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Customer Review

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Cinematic Treat For Children And Adults!, February 19, 2007
This review is from: My Neighbor Totoro (DVD)
First of all, I am a purist when it comes to Japanese films. I have three versions of "My Neighbor Totoro." The original in Japanese, without subtitles, the Fox version, and the Disney version. I would recommend viewers to just get the film, it's well worth the watch. I bought the first DVD in Japanese some years back when my daughters were very young. Both of them have been enrolled in a Japanese Immersion Program at their language school since they were 5-years-old. They speak, read and write Japanese.

I bought the second for my wife and I, [Fox version] and thought it was great. Also, I bought the Disney version when my young nieces and nephews visited their cousins; since they cannot understand Japanese, they are able to listen to this version. I too am a purist; and believe that the inflections of Japanese; or any language in a foreign film should be the primary language listened to with subtitles. However, I also think that one can capture young children's attention--who would otherwise stray, if they were reading subtitles. I know this from experience as a father of two young Japanese-speaking American children.

Therefore, while the spotlight reviewer skewers this DVD, I would recommend the film to those who are not sure if they would like to purchase the film. All one has to do is check my film listings, and you will see that I love Japanese cinema, and have since I was a child in the early to mid 1960s. I went to many Japanese films as a kid [Zatoichi] and saw Mizoguchi's, Kurosawa's and Ozu's films, to name just a few film directors that I grew up watching. The film is worth the purchase: Disney or not. There are plenty of reviews of this film describing this magical cinematic treat, and you and your children will definitely enjoy the film. This film is highly recommended. [Stars: 5+]
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 22, 2007 1:04:25 AM PDT
Mike Liddell says:
I haven't seen this one yet but it is in Roger Eberts "Great Movies" books and series. He adds a new movie every 2 weeks. I don't know if you checked out his books but i think you'd like them he has Ozu's Floating Weeds in his top 10 of all time. Also from your top 5 on your profile Ugetsu, Ikiru, and Tokyo Story are in his series that i know of off the top of my head. I'd definitely recommend his great movie books are checking the series out on his website, rogerebertdotcom.
Nice review you definitely seem to know your stuff with asian cinema. I recently watched Ran it is the only kurosawa film i've seen. I do own Seven Samurai but have not watched it yet, i go on movie binges on Amazon and will buy a ton then i need to catch up, while i buy new dvds of interest that come out weekly.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 24, 2007 2:46:07 PM PDT
Hello, Mike. Thank you for the feedback. I definitely have a strong affinity for Asian cinema [Japanese in particular]. Also, Ozu was one of the greatest directors of early Japanese cinema. I will have to check out Roger Eberts "Great Movies" books. I had no idea he was into Japanese cinema.

RAN is a great film by Kurosawa, but then he made quite a few great films. Also, if you get the chance, look into director Masaki Kobayashi's films. He was a contemporary of Kurosawa, and although he has just as great as Kurosawa, he tends to be forgotten in the mix of great Japanese directors.

If you ever have a question on a Japanese film, just drop me a line, and hopefully I can help. Thank you for your comments. Ernest.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2007 10:23:22 PM PDT
Mike Liddell says:
Thanks for the info, yea Ebert's tastes are very diverse. Obviously the key with finding a good critic is one that you have similar tastes with. I really enjoy reading his reviews and the great series are his best, he re watches all the movies fresh before reviewing them again for that series.
Loved Kwaidan, although i didn't have the experience of seeing it in a theater, i have a 106" screen in my home theater/ family room which looked great with Kwaidan, like i said the transfer rivaled some Hd dvds i have.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2007 6:32:08 PM PDT
Sounds like you don't need to go to the theater with a 106 inch screen. Plus, with all the amenities you have in your own home, like comfort, you can just kick back and relax. As for KWAIDAN,I agree, it is a great film, and the colors are very beautiful.Ernest

Posted on Sep 16, 2012 11:25:11 PM PDT
Siyue says:
I agree with you. Even though I don't understand Japanese and have to read the subtitles I would prefer it that way. Most of the time when it is dubbed it loses something. It loses some of the character and the whole feel of the movie shifts slightly. I have to really try harder to stay connected to the world that was made to explore. I love the movie Arriety and watched only a smidgen of the dubbed in English version and it was horrible they didn't even say the same things. I haven't watched this movie that you reviewed yet but if I do it would have to be in Japanese.
I feel sorry for little children that can' t read the subtitles and so have to watch it in English.

Posted on Feb 1, 2014 4:51:38 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 1, 2014 4:55:52 PM PST
This review really is frustrating! Yes, we love Totoro, we want to watch the movie... but there's more than one version for sale and but how do the three different versions compare? The reviews I've seen comparing the Fox and Disney versions are rather opinionated and it would be nice to have a less strident review made by someone who has seen the original as well.

To add to the confusion, Amazon has once again lumped ALL reviews for ALL versions of the film together. So there is no way to sift through to see the comments about one particular version or another.

BTW, subtitles are another form of dubbing, just in written form. Subtitles are unable to convert every word and phrase, so some things are paraphrased or cut -- sometimes changing the movie. I've seen movies where the original dialogue is significantly different from both the dubbed version and subtitles.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2014 10:32:42 AM PST
Chuchundra says:
I greatly prefer the "original" Fox dub version to the newer Disney version. Maybe it's what I'm used to, but I think they just did a much better take on the original Japanese, rather than listening to the Fanning sisters do their own acting. Not that I dislike them, I'm a fan of the younger one in particular, but I find the Fox version to be much more pure--and I'm in no way a purist when it comes to Japanese movies. If the Fox version is too difficult to get, go with the Disney one, the important thing is to see and enjoy the movie. You won't be disappointed, it's one of the best movies I've ever seen, and it's a huge favorite of my five-year-old daughter, and has been so since she first saw it age 2(?) (hard to remember at this point!) Enjoy!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2014 11:27:53 AM PST
Thanks for the insight. We've actually seen the film several times--checking it out of various libraries and renting it-- over the years and I would like to buy it. Unfortunately I have no idea which version(s?) we've seen. I'm assuming the Disney one.

I read an interesting and entertaining biography of Mr Miyazaki and he talked about the inspiration for Totoro-- it came from living in the country when he was young. He would listen to the wind in the nearby forest and imagine creatures playing in the trees. As an adult he brought his imaginary playmates to 'life' onscreen, and I think we can see his fond memories of a simpler time as a child in the country.

Posted on Mar 13, 2014 9:07:16 AM PDT
Brian Raley says:
Hey I was hoping you could help me I'm trying to buy this movie for my friend she loves the original from when she was little but the newer version they changed the subtitles and she says its not the same do you know which version I need to buy her that comes with the original subtitle text. Thanks in advance for any help.

Posted on Apr 11, 2014 4:02:07 PM PDT
JTW says:
I noticed that there is a Japanese soundtrack for the Disney version. Since you have the original, could you tell me if it is the original Japanese soundtrack or a different one?
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