30. Spirited Away
The best of Hiyao Miyazaki’s worlds immerse us in a fascinating and complicated world, where, most of the time, bad guys are just normal people driven to extreme measures by their needs. For my money, the ghost world of “Spirited Away” is one of the most interesting, humorous, and engaging places in 21st century cinema. The story of a little girl who must find a way to save her foolish and greedy parents from death as the pigs they’ve been magically transformed into, the major themes in Miyazaki’s work – namely, the coming of age of a young girl, bratty at the beginning, courageous and self-sacrificing at the end — work best here of all his work. I still don’t like the final denouement much (the problems just seem to melt away at the climactic moment) but even so, “Spirited Away” is my favorite Miyazaki of the decade, and one of my favorite movies.