My Neighbor Totoro
Writer/Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring/English Dubs By: Dakota and Elle Fanning, Tim Daly, Pat Carroll
Review by Stephanie Cooke
I don’t even know how many years it’s been since I watched My Neighbor Totoro. And even not being able to remember the last time I saw it, the film remains in mind so prominently as a source of joy and delight. Getting the chance to sit down and watch it in HD as an adult is a genuine treat.
The film was beautiful when it was released with flawless animation and breathtaking scenery but cleaned up and restored on Blu-ray is incredible. Everything just pops out at you and is amplified: the colours, the characters… all of it.
I always remember My Neighbor Totoro being this fantastical movie about forest spirits and family but it’s such a sad movie at its core, all about two young girls who are trying to cope with their mother being in the hospital, being in a new home, and being responsible and caring for one another. There are so many really heavy and emotional moments buried within the film that sometimes you forget when remembering the movie.
Hayao Miyazaki is such a master storyteller and has managed to always tell such brilliant tales that blend fantasy and reality into one. He manages to tell these stories that are also so ahead of their time and are almost parable-like as they warn us of the consequences of our actions. Whether those actions are how we treat our environment around us or how we treat one another, there’s always so much to take away from what Miyazaki puts into his works.
Once again within My Neighbor Totoro, there’s wonderful portrayals of women. Satsuki and Mei are such sweet characters that love and look out for one another in the most heartwarming ways. The theme of innocent love is so prevalent and it feels good to watch unconditional displays of it, even within an animated fictional film.
With the new release from GKIDS, there are great bonus features that you can take advantage of such as:
- Feature-Length Storyboards
- Original Theatrical Trailers
- Behind the Microphone
- Textless Opening and End Credits
- Creating My Neighbor Totoro
- Creating the Characters
- The Totoro Experience
- The Locations of My Neighbor Totoro
- Producer’s Perspective: Creating Ghibli
- 8-page Booklet with Producer’s and Director’s Statements
Must buy! I’ve adored My Neighbor Totoro since I was a kid and it holds up so incredibly well. It’s absolutely something that everyone should have in their collection to watch every now and again to remind us of how family should be and that there’s magic in the world if we choose to believe.