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on June 22, 2003
If you've been living anywhere but under a rock for the last few years, you already know what all the hubbub is about regarding these 3 outstanding animated features. Hayao Miyazaki, The Grand Master of Animation, has brought these stories to life in a manner more realistic than most live action movies can even think of doing.
Having seen these movies in Japan during their theatrical or original video releases, I was overjoyed at their release on DVD. And Disney has brought them to the American public with true style...dubbed English and the original Japanese language tracks, subtitles, and outstanding special features. For the purists out there, the English language track follows the original Japanese exactly, with the exception of a few lines that had to be slightly modified in English to help the viewer absorb cultural concepts that were simply "understood" in the original Japanese. And the voice dubbing is perfect, capturing every single nuance of every emotion that was intended to come across in the stories. The animation is, by far, the most realistic and thought provoking you will ever see, with textures that literally come alive with detail. As a side note, it is unfortunate that a fourth Miyazaki feature, "My Neighbor Totoro", did not receive the same respectful treatment from Fox, when they purchased the rights to that film, and effectively butchered it for the American DVD release.
Although appearing to rely heavily on the widely publicized popularity of the most recent film of the three, Spirited Away (The highest grossing FILM of all time in Japan, and the Academy Award winner for 2002's Best Animated Feature), as the key link of its sales strategy, all of these features are equally imaginative in concept and exquisite in execution. And the price is excellent...the Japanese paid between $45 and $55 a pop for each one of these when they were released on DVD in their home country.
This 3 pack of classics can be summed up very simply...The Japanese loved them. I loved them. My family loved them. You'll love them too.
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on June 3, 2003
Let me just say that each of these films deserves a full review in their own right. That said, I think that Spirited Away is the centerpiece of this trilogy, and the treatment on DVD shows with great audio and video quality, and a healthy set of extras. Castle in the Sky and Kiki's Delivery Service also are looking great on these DVD's, but their extras are not quite as good - the second disc of both movies is the complete storyboards. That's interesting, but nothing I'd write home about. These movies showcase Miyazaki over quite a large period of time - interrupted by a gap where Princess Mononoke was made. It is obvious - you can see the evolution of his style, and the evolution of cgi - almost completely absent in Castle in the Sky, and filling lots of gaps of Spirited Away (though almost always scenery/backgrounds/zooms, nothing of the main characters that I can tell).
If you're a Miyazaki fan, get these discs! If you're new to the anime world, these are good starter movies to hook you in.
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on April 15, 2003
This is the ultimate 3 DVD package. I am in love with SPIRITED AWAY, and KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE. I have only seen parts of CASTLE IN THE SKY ( I liked the parts that I saw ) and really look forward to seeing the rest on DVD. Kiki's Delivery Service has been one of my favorite movies for years, and Spirited Away is a recent favorite. Miyazaki's movies are very artistic and I love the ones that I have seen. ***NOTE: [To learn more about the movies seperately or read reviews on the seperate movies, just go to the movie, you'll probably find more feedback in the seperate sections. Check out my reviews on Kiki's and on Spirited Away.] They should have put MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, or PRINCESS MONONOKE in this DVD pack instead of Castle In The Sky. (The two alternates mentioned are favorites of mine, too.) This is a good DVD set if you are just starting out collecting Miyazaki films or just anime films in general. I really reccomend this DVD pack. It looks like the special features are pretty good, too, considering My Neighbor Totoro lacked fully in special features. Again, this is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!!!!!! HIGHLY! You won't regret this purchase! Enjoy!!!
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on March 30, 2005
Spirited Away: Spirited Away, a movie from Hayao Miyazaki, was a joy to watch. My family and I have watched it 2-3 times since we've bought this 3 Pack and it is just great! The movie itself is amazing, the artwork (animation) is brilliant, and the voices for the characters all seem to fit well. The story is a great story, perfect for children, but some scary moments with a character named No Face. I won't spoil the movie experience for you - so I will let you read the product description from other people if you'd like...

Castle in the Sky: Castle in the Sky, a movie from Hayao Miyazaki was a blast. My family and I enjoyed this movie also, it seemed to get the little ones a little bored because the movie does "drag" just a bit it seemed like, but its great if you have the patience for a movie. The movie was definetly 5 out of 5 stars!! Excellent.

Kiki's Delivery Service: Kiki's Delivery Service was our #1 favorite movie as we seen it. It was fantastic, the music was great, and the story is just great too! I'd have to say I was surprised with this movie being so well, after hearing a negative review from a friend.

Overall, this Miyazaki 3 Pack is an excellent choice for anybody who loves beauitful animation, beauitful storyline, and a price not to to high considering you get 3 fantastic movies. You will want to probably see other Miyazaki movies, which I still have to do after purchasing all of them that Disney has took a part of. Good luck, and I hope my thoughts help you in deciding if the Miyazaki 3 Pack is a choice for you.
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on May 3, 2003
The main reason I'm writing this review is to correct a misconception perpetrated in some of the other online reviews, concerning the subtitles for the Japanese language audio tracks for these films. There ARE literal subtitles available for all three movies, not just the English-for-the-hearing-impaired captions. To access these, just go to the setup menu, select "Captions and Subtitles", and under the Subtitles heading, select English. Furthermore, these subtitles are the exact same ones that appeared on Studio Ghibli's original Japanese DVD's-- I have a multiregion player, and I've viewed all three films in those editions.
For an example, compare the English version of the scene in "Spirited Away" where Yubaba gives Chihiro her final test with the Japanese version. Yubaba's dialogue is substantially different: in the original she says, "This world has rules, you know", where in the English dub the line is "Not so fast, Haku, I get to give Sen one final test." The English subtitles for the Japanese track properly give the former line. There are a number of scenes containing such differences-- the one where Chihiro confronts Kaonashi is another excellent example-- and in all cases the subtitles are true to the original Japanese version. If you're getting the dubtitles (or "hearing-impaired captions"), then you've selected the wrong subtitle track.
I realize many people have a problem with Disney's treatment of Miyazaki's films, but this is one area where the criticism is unfair. Disney has provided both options: if you want to view the English-language dub, you can; and if you want to watch the Japanese-language original, with subtitles properly translated from Miyazaki's scripts, you can do that as well. (It takes some extra setup to get the original Japanese opening and closing credits to display properly, but that's another issue entirely.) In addition, the transfer quality is just as good as on the region 2 DVD's, and "Spirited Away" looks far better because Disney's release isn't plagued by the red tint that made all the flesh tones in the region 2 edition look wrong. The extras alone make "Spirited Away" worth the purchase, especially the NTV documentary on disc 2, but anyone who truly loves anime or Miyazaki's work should own all three.
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on August 6, 2003
Regarding what some have said is a travesty to the artform, the redubbing of English onto these pristine masterworks, it is no different than any other dubbed foreign film. Dubbing takes place to better connect the audience to the material and in the case of these films at a very high quality using well known American actors Phil Hartman and Kirsten Dunst in Kiki, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leechman, Andy Dick in Castle in the Sky - as far as dubbing goes this is top notch work. For everyone decrying the Disneyfication of the movies I'm wondering if you've ever heard other dubbing and seen what a literal translation can do to an otherwise great movie.
The best example is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, written by James Schamus and translated from his script into Mandarin Chinese and subtitled for the theatrical release. When the film was dubbed for the DVD the literal translation was altered slightly, yes, but great pains were taken to match the characters' lip movements and actually form dialogue that made sense with what we were seeing. The best example of this technique in anime is in another Miyazaki film not in this three pack (Princess Mononoke). It bridges the gap and opens the story up to children who despite anyone's arguement that a child could enjoy these movies on a purely visual basis, get more enjoyment and understanding if it is dubbed - and forget subtitles are you crazy, no one under 15 ever wants to read subtitles.
Overall, I would agree that most films should not be dubbed and exist in their original language with subtitles. Any Kurosawa film deserves this, and it is the strength of a movie like Sayles' Men With Guns. But in a Miyazaki film, that has so much to offer to all ages it is a welcome strategy especially when a company like Disney can put the extra money into it (and it's not like Miyazaki has had his movie's stolen from him, his company has had complete control over the changes and has supervised any transfers or musical alterations - I do not think that such an auetuer would give up his masterpieces so readily).
And concerning John Lassiter (referred to in a review as a Disney Corporate hack), he runs Pixar animation - not a Disney studio - and has quite an impressive track record as an animator despite any ties to Disney (as distributor only) that may instantly set off those haters out there.
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on April 24, 2003
Don't get me wrong; these three movies are masterpieces and deserve the maximum rating on any scale. But I am not rating the movies, I am rating the Disney DVD's created especially for the US market, and what Disney has done is unforgiveable.
My number one complaint is the poor translation of the original Japanese. Its as if Disney thinks that no one in this country can appreciate the a foreign language movie and so they don't even bother with this rather simple detail as if no one will notice. And Disney seems to want to perpetuate the western notion that animated movies can only be silly cartoons meant to entertain small children, because the dialog they added is 100% silly childish chatter. The genius of Miyazaki's movies is that they are loved by small children while simultaneously having a deeper element that only adults can appreciate, but this has been seriously compromised in the Disney version.
They also souped up the music score. I had heard that they had ADDED music (since American audiences apparently can't handle movies with gaps in the backgound music), but I didn't realize that they actually CHANGED existing music to make it more exciting. All you have to do is watch five minutes of "Castle in the Sky", and then rewind and watch the same five minutes with the original language and music track, and you will see the difference.
If you are a Miyazaki fan, I understand that you will still have no choice but to buy these DVD's. But for the rest of you, I hope you can help send Disney a message that we deserve better.
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on February 18, 2013
Need I say more? These are some of my favorite movies ever. It will be a genuinely sad day for me when Miyazaki sensei passes away. I hope I can meet him someday to tell him how much joy he has brought to my life and those of my daughters and grandson.
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on October 1, 2016
Grandchildren have been repeatedly delighted by the exceptional movies. Delivered on time, no Amazon Prime necessary.
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on May 5, 2003
.... I got the DVD 3 pack and watched Castle last night. Although I see the points made about music and dialogue, I think it stands up very very well. One thing to remember is that this movie was made in ... 1987? But we are looking at it now and comparing it to Spirited Away - and Totoro. The dialogue was dubbed what ? 5 years ago? The only thing done recently was the re-scoring of the music "requested" by Disney. Yeah, I found the constant music unnecessary, but ... the score was written by the same guy, and his music is beautiful. So, sure, it's more than the original, but you'll enjoy the music. It's lovely. So, I say, yeah, this is a darn good film. Well worth it. As for Kiki and Spirited Away, since these are already known properties I will only reiterate that these are must have films. Kiki is light and fun, and Spirited Away is dark, mysterious and gorgeous.
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