright greens: mysterious watery
depths, fallen foilage, the rich layers of moss and ivy; gentle breeze
as well as powerful windstorms. Mononoke Hime is one brash boldness
followed by another, in style, in action, and characterization.
Miyazaki's idea of more adult oriented film is where violence is
pushed to graphic extremes, where everyone/thing growls more
ferociously, endlessly make big speeches and whatnot. Far more
effective was the villain of Laputa whose first impression was
gentlemanly and then only gradually revealed the evil under the mask.

As for the diseased boar, what a lame idea to express its distress by
covering it with tentacle like worms, an anime cliche. And, the very
size of the boar indicates an overblown artistic imagination, whether
the sense of mythic grandeur was literally translated into elephant
sized boars, rhino sized wolves.
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Gone are the simple but effective ideas like the creature Totoro.
Instead, we get 20 times more weird creatures but their odd
appearances are merely superflous, uninteresting, even annoying like
the alien creatures in Star Wars. Instead of wonderment, affection,
and/or awe inspired by Totoro or Ohmus in Nausicaa we get an endless
parade of goblins, deformities, and grossness. Miyazaki isn't tuning
his imagination but merely indulging in it as Federico Fellini in his
later films(starting with Juliet of the Spirits).
I think that phase started with 8 1/2.
Sort of. Except that in 8 1/2 it worked and there was enough of the
old Fellini to hold it together. It's with Juliet of the Spirits that
the weirdness took the foreground, where fantasies matter more than
the fantasizers. Yet, even these indulgent films were admirable for
they came naturally to Fellini who was a circus master among
filmmakers. Yet, I really think Miyazaki is going against his natural
strengths. The strain is showing.
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, best
suited for grand images and bold gestures ala Lucas and Riefenstahl,
seems to have discovered surrealism of, say, Bunuel. He's doing things
his talent is wholly unsuited for. He's stretching his ideas to
unintelligible visual gibberish, straining fantasy ideas into pompous
quasi-spiritual gobbledygook phantasmagoria. There's nothing in
Spirited Away that's as simple and fun as the catbus. Instead, we have
an underwater train that recalls the arthouse antics of Ingmar Bergman
or the dream imagery of painter Dali. What is this bogus shit?
Pretty much unique in today's cinema, that's what.
Hardly unique in anime. I've seen this magical weird stuff in
countless other animes such as Vampire Princess Miyu(good), Wind
called Amnesia(bad!).
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, to be sure, follows up each one of these excesses with a
lesson about life and nature, ecological mumbo jumbo but really, if
you gotta show this amount of fecal matter and vomit to make us wiser,
no thanks.
I think he is playing around with the Japanese cultural notion of
cleanliness.
Yet, he falls into the same trap. He's opposed to the notion of
artificial sterile cleanliness where we shut out nature but he
romanticizes nature as essentially clean and refreshing. So, in
essence Miyazaki's vision of nature itself is sterile, that of bottled
spring water.
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
The movie is similar in some respects to Alice in Wonderland but
Miyazaki's(perhaps Japanese, as a whole)style and approach are most
unsuited to creating the kind of world of Lewis Carroll. In Alice in
Wonderland, book and Disney film, the hallucinogenic unreality derives
from within, from Alice's mindbending dream-logic psychology.
Miyazaki's strength as artist is the polar opposite of what
constitutes surrealism. Even Miyazaki's fantastic visions are mythic,
grand, otherworldly; they are not psychological, inner directed,
probing, or deep.
IN my opinion, there is in Japanese narrative tradition a certain passive
acceptance of surprises. It is, I think, a cultural remnant of the extreme
peasant/noble relationship in which the motives of powerful exteral forces
(nobility) are unknown by the common folk.
We like surprises too. But you can't have one in every corner to the
point where surprises become the norm, even boring and tiresome.
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Also, the main
character is another Miyazaki archetype that's half conservative timid
Japanese girl and only superficially enlightened modern girl.
For god's sake!!! That's Japanese culure he's showing you!!! That's 21st C
Japanese dualism: superstitious passivity under a veneer of modernity.
There's a slowly emerging tension, but very slowly emerging.
He did this in Kiki. It's about time he stop.
What's the point of giving us a character with special powers and then
telling us that gifted people in society should meekly and
submissively repress their unique talent to conform and serve? Hammer
the nail that sticks up? A movie about a lame kid doing lame stuff is
fine. But, if you're gonna give us characters with special talent or
power, let them soar. Which is why I love Laputa. The kids learn a
valuable lesson in the end but they remain adventurers, free spirits.
But, Kiki and Spirited Away goes thru a whole lot of shaking going on
to conclude that we should be more mindful of good manners. Boring.
One fresh thing about the movie is the more regular features of the
characters. A girl who's kinda plain, her father with a paunch. Gone
are the fetishes of ideal physical creatures, yet I didn't need all
that wallowing in ugliness in the Hall of the gods which is a
warehouse of grotesqueries. Yuck.
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Yet, how did this movie become the biggest boxoffice hit in Japan? I
think it has more to do with its calculated blend of endless array of
empty but distracting effects with its tiresome but always comforting
message about how we need to restore balance and order in our hearts
and in the world. Snore!
It resonantes with the Japanese in many ways. It fails to do so here in
many ways, yet still scores highly enough in execution and surprise (dried
salamander?) that it had appeal.
Just not the same appeal as in Japan.
I think Japanese parents are blindly relying on Miyazaki as American
parents automatically take their kids to the latest Disney CGI
offering. Depressing in either case.

And, didn't Miyazaki say Mononoke would his last? Isn't honesty a
virtue?
Sawfish
2003-09-15 03:37:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cathy Parker
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, the great master of anime and almost religiously regarded
among American animators, has had two widely acclaimed successes with
Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away. Neither movie, however, won the
hearts of majority of American moviegoers and regrettably I must side
with the American public.
Both movies are heavy and cumbersome, more cluttered than detailed,
repetitious, and horribly contradictory in terms of style. However,
let me at the very least state that both films are worth seeing for
Miyazaki's scope, ambition, and many nice touches by master filmmaker.
Yet, why do both movies fail to achieve greatness? First, Miyazaki's
main strength is that of a fascist aesthetician. It doesn't matter
that he's ideologically anti-militaristic or anti-fascist(even though
this too is debatable); Miyazaki is at his best when portraying and
presenting that very thing he's condemning. As an artist he's the heir
to Riefenstahl and Wagner; he's superb at conjuring up world torn
asunder by mighty war machines, apocalyptic visions and renewal thru
destruction, heroic striving to attain god-like status.
What you've described her is more like early 20th C romanticism, which
played itslef out is facist movements.
Miyazaki at his best deals with romanticism perverted into fascism.
Nausicaa and Laputa both gain power thru Miyazaki's cautionary but
spectacular presentation of power concentrated in god wanna-be's. In
fact, the sane message gains resonance only as counterpoint to such
grand, heightened madness.
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
A movie
director who shares the same kind of strength is George Lucas. Sure,
Attack of Clones is a cautionary epic about fascist menace yet the
very strength of Lucas's vision is inseparable from what he's
condemning.
Both Lucas and Miyazaki are limited artists but at their best they can
mount incomparable spectacles of the grandest scope. Miyazaki's best
film is Laputa Castle in the Sky for it chanced Miyazaki to exercise
his primary talent: images of war, thunderous action, soaring
adventure, epic destruction beautifully balanced by friendship between
two wonderful children, wisdom of quietude, striving toward proportion
and balance. Same could be said for Nausicaa, Miyazaki's first great
artistic and commercial success.
I think that if you miss mentioning his mysticism, you are overlooking his
greatest strength.
He's not a mystic but a visionary. He's too enamoured of surface
reality, of physical beauty to qualify as a mystic. He's a pagan
romanticist; his notion of spirituality fixates on nature, never
transcending or surpassing nature into deeper sources.
Japanese spirituality, though influenced by mystical traditions in
Buddhism, was always more indigenous, nature centered and directed,
obsessed with form than formlessness.
That's Shinto in a nutshell...

Perhaps "mysticism" is the wrong word, although that's the word I chose to
describe Miyazaki's fascination with the spiritual, animist world.
Post by Cathy Parker
Also, Miyazaki's message works best when he hints at his vision of
balance between man and nature, as in key scenes in Nausicaa or the
final scene in Laputa. When he tries to cram it up our ass as in
Mononoke, it just aint fun. And, it doesn't help that divine force of
nature in Mononoke took the form of inflatable godzilla doll with a
face of gnu.
Yes, but the transformation was visually one of the most stunnig things
I've seen in animal -- I remember it to this day.
Post by Cathy Parker
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Among his later works, one really stands out: My Neigbor Totoro.
Unlike Nausicaa and Laputa, it's essentially a treat for kids though
adults will be delighted on the first viewing. It's basic idea and
plot work wonderfully, and Miyazaki's designs of supernatural forces
and wonders are brilliant in their simplicity and warmth. Totoro looks
like a cross between a bear and a sumo wrestler. The cat bus is both
big & roomy and nimble & nifty.
Less satisfying was Kiki with a plot that sunk and ended abruptly,
inexplicably, unsatisfactorily; worse, its message for girls was to be
a timid servant of society. Still, it had many lighthearted moments
and was generally cheerful.
Porco Rosso had more adult themes and characters and many bravura
action sequences but degenerated into pointlessness, culminating in a
dumb fight scene. Yet, it did have one of the most powerful pacifist
images ever put on screen and its flaw was that of underachievement
than overstriving.
Then came Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away, two movies where Miyazaki
strained himself to excess yet with comparatively meager results.
Mononoke Hime had some great images but Miyazaki's depiction of nature
lacked a sense of aura, the smell of earth and leaves, the rich
texture of earth and water. Though utilizing more advanced and
expensive animation process the movie resulted in images that were too
cleanly scrubbed,
Whoa! Did we see the same film? The sweeping forest vistas that looked
like the first day after creation? The diseased boar?
"Scrubbed"?
That's the problem. It looks like the first day after creation.
Everything looks too new, too clean, yes, 'scrubbed'. Compare the more
subtle, muted use of colors in Nausicaa. Or, consider the Sky Castle
in Laputa, where there's more than bright greens: mysterious watery
depths, fallen foilage, the rich layers of moss and ivy; gentle breeze
as well as powerful windstorms. Mononoke Hime is one brash boldness
followed by another, in style, in action, and characterization.
Miyazaki's idea of more adult oriented film is where violence is
pushed to graphic extremes, where everyone/thing growls more
ferociously, endlessly make big speeches and whatnot. Far more
effective was the villain of Laputa whose first impression was
gentlemanly and then only gradually revealed the evil under the mask.
I think of Mononoke as "epic" and Laputa as an episodic melodrama.
Post by Cathy Parker
As for the diseased boar, what a lame idea to express its distress by
covering it with tentacle like worms, an anime cliche. And, the very
size of the boar indicates an overblown artistic imagination, whether
the sense of mythic grandeur was literally translated into elephant
sized boars, rhino sized wolves.
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Gone are the simple but effective ideas like the creature Totoro.
Instead, we get 20 times more weird creatures but their odd
appearances are merely superflous, uninteresting, even annoying like
the alien creatures in Star Wars. Instead of wonderment, affection,
and/or awe inspired by Totoro or Ohmus in Nausicaa we get an endless
parade of goblins, deformities, and grossness. Miyazaki isn't tuning
his imagination but merely indulging in it as Federico Fellini in his
later films(starting with Juliet of the Spirits).
I think that phase started with 8 1/2.
Sort of. Except that in 8 1/2 it worked and there was enough of the
old Fellini to hold it together. It's with Juliet of the Spirits that
the weirdness took the foreground, where fantasies matter more than
the fantasizers. Yet, even these indulgent films were admirable for
they came naturally to Fellini who was a circus master among
filmmakers. Yet, I really think Miyazaki is going against his natural
strengths. The strain is showing.
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, best
suited for grand images and bold gestures ala Lucas and Riefenstahl,
seems to have discovered surrealism of, say, Bunuel. He's doing things
his talent is wholly unsuited for. He's stretching his ideas to
unintelligible visual gibberish, straining fantasy ideas into pompous
quasi-spiritual gobbledygook phantasmagoria. There's nothing in
Spirited Away that's as simple and fun as the catbus. Instead, we have
an underwater train that recalls the arthouse antics of Ingmar Bergman
or the dream imagery of painter Dali. What is this bogus shit?
Pretty much unique in today's cinema, that's what.
Hardly unique in anime. I've seen this magical weird stuff in
countless other animes such as Vampire Princess Miyu(good), Wind
called Amnesia(bad!).
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, to be sure, follows up each one of these excesses with a
lesson about life and nature, ecological mumbo jumbo but really, if
you gotta show this amount of fecal matter and vomit to make us wiser,
no thanks.
I think he is playing around with the Japanese cultural notion of
cleanliness.
Yet, he falls into the same trap. He's opposed to the notion of
artificial sterile cleanliness where we shut out nature but he
romanticizes nature as essentially clean and refreshing. So, in
essence Miyazaki's vision of nature itself is sterile, that of bottled
spring water.
This is certainly a coked-up response. It reminds me of the way I used to
stretch in my Literary Criticism classes.

The problem with your previous statement, and pretty much all of what
you've written in this reply is that it takes my point, builds a false
premise of it, one that srings from no logical relationship to my point,
and then proceeds to whack the shit out of the ole strawman.

When you say Miyazki "gotta show this amount of fecal matter and vomit to
make us wiser," and I say he's "playing around with the Japanese cultural
notion of cleanliness," you've got to do better than reply with

"...Yet, he falls into the same trap. He's opposed to the notion of
artificial sterile cleanliness where we shut out nature but he
romanticizes nature as essentially clean and refreshing. So, in
essence Miyazaki's vision of nature itself is sterile, that of bottled
spring water."

HOW does he fall in to the same trap by showing us filth (on which we both
agree) and by showing us nature as clean (your contention--I'm not yet
convinced that this is more than your subjective observation, overblown to
make a point, in the manner of a sencond year English student.)
Post by Cathy Parker
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
The movie is similar in some respects to Alice in Wonderland but
Miyazaki's(perhaps Japanese, as a whole)style and approach are most
unsuited to creating the kind of world of Lewis Carroll. In Alice in
Wonderland, book and Disney film, the hallucinogenic unreality derives
from within, from Alice's mindbending dream-logic psychology.
Miyazaki's strength as artist is the polar opposite of what
constitutes surrealism. Even Miyazaki's fantastic visions are mythic,
grand, otherworldly; they are not psychological, inner directed,
probing, or deep.
IN my opinion, there is in Japanese narrative tradition a certain passive
acceptance of surprises. It is, I think, a cultural remnant of the extreme
peasant/noble relationship in which the motives of powerful exteral forces
(nobility) are unknown by the common folk.
We like surprises too. But you can't have one in every corner to the
point where surprises become the norm, even boring and tiresome.
Well, shit, buddy. This is exactly the primary weakness of 90% of the
animee I've seen. It exists because it is what the Japanese domestic
market expects and accepts, and that's because:

"there is in Japanese narrative tradition a certain passive
acceptance of surprises."
Post by Cathy Parker
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Also, the main
character is another Miyazaki archetype that's half conservative timid
Japanese girl and only superficially enlightened modern girl.
For god's sake!!! That's Japanese culure he's showing you!!! That's 21st C
Japanese dualism: superstitious passivity under a veneer of modernity.
There's a slowly emerging tension, but very slowly emerging.
He did this in Kiki. It's about time he stop.
They're still working thru it. The Japanese aren't finsihed yet, that's
why he doesn't stop.
Post by Cathy Parker
What's the point of giving us a character with special powers and then
telling us that gifted people in society should meekly and
submissively repress their unique talent to conform and serve? Hammer
the nail that sticks up? A movie about a lame kid doing lame stuff is
fine. But, if you're gonna give us characters with special talent or
power, let them soar.
Becasue this reinforces Japanese stereotypes that they have of themselves,
and they are thereby comforted.

"The nail that sticks up gets hammered."

Surely you've heard that?
Post by Cathy Parker
Which is why I love Laputa. The kids learn a
valuable lesson in the end but they remain adventurers, free spirits.
But, Kiki and Spirited Away goes thru a whole lot of shaking going on
to conclude that we should be more mindful of good manners. Boring.
Well, that's Japan for ya.
Post by Cathy Parker
One fresh thing about the movie is the more regular features of the
characters. A girl who's kinda plain, her father with a paunch. Gone
are the fetishes of ideal physical creatures, yet I didn't need all
that wallowing in ugliness in the Hall of the gods which is a
warehouse of grotesqueries. Yuck.
I liked it. It gives me the same sort of vicarious thrill that I get by
watching something like Goodfellas: it's interesting as hll to watch these
guys, and I'm glad I'll never have to meet any of them in order to observe
them like this.
Post by Cathy Parker
Post by Sawfish
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Yet, how did this movie become the biggest boxoffice hit in Japan? I
think it has more to do with its calculated blend of endless array of
empty but distracting effects with its tiresome but always comforting
message about how we need to restore balance and order in our hearts
and in the world. Snore!
It resonantes with the Japanese in many ways. It fails to do so here in
many ways, yet still scores highly enough in execution and surprise (dried
salamander?) that it had appeal.
Just not the same appeal as in Japan.
I think Japanese parents are blindly relying on Miyazaki as American
parents automatically take their kids to the latest Disney CGI
offering. Depressing in either case.
Yes, but it's human nature to take the easy way out.
Post by Cathy Parker
And, didn't Miyazaki say Mononoke would his last? Isn't honesty a
virtue?
Hell if I know what he said, or care.
--
--Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"If there's one thing I can't stand, it's intolerance."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Arnold Kim
2003-09-13 15:15:39 UTC
Permalink
<looks at newsgroup headers>

Does anyone else smell Gaza here?

Arnold Kim
Blade
2003-09-13 15:30:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Arnold Kim
<looks at newsgroup headers>
Does anyone else smell Gaza here?
Spelling seems too good, really.

Blade
John Harkness
2003-09-13 15:32:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Arnold Kim
<looks at newsgroup headers>
Does anyone else smell Gaza here?
Arnold Kim
well, duh. He' popping new nicks faster than I can killfile them.

John
Rob Kelk
2003-09-13 17:51:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Harkness
Post by Arnold Kim
<looks at newsgroup headers>
Does anyone else smell Gaza here?
Arnold Kim
well, duh. He' popping new nicks faster than I can killfile them.
Just killfile anything crossposted to both rec.arts.movies.past-films
and alt.fan.bgcrisis - the two groups have absolutely zero overlap in
content, so anything crossposted to both is either spam, a Gaza-type
troll-attempt, or a followup to one of those. That way, you don't have
to worry about what screen-name it's chosen to use.

(If your newsreader can't killfile by newsgroup line, then surf to
<http://www.nfilter.org> and download a freeware killfile that's up to
the challenge.)

Followups trimmed mercilessly.
--
Rob Kelk
robkelk -at- jksrv -dot- com
Member of, but not speaking for, the Ottawa News Administrators Group
AstroNerdBoy
2003-09-13 17:04:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Arnold Kim
<looks at newsgroup headers>
Does anyone else smell Gaza here?
Arnold Kim
Hey! It's the new word of the day. ;-D
Derek Janssen
2003-09-13 17:01:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Snore!
(Well, at least he's not putting "Totoro" in every crosspost header this
time...)

Derek Janssen
djanss.com
Eve Dwyer
2003-09-14 13:20:28 UTC
Permalink
For starters I would like to say that I have been a huge Anime fan for some
time now and when I read this I thought "How can you say that? That isn't
true!" For instance, when it was stated that BOTH movies, Spitied Away and
Princess Mononoke, "failed to achieve greatness" (where were you looking?)
the mindless style crazzed Teen People? Princess Mononoke and Spiritedd Away
both joined other Miyazaki masterpieces in an international hall of fame,
rather than were not understood and mis-viewed by many American viewers.
Even though they may not have been box office hits Spirited Away did recieve
the best animation award at the Academy Awards this past year.

To call Mr. Miyazaki's work "cluttered and repetitious" is appauling! What
you found so cluttered and repetitious I will never know; However, I can say
that any repetition and so called cluttered bits were put in to support the
story and it's characters. Also this just may give some of that extra appeal
to the viewers for they can perhaps identify with the characters, because
truly whoes life isn't a little repetitious and cluttered at some points?

I realized that I had to reply to your disgusting remarks on Anime when I
started to read the paragraph where you brought in Star Wars. Using Star
Wars Attack of the Clones to compare to an Anime is a rediculous trade off.
Unless it is a Mecha or space themed Anime there is NO comparison to be
made. That is basically like comparing a tree to an all metal sky-scrapper.
My point here is Anime can't properlly be compared unless it is with other
Anime or real life situations.

Further down in the letter where you mention that the movie, Kiki's Delivery
Service, you slaughterd it, claiming it to be "unsatisfactory". And to say
that the movie had an undelying message to girls to be timid and servants to
society is a empy statement to make. Kiki was meant to be about a little
girl who goes out on her own to learn about becomming independant. (not
servants to society) Above all it is about finding a life for yourself that
you are happy with.

While I'm on the subject of explaining to you what these masterpieces really
meant I might as well explain Spirited Away. Now for all who have seen it we
remember how Chihiro and her parents make their way to the abandoned theme
park, and of course we remeber that her parents began to eat loads of food
that they found at a resteraunt. Well latter when the spirits in the town
are rising and Chihiro is rushing to find her parents she find pigs in her
parents clothes instead. We assume here that this means her parents have
eaten so much that they turned into pigs......No instead Chihiro only
thought they were pigs because of the way they were acting. Also nearer the
end of the movie when Sen is meant to choose her parents out of the group of
pigs she then realizes that they infact never were pigs at all. While Sen is
working at the bath house and the stink spirt comes in no one respects him
or will serve him; However, as Sen is cleaning him she finds a thorn that
latter is found to be a biycicle handle. Anyway to make a long explanation
short the stink spirit was really a great river spirit that's river had been
poluted. I could go on but my point to all of this is so many eliments in
the Miyazaki films (and other Animes) are more than the eye sees and may
require it's viewers to, dare I say it THINK! American movies don't do that!
they don't make you have to watch the movie again and say "Hey ya that guy
in the end really didn't kill her" or what ever.

So to the person I am disagreeing with - nothing personnal but, I feel you
should go back and forget about the Americans teaching you that you don't
have to think durring a movie. And maybe by doing this Miyazaki's films will
dazzle you and pull you in. (Even though you don't have to be able to think
for them to do that.) ^_^
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Miyazaki, the great master of anime and almost religiously regarded
among American animators, has had two widely acclaimed successes with
Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away. Neither movie, however, won the
hearts of majority of American moviegoers and regrettably I must side
with the American public.
Both movies are heavy and cumbersome, more cluttered than detailed,
repetitious, and horribly contradictory in terms of style. However,
let me at the very least state that both films are worth seeing for
Miyazaki's scope, ambition, and many nice touches by master filmmaker.
Yet, why do both movies fail to achieve greatness? First, Miyazaki's
main strength is that of a fascist aesthetician. It doesn't matter
that he's ideologically anti-militaristic or anti-fascist(even though
this too is debatable); Miyazaki is at his best when portraying and
presenting that very thing he's condemning. As an artist he's the heir
to Riefenstahl and Wagner; he's superb at conjuring up world torn
asunder by mighty war machines, apocalyptic visions and renewal thru
destruction, heroic striving to attain god-like status. A movie
director who shares the same kind of strength is George Lucas. Sure,
Attack of Clones is a cautionary epic about fascist menace yet the
very strength of Lucas's vision is inseparable from what he's
condemning.
Both Lucas and Miyazaki are limited artists but at their best they can
mount incomparable spectacles of the grandest scope. Miyazaki's best
film is Laputa Castle in the Sky for it chanced Miyazaki to exercise
his primary talent: images of war, thunderous action, soaring
adventure, epic destruction beautifully balanced by friendship between
two wonderful children, wisdom of quietude, striving toward proportion
and balance. Same could be said for Nausicaa, Miyazaki's first great
artistic and commercial success.
Among his later works, one really stands out: My Neigbor Totoro.
Unlike Nausicaa and Laputa, it's essentially a treat for kids though
adults will be delighted on the first viewing. It's basic idea and
plot work wonderfully, and Miyazaki's designs of supernatural forces
and wonders are brilliant in their simplicity and warmth. Totoro looks
like a cross between a bear and a sumo wrestler. The cat bus is both
big & roomy and nimble & nifty.
Less satisfying was Kiki with a plot that sunk and ended abruptly,
inexplicably, unsatisfactorily; worse, its message for girls was to be
a timid servant of society. Still, it had many lighthearted moments
and was generally cheerful.
Porco Rosso had more adult themes and characters and many bravura
action sequences but degenerated into pointlessness, culminating in a
dumb fight scene. Yet, it did have one of the most powerful pacifist
images ever put on screen and its flaw was that of underachievement
than overstriving.
Then came Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away, two movies where Miyazaki
strained himself to excess yet with comparatively meager results.
Mononoke Hime had some great images but Miyazaki's depiction of nature
lacked a sense of aura, the smell of earth and leaves, the rich
texture of earth and water. Though utilizing more advanced and
expensive animation process the movie resulted in images that were too
cleanly scrubbed, too precise to have that impressionistic sense of
bewilderment that is at the heart of nature. Worse, Miyazaki began to
make the mistake he carried to new heights in Spirited Away; he began
to repeat his established ideas; worse, to distort them into something
grosteque and ugly.
So, if in Laputa there was a baldheaded man with thick beard and
goggles, in Spirted Away that creature has been given 4 elongated
arms. If My Neighbor Totoro had dustbunnies, Spirted Away has
dustbunnies with legs. If his earlier films had a nasty old lady,
Spirited Away has a bigger, uglier, nastier old lady with a wart
several times bigger than those of old grannies in My Neigbor Totoro
and Laputa combined.
Gone are the simple but effective ideas like the creature Totoro.
Instead, we get 20 times more weird creatures but their odd
appearances are merely superflous, uninteresting, even annoying like
the alien creatures in Star Wars. Instead of wonderment, affection,
and/or awe inspired by Totoro or Ohmus in Nausicaa we get an endless
parade of goblins, deformities, and grossness. Miyazaki isn't tuning
his imagination but merely indulging in it as Federico Fellini in his
later films(starting with Juliet of the Spirits). Miyazaki, best
suited for grand images and bold gestures ala Lucas and Riefenstahl,
seems to have discovered surrealism of, say, Bunuel. He's doing things
his talent is wholly unsuited for. He's stretching his ideas to
unintelligible visual gibberish, straining fantasy ideas into pompous
quasi-spiritual gobbledygook phantasmagoria. There's nothing in
Spirited Away that's as simple and fun as the catbus. Instead, we have
an underwater train that recalls the arthouse antics of Ingmar Bergman
or the dream imagery of painter Dali. What is this bogus shit?
What I admired about Miyazaki at his best(even at his not-so-best)
prior to Mononoke was his movies had basics most anime works
disregarded: sense, character, story. Compared to airheaded cyberjunk
blow-em-ups like Akira, Miyazaki knew how to tell a story instead of
relying merely on empty fireworks. Yet, Spirited Away is nothing but a
series of effects, riots, and nonsensical chaos. It holds our
attention thru hysteria, headbuttings, pointless violence, and
tiresome magical interludes. It has stuff like a Jabba the Hut sized
shit taking a bath, the creature from Zeiram swallowing a Japanese
Kermito the frogu, a two ton baby who throws fits one moment and then
later spouts timeless wisdom to his two ton grandma who--don't ask me
why--sometimes turns into a crow(though unfortunately her ugly mug
remains 'human').
Miyazaki, to be sure, follows up each one of these excesses with a
lesson about life and nature, ecological mumbo jumbo but really, if
you gotta show this amount of fecal matter and vomit to make us wiser,
no thanks.
The movie is similar in some respects to Alice in Wonderland but
Miyazaki's(perhaps Japanese, as a whole)style and approach are most
unsuited to creating the kind of world of Lewis Carroll. In Alice in
Wonderland, book and Disney film, the hallucinogenic unreality derives
from within, from Alice's mindbending dream-logic psychology.
Miyazaki's strength as artist is the polar opposite of what
constitutes surrealism. Even Miyazaki's fantastic visions are mythic,
grand, otherworldly; they are not psychological, inner directed,
probing, or deep. Miyazaki is not Bunuel or David Lynch, not Lewis
Carroll. At best, he's a bombastic director of grandiose stories told
on a titanic scale. Even dreamstates in My Neighbor Totoro Miyazaki
work because they are flights into fanciful worlds, not as meandering
search for hidden symbolisms within our psyche. And so, unlike Alice
in Wonderland, Spirited Away is simply gross, oddball without being
fundamentally weird in a deeper, more unsettling sense. Also, the main
character is another Miyazaki archetype that's half conservative timid
Japanese girl and only superficially enlightened modern girl. The
message of the movie is modern people only know consumption and
excretion. That we eat up nature and have no clue as to how out of
whack our accounting is with nature and the spirit world. And, so the
little heroine learns something about how to be a dutiful, servile
girl who suppresses her modern individuality and learns to be humble,
devoted to the mythic past when man and nature supposedly lived in
harmony. Somehow, this was more fun with Kurosawa's dreams than in
Miyazaki's latest visual gross out fest or feast that sadly more
resembles one especially odious skit in Monty Python's Meaning of
Life.
Yet, how did this movie become the biggest boxoffice hit in Japan? I
think it has more to do with its calculated blend of endless array of
empty but distracting effects with its tiresome but always comforting
message about how we need to restore balance and order in our hearts
and in the world. Snore!
John Harkness
2003-09-14 13:33:14 UTC
Permalink
Please don't feed the trolls.

Jason Schumlau is noted usenet troll Anthony Gaza.
Post by Eve Dwyer
For starters I would like to say that I have been a huge Anime fan for some
time now and when I read this I thought "How can you say that? That isn't
true!"
That's more or less all sane people's response to his posts in
general.

John Harkness
Cathy Parker
2003-09-14 17:37:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Harkness
Post by Eve Dwyer
For starters I would like to say that I have been a huge Anime fan for some
time now and when I read this I thought "How can you say that? That isn't
true!"
That's more or less all sane people's response to his posts in
general.
John Harkness
Don't tell me you actually liked Spirited Away.
Rob Kelk
2003-09-14 18:24:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cathy Parker
Post by John Harkness
Post by Eve Dwyer
For starters I would like to say that I have been a huge Anime fan for some
time now and when I read this I thought "How can you say that? That isn't
true!"
That's more or less all sane people's response to his posts in
general.
John Harkness
Don't tell me you actually liked Spirited Away.
Pray tell, what does "Spirited Away" have to do with this newsgroup at
all? It isn't a cyberpunk direct-to-video series, is it? Please take
your discussion of this movie elsewhere.

Followups trimmed mercilessly.
--
Rob Kelk
robkelk -at- jksrv -dot- com
Member of, but not speaking for, the Ottawa News Administrators Group
Derek Janssen
2003-09-14 21:40:12 UTC
Permalink
Cathy "Gaza" Parker, who tried this name out a month ago, and nobody
Post by Cathy Parker
Post by John Harkness
That's more or less all sane people's response to his posts in
general.
Don't tell me you actually liked Spirited Away.
Don't tell us you're going back to THAT screenname!

Derek Janssen (let's see, at this rate of denial/desperation, he's
pretty well down to bringing Eagle Bear back any minute now)
***@rcn.com
Juan F Lara
2003-09-14 20:23:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Eve Dwyer
To call Mr. Miyazaki's work "cluttered and repetitious" is appauling!
[ etc etc snip ]

Looks like we have another troll here. Or is this Gaza in disguise again?

- Juan F. Lara
http://bellsouthpwp.net/l/a/lara6281/intro.html
Stephenls
2003-09-14 20:42:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Juan F Lara
[ etc etc snip ]
Looks like we have another troll here. Or is this Gaza in disguise again?
It's always Gaza in disguise. No one else ever bothers to troll
alt.fan.bgcrisis.
--
Stephenls
Geek
"Go then. There are other worlds than these."
Shouse
2003-09-15 14:41:16 UTC
Permalink
I'm sorry, but I can't deal with all the mish mosh contained in this review. I
loved Spirited Away and believe it to be one of the finest films I've ever
seen. It pulled me in and held me in awe and anticipation to the very end. It
reminded me of nightmares and dreams I had as a child and I appreciated that
quality very much.

I don't really care about the politics of the creator.

On the other hand, while I enjoyed Princess Monanoke, I never felt it rose to
the level of Sprited Away.
Chika
2003-09-15 14:42:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shouse
I'm sorry, but I can't deal with all the mish mosh contained in this
review. I loved Spirited Away and believe it to be one of the finest
films I've ever seen. It pulled me in and held me in awe and
anticipation to the very end. It reminded me of nightmares and dreams I
had as a child and I appreciated that quality very much.
Glad to hear it, but all you are doing is feeding an old troll.

Followups trimmed.
--
//\ // Chika <miyuki at crashnet.org.uk>
// \// MMW Crashnet <crashnet.org.uk>

... BNFL : Buy No Fish Locally
Ronald O. Christian
2003-09-17 04:01:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Sure,
Attack of Clones is a cautionary epic about fascist menace
Really? And here all this time I thought it was a boring piece of
crap.


Ron
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http://www.christianfamilywebsite.com
http://www.iswizards.com
Definition: Nelp: Contraction of "no help". Colloquial: Help
messages that are of no help whatsoever. Pertains to help files,
messages or documentation that convey no useful information, or
pedantically repeat the blindingly obvious.
trotsky
2003-09-17 11:53:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ronald O. Christian
Post by Jason H. Schaumlau
Sure,
Attack of Clones is a cautionary epic about fascist menace
Really? And here all this time I thought it was a boring piece of
crap.
No, it's a cautionary tale about boring pieces of crap.
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