I still felt like I didn't get parts of it.
It's a great film. One of Miyazaki's best. But it's pretty conventional by Miyazaki standards. Take a deep draught of Ponyo and suddenly Spirited Away is like a long, beautiful episode of The Flintstones.
I've only watched Spirited Away when it comes to anime, since it was recommended everywhere.
Yeah, funny story about Spirited Away. So Disney bought up the rights to distribute any and all Ghibli films in the US and Europe, as I recall. Miyazake was so apprehensive based on past performance with Nausicaa that he shipped Michael Eisner a Katana and a card that said "No Cuts."
So Disney brings in a bunch of A-list talent - Claire Danes, Billy Bob Thornton, Minnie Driver - to do the English language dub. Then, rather than throw it at the art houses, they open it wide… in eight theaters. They proceed to fumble about, opening it in another dozen every couple weeks, until it vanishes five weeks later having made a whopping two million dollars.
Disney, in their infinite wisdom, decides that this is because American audiences don't get Anime. So they neglect to release any other Ghibli films, until Spirited Away becomes the highest-grossing film in Japanese history. So Disney grumbles, fumbles, and slashes their budget - no Claire Danes this time, we'll use nobodies and has-beens - Suzanne Plechette. Michael Chiklis (before the Shield). And let's dump it the same way we did Mononoke so we don't lose money. You could try and find that movie in theaters, but you'd have to hunt.
Then it got nominated for an Oscar.
"Okay," says Disney. "Maybe we'll put it in some art houses. Nerds love Oscars." So they put it on a 3-month run, petering down from 130 screens to six the night of the Oscars.
Which it won.
So now it's on 700 screens, Disney makes more in a week than they did the entire three months previously, and they're forced to recognize that maybe they just suck at distribution.
In order to drive the point home, they re-release the entire Ghibli-back catalog with A-list talent…
…direct to video.
Watchmen, on the other hand, is amazing. I just finished chapter 2, can't wait to read further.
Pay close attention to Chapter 5. Pulling off what they did required obsessive attention to detail.