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Film

Steven Spielberg names the greatest animated film of all time

Steven Spielberg is one of the most commercially successful filmmakers in the history of cinema, having worked on incredibly popular franchises such as Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park. Last year, Spielberg returned to the world of filmmaking with his highly anticipated remake of West Side Story which earned multiple Oscar nominations.

In the 1980s, Spielberg co-founded the production company Amblin Entertainment which produced multiple animated shows such as Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, among others. Even though Spielberg’s oeuvre does not contain many examples of animation, the filmmaker is a huge fan of the art form.

The most notable anomaly in Spielberg’s filmography is his 2011 animated work The Adventures of Tintin which was based on the eponymous comic book character. Although it was planned as a trilogy and the film went on to achieve financial success, the trilogy never happened because many felt that the animation style dipped into the uncanny valley.

Throughout his life, Spielberg has been influenced by multiple animated films from around the world including the seminal 1988 Japanese masterpiece Akira which he cited as one of his favourites. However, there is one specific animated gem that Spielberg considers to be among the greatest achievements in the history of animation.

In an interview, Spielberg praised the vision of Hayao Miyazaki and claimed: “I especially, you know, admire the whole world of Miyazaki, and his taste and his storytelling abilities. His Spirited Away is one of the greatest animated films ever made, might be better than any Disney film I’ve ever seen. He was a real influence.”

Spielberg actually took his daughter with him to Tokyo to meet the Japanese auteur and they engaged in a deep conversation about the craft of storytelling. Despite Spielberg’s admiration for Miyazaki, the pioneering animator does not feel the same way about Spielberg’s work and he publicly criticised global audiences for ignoring the sociopolitical allegories embedded in the American director’s works.

“Even in the Indiana Jones movies, there is a white guy who, ‘bang,’ shoots people, right? Japanese people who go along and enjoy with that are unbelievably embarrassing,” Miyazaki explained. “You are the ones that, ‘bang,’ get shot. Watching [those movies] without any self-awareness is unbelievable. There’s no pride, no historical perspective. You don’t know how you are viewed by a country like America.”

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