With delicate strokes, Miyazaki has crafted a story of epic proportions. A fantasy with elements of social commentary, Spirited Away picks you up and beats you over the head with awe.
While inspired by a friend's 10 year old daughter (who would be older by now), this is a video that can be enjoyed by adults who love fantasy, too. The easiest, most recognizable comparisson is Carroll's "Alice In Wonderland." Also a fantasy with it's dark moments, featuring a younger girl in a fantasy world with all kinds of odd creatures and people.
Spirited Away starts off with our heroine, Chihiro, lying down in a car, her legs propped on some boxes. Her family decided to move, forcing her to leave her school and friends. Chihiro has a bouquet of flowers, given as a goodbye gift by a friend. She is not happy, but loves her flowers.
Then, her father takes a wrong turn. The car bounces along an unpaved road and into a dark forest. A round statue zooms by. The car suddenly breaks into the light and screeches to a stop infront of a large building. Her father gets out to inspect it. Chihiro gets upset, because, after all, this isn't their property. After putting on a small, fearful tantrum, Chihiro meekly follows her mother and father through the building. Emerging on the other side, rolling, grassy hills cross their vision and colorful buildings stand out. Her father declairs it as an abandoned theme park.
Then, smelling some food, he wanders deeper into the theme park. Past many buildings which used to be restaraunts and there, in one of the booths, there is food. Steam rises off of it and the smell is too good to be true. Despite no one being around, and the assurance that they'll leave money, the parents dig into the meal.
Chihiro is obviously uncomfortable with this. Refusing to touch the food she goes out to explore and finds a bath house with steam rising out of the smoke stack. Here the movie becomes a roller coaster ride. Up to this point the roller coaster was just loading passengers and starting the slow climb to the top of the first hill. Now, a guy named Haku appears and the rollercoaster dips past the hump of the hill and goes speeding through the rest of the movie.