My Neighbor Totoro
Special, Special Edition
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Visionary and Academy Award(R)-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (2002, Best Animated Feature, SPIRITED AWAY) has created a heartwarming, music-filled and wonderful world in MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, a delightfully animated family adventure. And now -- exclusively in this 2-Disc Special Edition DVD -- never-before-seen bonus features reveal even more of Totoro's fantastic world! 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. Bring home MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO from Studio Ghibli and Disney for your family's DVD library and experience the timeless classic film Roger Ebert calls "one of the very few that come along that are magical for all ages."
My Neighbor Totoro is that rare delight, a family film that appeals to children and adults alike. While their mother is in the hospital, 10-year-old Satsuki and 4-year-old Mei move into an old-fashioned house in the country with their professor father. At the foot of an enormous camphor tree, Mei discovers the nest of King Totoro, a giant forest spirit who resembles an enormous bunny rabbit. Mei and Satsuki learn that Totoro makes the trees grow, and when he flies over the countryside or roars in his thunderous voice, the winds blow. Totoro becomes the protector of the two sisters, watching over them when they wait for their father, and carrying them over the forests on an enchanted journey. When the children worry about their mother, Totoro sends them to visit her via a Catbus, a magical, multilegged creature with a grin the Cheshire Cat might envy.
Unlike many cartoon children, Satsuki and Mei are neither smart-alecky nor cloyingly saccharine. They are credible kids: bright, energetic, silly, helpful, and occasionally impatient. Filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki makes the viewer believe the two sisters love each other in a way no American feature has ever achieved. My Neighbor Totoro is enormously popular in Japan, and some of the character merchandise has begun to appear in America. The film has also inspired a Japanese environmental group to buy a Totoro Forest preserve in the Saitama Prefecture, where Miyazaki's film is set. --Charles Solomon
- World of Ghibli – An Extraordinary Interactive Experience
- Enter the Lands – Meet the characters and hear the story of the movie
- Behind the Studio – Discover the film’s inspiration through documentaries, including all-new interviews with Hayao Miyazaki
- Storyboard Presentation of the Movie
Top Customer Reviews
I am an idiot. I could not have been more wrong.
To summarize it--well, look around. The reviews are full of that: Father and two daughters of the Kutsakabe family move to countryside in Japan (circa 1950's) while their mother is recovering in a hospital (from some unspecified ailment, maybe TB?) and the girls discover they are neighbors to magical "trolls"--totoros--three of them, small and medium and very large! They learn the wonders of their new environs with the Totoros and they get a happy ending regarding their family situation, but in a way that will make you both smile and get moist in the eyes.
Nothing complex. It's what the writer/director/artists do with this simple premise that adds up to soooooooooo much more.
This film taps into the warmest, most human, most loving, gentlest, dreamiest bits of my young self that still hides inside my middle-aged self. It reminded me of what it was like to
~have a dad I adored and who cared selflessly for me
~ be young and see enchantments in the world
~explore and be carefree physically
~have fun with the simplest, new things, like a fresh bit of produce from a a plant in a pot or from someone's garden--which seemed like magic to me when I was young), or from a bath or from climbing a tree
~be young and lost and afraid without family nearby
~worry a beloved parent might die (as I feared when I was very, very young, like Mei, and my Papi was hospitalized.)
I understand some of the critique about the vocals, but, geesh, get past it. It's hardly an issue in light of the amazing animation (just watch the girls, the little things, the details, that so absolutely prove that the artist(s) have observed young kids very, very carefully), the playfulness, the delights of the Totoros (I can't watch Chibi Totoro and not giggle. Physically unable to stop myself from just letting loose with a cascade of heeheehees!).
It's a movie which opens with slow, establishing scenes of this new place for the family, but which soon utterly enraptures you with these darling girls and the weird but lovable Totoros and the kind, distracted Papa. The scene with Mei on Big Totoro's furry tummy is pure perfection. Watch her legs, the way she lays there and plays with Totoro's face. The way she scoots. The gorgeous bonding the ensues. The restfulness.
And the scene at the bus stop/catbus stop: Wow. Look at the way the shadows and light are done. The hilarity of O Totoro and his leaf hat. The joy of raindrops on an umbrella. The sweetness of sleepy Mei and the unselfishness and kindness of Satsuki.
The scene with the night ride: Oh. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Who wouldn't want to be five or six again and ride on a Totoro's tummy through a moonlit night, over rice fields and camphor trees?
If you have high BP, this movie will settle it down, it's such a bit of grace pouring on you. If you want something beautiful that fills you with a sense of nostalgia: This is it.
Feel young again. Feel magic. Feel joy. Watch MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO.
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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