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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredible movie - but something's missing (the fifth star!)
Every good thing you've read in these reviews is correct. This is an absolute feast for the eyes and imagination.... however.... this edition is not widescreen, it's pan & scan (full screen), so you'll miss some of this animator's breathtaking scenery and composition.
Miyazaki's artistry is such that he uses every single inch of space on a screen, and for me, to...
Published on June 15 2004 by D. Dunlosky

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wrong voice actors
The movie is and always has been great, my problem with this release is the English voice actors. Why they re-dubbed something that was perfectly fine to begin with is ridiculous and of course someone like Dakota Fanning isn't going to do these characters justice.
I wish I could find the original streamline release with the good voice actors on it, because this has...
Published 1 month ago by Kitty


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredible movie - but something's missing (the fifth star!), June 15 2004
By 
D. Dunlosky (Downer's Grove, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Neighbour Totoro (DVD)
Every good thing you've read in these reviews is correct. This is an absolute feast for the eyes and imagination.... however.... this edition is not widescreen, it's pan & scan (full screen), so you'll miss some of this animator's breathtaking scenery and composition.
Miyazaki's artistry is such that he uses every single inch of space on a screen, and for me, to watch it in pan & scan is to insult his work. Unfortunately there is no "complete" version of the film available here yet, although Disney is supposed to be releasing one when FOX's rights to the film have expired. All the other available works by Miyazaki are done beautifully in the United States. It's a travesty that this "signature" film of his is still only available in this "somewhat less than whole" version.
So buy this and watch it, but only if you promise yourself to re-buy it when the whole film becomes available. I've seen this picture many, many times (I'm 45 years old - so it really is for kids of all ages) and it has something new for me every time I see it. Plus, I've seen it both wide-screen AND pan & scan (full screen) and I can tell you that the difference is worth seeking out (it's available wide from Japan and China if you own an all-region DVD player) or waiting until it comes out properly here.
WIDESCREEN - 5 stars
Full Screen - 4 (maybe 3.5) stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wrong voice actors, Sept. 2 2014
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The movie is and always has been great, my problem with this release is the English voice actors. Why they re-dubbed something that was perfectly fine to begin with is ridiculous and of course someone like Dakota Fanning isn't going to do these characters justice.
I wish I could find the original streamline release with the good voice actors on it, because this has just disappointed me greatly, I feel it is a complete waste of money if you're trying to recapture the nostalgia of your first time watching,
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Totoro : A Delightul Neighbor, June 9 2004
This review is from: My Neighbour Totoro (DVD)
Japanese animated filmaker Hayao Miyazaki has a deep and abiding love of nature, and of the Japanese Shinto spirits who live deep in the forest. Miyazaki shares this love in this wonderful film about two young girls who go to live with their father in a country house in rural Japan, far removed from the city lights of Tokyo.
One of Miyazaki's gifts is how he captures the mannerisms of children, especially little girls. The boisterous innocence of how the sisters laugh and play, however, does not mean they are not capable of deep sensitivity. Indeed, the serious part of this story is that their mother is sick in a hospital.
The new house and new neighbors provide many adventures for the girls, who soon discover the friendly and magical Shinto spirits who dwell in the nearby woods. Like an old-fashioned European fairy-tale, the spirits, who would normally be hidden, respond to the girl's kindness. One especially memorable scene happens when the girls are waiting at the rural bus stop for their father to come home from visiting his wife.
From a summer sky suddenly dark and about to burst with rain, to a slow setting of the sun, the animation in Totoro is amazing in it's simplicity. The quiet nature scenes are extremely relaxing for adults, who will become nostalgic for their childhood while viewing this classic.
One scene is deeply moving and speaks of the bonds that can form between people who aren't even related. It is of an old woman praying fervently for the little sister, who has become lost while trying to find her way to her mother. This scene, and the climactic ending, will touch your heart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even my three-year old likes this one!, Nov. 27 2012
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This review is from: My Neighbor Totoro (2-Disc Special Edition) [Import] (DVD)
A sweet, bright and cheerful movie for adults and kids alike. You will be amazed at the attention to detail in both the artistry and the characters. Miyazaki studies his medium from every angle, and presents a piece of artwork that is beautiful to behold.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful family entertainment, Dec 28 2010
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This review is from: My Neighbor Totoro (2-Disc Special Edition) [Import] (DVD)
I've owned this movie for at least 10 year and my children and I have watched it over and over as they have grown. I have just bought extra copies for my young nieces. It's charming and funny and will entertain anyone from about age 4 up. The key elements of the story line are easy to follow and the children in the movie do some of the strange little things that kids do when confronted with unusual situations, which make them seem real and endearing. Sometimes the translated dialogue comes out a little clumsy, but for me, it adds to the charm.

Don't worry if you are not a fan of anime or are turned off by the coarse looking character animation -- by about 15 mins into the movie you won't even care. This is classical animation, not multi-billion polygon computer animation, and Miyazaki and his animators create gorgeous backgrounds that capture glorious mixes of form and shadow for their characters to play in. My kids and I have often commented when traveling, "Those look like Totoro clouds" or "Camphor tree!! Camphor tree!!".

Pick up this classic - you won't be disappointed!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spirits of the forest, May 16 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: My Neighbor Totoro (2-Disc Special Edition) [Import] (DVD)
Nobody captures the magic of childhood and bottles it into movie form quite like Hayao Miyazaki -- and one steller example of this is "My Neighbor Totoro," an enchanting little film about two little girls who encounter strange, wondrous things in the woods. There's not much actual plot, but the journey is the truly lovely part, and the lush animation and weird creatures (catbus! CATBUS!) finish off the perfection.

Satsuki and her toddler sister Mei move to the countryside with their father, so they can be close to the hospital where their mother is being treated (apparently for tuberculosis). The girls are immediately taken under the wing of an old lady, and discover that the countryside is filled with strange and magical creatures -- especially little balls of soot that dance through uncleaned rooms in their house.

What's more, while waiting for a bus Satsuki ends up standing next to a giant grinning bunny-creature -- whom Mei learns is called Totoro -- who boards a giant leaping cat-bus. The girls soon befriend the trio of Totoro, who take them on magical adventures involving giant fast-growing trees, flying with umbrellas, and riding in the cat-bus. But after the girls learn that their mother has become ill and can't visit, Mei vanishes without a trace -- and Satsuki may need Totoro's help to find her.

"My Neighbor Totoro" is sort of a fantasy slice-of-life story -- it's basically a few days in the life of two chipper little girls, who happen to be living in a Japanese countryside filled with genial spirits and magical happenings. There's no real plot at the center of it, but such is Miyazaki's skill that you never really care. You just want to see if things will turn out all right in the short term, and revel in the innocence of being little kids in the countryside.

To that end, Miyazaki spins up a magical little world -- houses are filled with bug-eyed sootballs, a tunnel in the bushes may lead to a Totoro's lair, and a vegetable garden can sprout into a vast towering tree. It's all painted in lush, vibrant colors and great detail, and Miyazaki does a good job emphasizing the little moments of everyday life (Mei showing up at Satsuki's school) and interweaving them with the more fantastical stuff (Totoro flying across windswept fields with an umbrella).

But he never forgets that real life has its bumps in the road -- there's a genuinely touching subplot in which the girls hear that their mother is ill again, and there's a genuine sense of fear. It's not too harsh (it's a kid's movie, after all), but it taps into a very primal fear that every little kid has.

The characters are all rather simple, but they're still quite likable, with upbeat personalities and loud laughter. Satsuki is particular is a realistic kid, staying positive most of the time but occasionally blowing up at Mei or crying out of fear that her mother will die. The only character I didn't understand was the boy in the cap, who seems troubled and shy, but who is never fully explored.

This movie has always gotten skimped somewhat on the extras, so it's nice to see that it's finally getting some attention -- it has the Disney dub (which is quite good) and original Japanese dub, storyboards, behind-the-scenes featurette, and a pair of interactive features called "World of Ghibli" and "Enter the Lands".

While it's more obviously aimed at kids than many of Miyazaki's movies, "My Neighbor Totoro" is an enchanting little story with a warm heart, and Hayao Miyazaki perfectly captures the innocence of childhood. Plus, it has a big, furry, grinning bus.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie, Oct. 9 2004
This review is from: My Neighbour Totoro (DVD)
Miyazaki is simply brilliant and it shows in his works. This movie exudes charm and can be enjoyed but anyone.
If you're not familiar with Studio Ghibli, or Hayao Miyazaki, collectively, they are responsible for a large number of blockbuster Japanese animation films. Studio Ghibli's movies are only beginning to gain a presence in the North American market, in spite of the fact that they have been released years ago. Many have been influenced by these movies including John Lasseter, director of Pixar's A Bug's Life and the Toy Story series. He calls Miyazaki's works as being "the most inspirational films".
This movie is about a father and his two daughters who have moved into a new house located in a rural village. While the mother is in the hospital, the two girls begin to explore the surroundings of their new dwelling. In one unexpected chance, Mei discovers a Totoro. Without spoiling too much, the film explores the encounter and their subsequent meetings.
Although the plot does not seem overly complex, it needn't be. It takes a simple plot and still manages to capture your interest.
Intertwined with a great soundtrack, this movie is for anyone. I would greatly encourage anyone to delve into the Studio Ghibli world of animation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the finest family movie to ever come out of Japan, April 30 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: My Neighbour Totoro (DVD)
Master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki has created a delightful work of sheer beauty in My Neighbor Totoro. The story centers around two girls who move into the countryside with their father. Their mother is in the hospital, and when she seems to be getting better, she has a relapse. An urgent telegram is sent to the house, where it is read by Satsuki (the older sister). Neither child knows how to react to this; Mei runs away, and it is up to Satsuki and the Totoro of the forest to find her.
I first saw this movie when the original Fox VHS came out (I was about 5 at that point, and got it as a Christmas present), and continue to be enchanted by it today. As soon as I heard that it was being released on DVD, I ordered a copy, but alas, I should have waited.
To those of you who have the VHS and are considering the DVD, and even to those who have the Fox DVD, I strongly reccomend ordering a copy of the Disney/Studio Ghibly version. It is true that dubbing a movie can do tremendious injustice to a foreign film, and the Japanese language track is a feature that should have been included on the Fox release. Also note that the second disk will be packed with features, including storyboard drawings, cast interviews, and a myriad of other interesting morsels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, Cute, and Heartwarming., April 23 2004
This review is from: My Neighbour Totoro (DVD)
My Neighbor Totoro has become one of my animated favorites. It is a simple and delightful tale of all ages. I believe it to be a masterpiece. The characters are believable...the story is simplistic, yet heartwarming. I found myself in both laughter and tears with this film.
The story takes place in Japan. Two young girls and their father find a new home. Their mother is in the hospital for an unknown illness. As they spend more time in the home, the youngest girl Mei, finds a forest den in which little totoros and the King Totoro lives.
My first impression of the film was that it seemed outdated. The animations were well done and charming, but didn't seem as crisp and colorful as today's films. Still I understand that it is an older movie.
The movie ended way too quickly because I wanted to keep watching more, but it took a sudden end. It was a complete and fullfilling ending nevertheless, it just felt like there should've been more in the middle. I thought I would be seeing more of the Catbus and Totoro, (since the movie is named, "My Neighbor Totoro"). The presence of the cute furry animals seemed short lived. Still, the adventures two sisters go on is unforgettable.
I do not thing very young kids or anyone with a short attention span would enjoy this film, because the film focuses a lot on a simple adventures and many times slow story progression. The scenes are memorable, artistic, and imaginative, but it still takes a tentive viewer to enjoy it without getting anxious for some action.
Overall, I give the feature of this film 5 Stars. Everything about it from beginning to end had great qualities to it. The DVD version of this isn't very impressive because it lacks features. So if you buy DVDs for their features, this one lacks them.
Delightful, cute, and heartwarming...it's a film that everyone needs to watch now and then, to relax and enjoy the pleasurable things in life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Kid Classic, April 2 2004
This review is from: My Neighbour Totoro (DVD)
Get ready to fall in love with a big furry, well, Totoro. This movie takes place in Japan pre-WWII and revolves around 2 young girls moving into a mysterious new house on the edge of a forest. Together they become friends with the King of the Forest: Totoro. Kids and adults of all ages fell in love with Totoro when the movie was 1st released in Japan and he continues to be a merchandising powerhouse (and logo) for Studio Ghibli--the Japanese Disney--even today.
Totoro, however, is better than your average Disney flick. No singing candlesticks, no violence, no death. The drama comes from family situations from a childs point of view. And not everything in this film is pre-packaged and shrink-wrapped. The story allows a childs imagination to work into the story, too.
If you're just a parent looking for a great DVD for your kids, then get this DVD now! It's a bargain at $10. However, if you're a fan of anime and the DVD format in general, I suggest you wait until Aug. 2004 when a special 2 disc DVD set is released in the USA by Disney of all people.
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My Neighbor Totoro (2-Disc Special Edition) [Import]
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