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My Neighbor Totoro [DVD]
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|Genre||Kids & Family, Anime & Manga, Action & Adventure|
|Format||Animated, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD, Widescreen, NTSC, THX|
|Contributor||Shigeru Chiba, Tanie Kitabayashi, Shigesato Itoi, Hayao Miyazaki, Masashi Hirose, Machiko Washio, Sumi Shimamoto, Reiko Suzuki, Yko Maruyama, Toshiyuki Amagasa, Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto See more|
|Language||English, French, Japanese|
|Runtime||1 hour and 26 minutes|
Critically acclaimed as one of the most delightful and charming family films ever, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO is a stunning animated treat full of magical adventure from Hayao Miyazaki. Follow the adventures of Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei when they move into a new home in the countryside. To their delight, they discover that their new neighbor is a mysterious forest spirit called Totoro, who can be seen only through the eyes of a child. Totoro introduces them to extraordinary characters -- including a cat that doubles as a bus! -- and takes them on an incredible journey. Full of wonder and heart, this spectacular 2-disc set features the voice talents of Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning. MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO is a magical experience for the whole family! © 1988 Nibariki G
For years, Hayao Miyazaki's beloved feature My Neighbor Totoro was available only in a pan-and-scan transfer with an adequate but undistinguished English translation and dub; this widescreen version from Disney Home Video offers livelier performances and a more vivid translation. In the old dub, the mysterious little black creatures who inhabit the empty farmhouse were called "dust bunnies," although that term refers to the clumps of dust that form under furniture. The new translation of "soot gremlins" suggests what the little beings really are. As Satsuki and Mei, Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning are lively and believable without being saccharine; Tim Daly gives a warmly understated performance as their patient father. The new transfer captures the subtle palette of Miyazaki's vanished natural world. More than ever, My Neighbor Totoro is a magical film that family members of every age can enjoy. --Charles Solomon
- Aspect Ratio : 1.85:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : G (General Audience)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 5.6 Ounces
- Director : Hayao Miyazaki
- Media Format : Animated, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD, Widescreen, NTSC, THX
- Run time : 1 hour and 26 minutes
- Release date : March 7, 2006
- Actors : Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi, Sumi Shimamoto
- Dubbed: : English, Japanese
- Subtitles: : English
- Language : Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
- Studio : Walt Disney Home Entertainment
- ASIN : B0001XAQ0A
- Writers : Hayao Miyazaki
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #69,457 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2018
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Most folks consider MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (or TONARI NO TOTORO) to be a masterpiece, and who am I to argue? Set on a more intimate scale than Mr. Miyazaki's other, more grandiose efforts, it's one of the best family films around, particularly in terms of portraying the family interrelationships. The way in which the two young girls connect to each other is disarming and a sheer pleasure to watch. Too, I like that their father isn't an absent parent by default, or one who's too busy or prone to misunderstanding and distrusting his kids (like in most American family films). When the youngest girl, Mei, tells her father (and her older sister) that she'd just encountered a "totoro" he doesn't dismiss her out of hand. He listens and even ventures an explanation. And it doesn't come off as condescending. In fact, the same thing happens earlier in the film, when the family was just moving into their new home and the girls glimpse the soot sprites. Dude's a cool dad.
The plot, real quick: Two young girls (with their dad) move to rural Japan to be closer to their ailing mother, who temporarily resides in a nearby hospital. Along the way, the girls - the pre-teen Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei - meet Totoro, a large but benign forest spirit, whom only children can see. Totoro would become their friend and guardian.
This is a rare film in that it contains neither villains nor violence. Mr. Miyazaki renders his supernatural world so benevolent and wondrous that it elicits delighted smiles, and not shudders. The scary moments instead stem from the girls' overriding fear that their sickly mother might not get better, that she might even die, a truly frightening prospect for children. And, because of Mr. Miyazaki's attention to detail and development of his characters, this concern becomes valid to us. You ache for the girls. Real people, real concerns.
Visually, technically, emotionally, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO is a beautiful film. No surprise then that Hayao Miyazaki writes, directs, and draws this thing. There's an enchanting simplicity here, with a leisurely pace and a narrative which isn't rushed. Again, respect to Mr. Miyazaki's attention to detail. We learn much of the Japanese culture; specifically, we gain an insight into Japan's agricultural way of life and the farmers' affinity with their environment. As usual, Mr. Miyazaki injects his cast with an appreciation and respect for nature. And nature reciprocates in the form of the forest spirit Totoro, whose simple pleasures are sights to behold, from his lazy enjoyment of an afternoon nap to his infectious glee at the raindrops pelting his umbrella.
There's a joy in the sisters' interactions with Totoro. There's something quite moving about this mysterious creature guiding the girls in a mystical rite to make their slow-growing acorns shoot up into mature oak trees. And there's something so right about Satsuki and Mei waking up later to realize that their planted seeds hadn't grown to full bloom after all, but that they did, however, finally begin to sprout. And, when, earlier, Totoro soared the night skies on his magical top, with the children and the little totoros crazily clinging to him, what a truly glorious and uplifting moment.
A bit now on the dvd special features (from the Disney presentation). Disc 1 not only has the movie but also the following: "Behind the Microphone" - a segment featuring the English voiceover actors (Dakota and Elle Fanning are a delight); the Opening & Ending Title Sequence Art; and the original trailer. Meanwhile, Disc 2, if you have it, offers the original Japanese storyboards for the entire film.
If there's one truly melancholy note here, it's in the thought that there'll come a day when Satsuki and Mei won't be able to see Totoro anymore. But, at least, in 2002, Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli came out with MEI AND THE KITTENBUS, a 13-minute-long follow up to MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO which demonstrates that at least Mei hasn't been deprived of hanging out with otherworldy company. Now if only Studio Ghibli will let us see the damn thing.
As ever, Mr. Miyazaki's humanity and perceptiveness shine thru. And this I can't emphasize enough: The film has appealing magical creatures, yes. And the film presents several stunning magical sequences, sure. But the true magic lies in the sisters and how they relate to each other, and sometimes get annoyed with each other, yet continually care for each other. Satsuki and Mei are simply irresistible, wonderfully realized characters. The self-sufficiency and warmth of Satsuki. The cute stubbornness of Mei (maybe an ear of corn CAN cure maladies). Gentle and whimsical and enchanting, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO is recommended for the young and the young-at-heart and even the cranky-at-heart. So get on board for this one. I'm certain that crazy, big-grinning Cat Bus has tons of room.
Next on my to-watch list: Kiki's Delivery Service , Porco Rosso , Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind , and Castle in the Sky .
Miyazaki has done a great job of making the sisters seem believable as real children and also likeable - they're not too sweet/cute, but not too bratty. I also loved how elements of reality and fantasy were nicely interwoven - such that the appearance of the Totoro(s) felt believable, yet still cute(and who doesn't want to give the big Totoro a good squeeze?). The film also suceeds in presenting everything from the perspective of the children. Why don't we know exactly what's wrong with their mom? Because they don't exactly know. The information given is what the children perceive, thus we see the world through their eyes.
I also enjoyed their portrayal of the father. He seems to be a very patient, loving father who actually spends some time with his children despite having to work a lot. It's very refreshing to see a film portrayal of the loving sensitive father (we could use more of that). For this reason I think the film has a very positive portrayal of family, thus making it a good family film (there's also a nice lack of violence and swearing, for those with small children). My only complaint is that there should have been more bonus features, like a making-of and maybe some interviews with people who actually made the film. However, this is a fault of the dvd release, not the film itself.
Overall, My Neighbor Totoro is an excellent whimsical fantasy tale as well as a good coming of age tale. I highly recommend it both for children and adults.
P.S. This review was originally for the 2006 release of Totoro, which didn't contain any worthwhile special features outside of the interviews with the voice actors. I recently bought the 2010 release with added bonus features, and I'm happy to say that more interesting features have been added. There's some interviews with Miyazaki, the producer, and the composer (which includes info. on other Ghibli films as well). My favorite segment (and by far the longest) is a section called "the locations of totoro", which basically shows you the real life locations upon which various scenes in Totoro are based. It's almost as charming as the film itself. In addition, the voice actor interviews and storyboards make a return. The last thing included is a sort of point and click game. Basically, you just click on various characters and objects and it gives you a brief description and scenes from the different Ghibli movies. It's rather dull, and I can't see even children being entertained by it. So, not much going on there... For all the people out there who wish to know, the movie includes the original Japanese audio track as well as English subtitles. It even has separate English subtitles for the hearing impaired. Hooray!
This movie might be my favorite Studio Ghibli film of all time, although it's tied with Howl's Moving Castle and The Cat Returns. I'd definitely recommend you check out Miyazaki's other movies if you liked this one. Just be warned that not all of them are intended for children.
P.P.S. - After seeing all the whining reviews from people who glorify the Fox dub as some kind of godsend, I felt the need to include this statement: Methinks nostalgia is clawing at some people's innards! Seriously, the only reason people who first watched the Fox dub then the Disney dub can't stand the Disney dub is because they've become accustomed to the Fox dub, and now anything different sounds strange to their ears. Since I'd never heard the Fox dub, I decided to go back and watch it on youtube to get an idea of what this amazing, better-than-Disney dub sounds like. Well, I couldn't stand it. All this makes me believe that people just form attachments to whichever they hear first, regardless of quality. Overall, the Disney release has the better quality though. The picture is brighter and clearer and the dub (believe it or not!) is actually closer the the original Japanese translation. Also, the Fanning sisters do a decent job of voicing Satsuki and Mei. It's just really irritating seeing all these one-star reviews from people who are like "OMG this is the best movie of all time! BUT THE DUB SUCKS!" when this fine film doesn't deserve one star (although I could see lowering it to three/four stars for disliking the dub, but not one star). So there you go; I'm going to get off my soap box now, I just felt the need to get that off my chest.
Top reviews from other countries
The story--like all good Sci-Fi & Fantasy--originates & is (somewhat) grounded in reality. The Kusakabes: elementary-school aged daughter Sasakai, pre-school aged (can't wait to grow up) daughter Mei & university professor (Anthropology?) Dad; are moving to an empty cottage in the forested, agricultural hinterland of some city. They seem to have relocated so as to be closer to Mom, who's nearby in hospital. I'm thinking T.B.--but, as story's told from kids' perspective--viewers never know what's up with that.
One afternoon--while academician Dad's marking papers, or working @ home, on his next book--Mei connects with 2 sprightly, big-eared, um, creatures. Turns out, creatures are part of a group--headed by the huge, bear-like Totoro--who live in a nearby, ancient Camphor-Tree. Totoro sleeps a lot, plays the ocarina--or some basic woodwind instrument--@ night & occasionally provokes gale-force winds. "Mr. T" & his much smaller fellow spirits, seem to be addicted to acorns & use these to forge a bond with the girls.
The overall story-arc is kind of mild--yet edgy in places--& as convoluted as any contemporary adult-film. It bespeaks a misty-eyed society, of indeterminate era (post-WWII? ), where motor-tricycles are used for hauling cargo , personal computers are unknown, even telephones aren't ubiquitous & many folks commute by train & bus. That includes the titular Totoro--who patronizes a VERY unique, decidedly other-worldly, transit system--the cat-bus...Yeah, seriously... I give these animators 1-3/4 thumbs up. for originality. ;-)
The animators jump the viewer into the eerie World of the Nature-Spirits, in several easy steps & (interestingly!) Dad is there, to legitimize Mei's "first contact"-- with Totoro & his little friends--by not judging, or disparaging #2 Daughter's experience. Far from it; Dad aids his kids in dealing with Totoro, by relating old Japanese legends & talking his daughters through a short "Spirit-befriending" ceremony. The kids' involvement with the spirits deepens from there.
In the end, Totoro gets to be the nominal hero--resolving a family crisis, provoked by the precocious, yet insecure Mei. The overall message of this flic--actually very much a kid's film--is that the World: be it the Natural World, Academia or Human social World, isn't as scary as kids might think & kids viewing this film will be left feeling it can be fun--"out there".
I have viewed this film many times in its original Japanese audio but the English dubbed voices is for lack of a better word, Outstanding!
Miyazaki at his best story-telling, and subsequent kudos to Studio Ghibli for giving us these brilliant transfers
My Neighbor Totoro [Blu-ray + DVD] (Sous-titres français)
What makes this movie so good? Made by Studio Gibli and it's co-founder, Hayao Miyazaki (called the Walt Disney of Japan). It's a virtually perfect blend of family, detail and fantasy all rolled into one! It starts out with two sisters and their father moving into a run-down rural house that they've rented for the summer. Then slowly ups the ante that there may be more to this house than meets the eyes as the little sister starts to see little critters that no one else can see! She's absolutely adorable.
In fact this is one of the best parts of Ghibli movies; their characters are all so absolutely real. The little sister looks like, acts like, throws tantrums like, explores like just any little pre-schooler would. Then throw in the older sister who's trying to take care of her, the house and their father while their mother is away in the hospital fighting some unknown illness and you can just feel the realism and the family dynamics. Then when the older sister also starts to see things that shouldn't exist and discovers the guardian of the forest is a big gentle giant by the name of Totoro; it really gets to be both exciting and fun at the same time with magical cat buses, dust bunnies that can actually move and all sorts of magical adventures!
The other thing I like about this and later Ghibli movies like Kiki's Delivery Service, Arrietty, Whisper of the Heart and Ponyo (all of which I highly recommend) is that these movies don't fall back on the usual stereotypes of some despicable villain that has to be fought and stopped. Or everything always has to be settled with a fight. Instead they have lots of action, wonderful discoveries at every turn; but no villain! There is a major problem to be solved, friends to be rescued or helped, but things don't have to be settled with violence! That is so refreshing at times.
This is one of those rare family movies that adults will like equally with their kids. And even today with the thousands of movies I've seen; this is still and always will be one of my absolute favourites. Five stars all the way!
P.S. - Don't confuse this Disney version of Totoro with an older Pan and Scan version that was originally marketed over ten years ago by Fox. This is a top quality 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and looks superb in either dvd or BD versions. Reviews that talk about it being cut are referring to the older no-longer sold Fox version.