Earlier this week the top 100 best films of the 21st century - as voted for by the critics - was released... and the fantastic Spirited Away came in at number four.

Spirited Away

Spirited Away

It was back in 2003 when Spirited Away finally made it to the big screen here in the UK - it had been released two years earlier in Japan - and was the latest offering from Studio Ghibli

The movie also marked the return of Hayao Miyazaki to the director's chair - he also penned the film's screenplay.

Miyazaki was behind movies such as Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbour Totoro for the animation studio but this was his first feature since Princess Mononoke in 1997.

The movie follows a ten-year-old girl who must save her parents when they are put under a spell. She is plunged into a world of witches and monsters and must battle hard to survive.

Spirited Away remains one of the best Studio Ghibli movies of all time and this really was the breakthrough film for the Studio with Western audiences.

For me, Spirited Away has always been a magical and rather enchanting movie that pulls you into a world of magic, curses, and ghoulish creatures.

The movie looks beautiful and the hand-drawn animation is a breath of fresh air and a welcome change from all of the CGI-driven animated films that hit the big screen year after year.

Spirited Away is a movie that bursts with life and colour and the larger than life characters really do leap off the screen in every scene.

While Spirted Away is a movie that is packed with heart and charm, it does explore some dark themes that contrast wonderfully with the bold and bright animation.

Miyazaki really is one of the greatest animation filmmakers and his imagination really has just poured onto the screen with Spirited Away. He is not afraid to tell a complex and complicated story whilst crafting a world that is packed with mystery and wonder.

Upon release, Spirited Away was met with acclaim and it still widely regarded as one of the greatest animated films of all time.

The film went on to be a huge box office success and also won the Best Animated Feature Film Oscars - seeing off competition from Ice Age, Lilo & Stitch, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and Treasure Planet.

Studio Ghibli continues to make some of the best animation films but, if you are new to their work, Spirited Away is the perfect place to start.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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