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Customer Review

437 of 473 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Antidote to Disney, May 22, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: My Neighbor Totoro [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is not only one of my favorite childrens films, it's one of my favorite films period. This movie is truly magical. It achieves what Disney movies never do -- a wonderful story without the need to resort to evil villains or wise-cracking side kicks. In fact, two of the things I find most striking and refreshing about My Neighbor Totoro is the use of images rather than dialogue to propel the plot and the slower, almost contemplative, pacing of the action. (This is one children's movie that won't blare from your TV or yammer at your children!) The first time I saw this movie I watched a friend's pirated VHS tape in Japanese. I was instantly mesmerized and was completely able to follow the story, despite the fact that I did not understand a word the characters said.
And don't be put off because it is "japanese animation." This is not your father's japanese animation. The images of the tranquil countryside are sumptuous. Miazaki's attention to the little details of life, like a leaf floating in a stream or raindrops tapping an umbrella, evoke the simpler, purer times of childhood. The children's discovery of the totoro spirits in the old camphor tree recalls a time in every child's life when magic seems possible in the mundane world. As with other Miyazaki films, there is a thrilling flying sequence. However, this film is more appropriate for younger viewers than most of his other works, some of which are decidedly adult in nature despite the fact that they are animated.
As the mother of a toddler, I really appreciate the refusal to rely on cliche villians to keep the plot moving. However, I should warn other parents considering this video that the conflicts used to keep the plot moving -- the children's discovery of and search for the dust bunny and totoro spirits and Mei's desire to see her sick mother in the hospital which causes her to lose her way in the countryside -- might be upsetting to the littlest viewers without some parental company and discussion. Otherwise, I wholeheartedly recommend this movie whether you're 2 or 200.
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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 13, 2009 8:42:43 PM PST
Nicely said. I hate the fact that disney movies always include a "villain" or one or more scenes of "peril" for no reason other than to try to stir the pot. Totoro works without those devices...and it kicks butt! Fun, smart characters and beautiful animation.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2009 9:32:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 5, 2009 9:33:49 PM PDT
netty1180 says:
This is not a Disney movie so please don't give them any credit. All they did was provide the english speaking voices and distribute it to the american market. Yes, they did a fine job but it still doesn't make it their film. The credit goes to Mr. Hayao Miyazaki. Thank you.

Posted on Aug 28, 2009 6:22:00 PM PDT
Disney would not have produced this movie. If they did it would have been considerably different in a negative way.

Posted on Sep 16, 2009 7:35:40 AM PDT
T. Adams says:
Relax on the Disney bashing. Disney has a magic all it's own that has appealed to children and adults for the past century. They have their formula, and it works for many people, myself included.

Miazaki has a different kind of magic, and fortunately, we are able to partake in the magic of our choice. My choice includes both.

Beyond the Disney bashing, however, I agree with your assessment of Totoro -- truly and subtly awesome and touching.

Posted on Dec 18, 2010 4:32:44 PM PST
I agree that Disney can't compete with Japanese people but hey who can? I'm just thankful Disney is mass distributing the work to American children so they can enjoy films they otherwise would never hear about. You've gotta give Disney credit for recognizing the superior talent of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. The only thing I'm concerned about is that I heard someone say Disney re-edited Spirited Away so that it's different from the original version in some way. If that's true they probably made a big mistake I'm sure Studio Ghibli knows better about how it should be. I used to own Spirited Away but I lost it and I think it was the original non-Disney edit. I just reordered Spirited Away because I have to have it again but I haven't received it yet and I'm worried it may not be as good as the version I used to have. then again maybe the person who told me that was misinformed but I'm pretty sure the old copy of Spirited Away did not say Disney at the top so I'm concerned. I tried to find a non disney version of Spirited Away but no such thing exists on amazon. Anyway I also loved My Neighbor Totoro but I really hope Disney didn't alter it in any way from the original I saw a long time ago. But I could be misinformed maybe there never was an original nonDisney My Neighbor Totoro. If anyone know the details about this please contact me at joeyloforti99 at yahoo dot com. If there were original nonDisney edits of Miyazakis movies I need to know where to buy those. Don't get me wrong I loved Disney movies to death as a kid but I don't trust a Disney edit of Miyazaki's work. I'm 31 and I can still watch Miyazaki but most Disney movies would annoy me at my age although I do still love Alice in Wonderland and I have great nostalgia for Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. But like I said Disney can't compete with Japanese story tellers and Animators. But neither can anyone else in my opinion. I wish I had been born Japanese.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2011 8:20:35 AM PST
No one in disney has altered a SINGLE Miyazaki movie whoever told you that was drastically misinformed. they are the same here as they are in Japan I know this because if they did Miyazaki would blow a gasket so relax the movies are fine.

Posted on Dec 6, 2011 9:38:28 PM PST
Child of God says:
I agree Miazaki's attention to detail is supurb, It's a wonderful addition to your DVD collection.

Posted on Jan 24, 2012 3:07:29 PM PST
NutriMom says:
For those who say Disney has never altered a Miyazaki film, 'altered' is very subjective. For example, for Kiki's Delivery Service, in the American version (dubbed) her cat, Jiji, is the late Phil Hartman's voice...that voice is harsher, sarcastic, has an edge.. that completely changes the effect and tone. Films are always better in the original language with the subtitles.

Posted on Dec 27, 2012 1:55:46 PM PST
Emlin says:
My husband and I (middle-aged fuddies) watched this movie for the first time a few days ago. In the midst of many of life's challenges, it gave us a genuine heartlift. Watch it if you need one. Or just because it's so wonderful and beautiful.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2013 11:03:08 PM PDT
Sorry but if I tried to play a sub to a kid under 10 it wouldn't work. I already tried it the kids hate subtitled movies.
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