Rewatched Feb 03, 2012
Sean Byron’s review:
It's hard not to marvel at this film, a completely singular animated epic that was supposed to be the final film of Hayao Miyazaki's career (before the daughter of a friend convinced him to create Spirited Away). Perhaps one of the most violent films ever to carry an ecological message at its core, the numerous decapitations, severed limbs, and monstrous/almost Lovecraftian ancient gods of nature provide an interesting contrast to the typical image of nature as a source of serenity and peace.
Being a Miyazaki film, the animation is remarkably fluid and gorgeous, even when depicting scenes of gripping violence. This is not a slight film in any regard - at 134 minutes, it's rather long for an animated feature, and though the story is primarily between two locations, there are many characters to meet and huge battles to be fought. There are flashes of humor throughout, although it is primarily a somber, dark tone that dominates the film.
This is a strange film for sure, and probably not one for the kids. But for myself, it seems to get better on each viewing.