My Neighbor Totoro
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who of course directed Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away among others,
My Neighbor Totoro is the story of a man and his two daughters who move to the countryside in order to live closer to their mother while she recovers from an illness at a hospital. During the course of the movie, the girls meet soem of the creatures that inhabit the forest such as soot sprites and Totoro himself, king of the forest.
The appeal of this movie is tough to describe to somebody who hasn't seen it, and truthfully it probably goes right over the heads of a lot of people who have seen it with closed minds, who might be quick to dismiss it as a "kiddie" movie.
The movie has beautiful animation and lovable characters, of course. What's truly unique about My Neighbor Totoro is the plot structure, or rather its near lack of a traditional climax/resolution type of thing. It's a movie where situations unfold on their own without a need for evil, or bad guys, or danger. In most movies, parents are portrayed as enemies or at least unbelieving obstacles, but in Totoro the girls' parents are loving and accept their stories of the creatures they encounter without any question. Roger Ebert, love him or hate him, does a really excellent job of describing these aspects of the movie, so I'll stop rambling and just link to his essay on the movie.
The American DVD is far from perfect. The dubbed voices of the girls are kind of grating. They're clearly the voices of adults trying to sound like children, although I grew used to them and maybe even liked them by the end of the movie. Sadly, th
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