Saturday, October 08, 2005


Subject: Cinema
...that's what my word-association game came up with for "Spirited Away".

But I'm not entirely sure that works.

When I first bought my big-screen HDTV and gear, I bought a number of DVDs, and Miyazaki's masterpiece "Spirited Away" was one of them. And I watched it as one of the inaugural screenings of my new home theater. That was just about 2 years ago. And I realized that I haven't taken the time to rewatch it since then. After all the anime-watching I've been doing; after having discovered "Noir" and trying to catch up with everything else, it only made sense that I finally go back to one of the Japanese animated features that brought me to where I am today.

So back to why I'm not so sure my word-association game worked here. "Lavish" evokes a certain luxury, an attention to the frivoulously extravagent. I'm having a hard time beleiving there's anything extravagent about what Miyazaki is doing here.

It's absolutely beautiful; don't get me wrong. The imagination and scope and spark to every moment of this film is a true testament to his talent. But like most excellent Japanese work, there's an economy about it -- a simplicity. Rich with detail, but wonderfully simple nonetheless. Not a minute goes by when there's not something to make you smile, to make you wonder, to bring you into the little universe that he's created.

But the word "lavish" doesn't seem to fit -- it's too greedy, to baroque.

"Luscious" is closer, and maybe that's what I meant. But, that's not what I came up with. So I'm a bit torn. Why does "lavish" stick? Well, let's look it up: maybe I don't actually have the definition right...

Definitions of lavish on the Web:

  • very generous; "distributed gifts with a lavish hand"; "the critics were lavish in their praise"; "a munificent gift"; "his father gave him a half-dollar and his mother a quarter and he thought them munificent"; "prodigal praise"; "unsparing generosity"; "his unstinted devotion"; "called for unstinting aid to Britain"

  • characterized by extravagance and profusion; "a lavish buffet"; "a lucullan feast"

  • expend profusely; also used with abstract nouns; "He was showered with praise"

Hmm. I dunno. Maybe it works as far as the first definition goes. I think the second is what I had a problem with. All said and done, though, it's an excellent cinematic experience. It's got life to it, and imagination, and attention to detail, and all the wonderful things I like about a movie.

So why is it that I'm hung up on the definition of a word that comes to mind again? Indeed.

No comments: