My Neighbor Totoro Reviews
Instead of focusing on plot, the film follows the various life situations faced by the film's adorable and lifelike little girls in the form of Satsuki and Mei. Most of the situations involve the two sisters settling down into their new homes and meeting their neighbors (both human and spirit). Sometimes the film is funny, sometimes it's scary, sometimes it's wondrous, and quite sad a few times but it all is held together by how it stays true to the essence of life in general. Kazuo Oga's beautiful background art gives great nuance to the forest settings and emits a warm nostalgic feel of nature's beauty. Even though some zany fantasy elements persist in the film (one highlight is the crazy but awesome cat-bus), the film never loses its sense of realism or emotional center. The big, silent, and playful Totoro is immediately endearing and it is very clear how he became the Winnie the Pooh of Japan.
The animation is absolutely exquisite and the music is simply wonderful. Sure to leave a smile and warm fuzzy feeling in anybody (If it didn't then you have no soul).
But here's something I'd realized: Miyazaki's "Totoro" has a target audience of mostly young girls and kids. (And there's a scene where you don't want to hear any crying.)
However, it's for everyone to enjoy this another storytelling masterpiece from the master storyteller Hayao Miyazaki, being like a Japanese version of Walt Disney. The heartening atmosphere returned in this since "Castle in the Sky" after the grimly "Grave of the Fireflies." (A-)
(Full review TBD)
The film's 2006 dub (obviously better than the first dub by 20th Century Fox in 1998) by Disney stars the Fanning sisters Dakota (from The Twilight Saga, "Dreamer," and "Coraline") and Elle ("Daddy Day Care," "We Bought a Zoo" and "Maleficient").
In my opinion is an artwork and a fantastic choice for a day out with the family, or if you don't know what film to see.
The best moment is the end, but you need to see it to know why.
Let's not mince words, here, but the movie certainly is acceptable, if not adorable. The characters are likeable, the animation is decent, and there it quite some sentiment going on. However, I would like to see more "plot" in the film. In other words, there were some things that dragged on quite a bit and the elements seem too character-focused for my taste. The safest think I can say about this movie is that it isn't "my cup of tea", but if a simple and character-center plot sounds like your thing, then, by all means, go for it.