JTurner's Movie Review of My Neighbor Totoro ( Tonari no Totoro )

Rating of

My Neighbor Totoro ( Tonari no Totoro )

Marvelous and heartwarming!
JTurner - wrote on 05/31/09

What more can be said about MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO? Get this movie. Immediately. Not only one of the best animated features, from Japan or otherwise, this is a thoroughly winning original creation from Hayao Miyazaki about two sisters who discover a gentle forest giant in their backyard. Gorgeously animated and imaginative with an emotionally charged subplot involving the girls' frail mother, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO isn't just a children's story. With a little bit of luck, grown-ups are sure to enjoy it too. Originally dubbed into English in 1993 by Carl Macek's Streamline Pictures, this movie was recently given a brand new dub. I understand that some folks have found the new dub a little disorienting, but personally, I think it's great to have another version of this classic film... and as someone who loved the first English version I wasn't disappointed with the redub in the least. Dakota and Elle Fanning are great as the two sisters (Elle is especially winning); their chemistry feels as believable and lively as possible, and Tim Daly and Lea Salonga provide gentleness and warmth as their parents. My favorite performances? Pat Carroll as the elderly Granny, and Frank Welker, who does fantastic foley for Totoro and the Cat Bus. It should be noted, too, that the staff of the new dub obviously loves Miyazaki's work, and my impression is that they've tried very much to maintain this film's highest quality with their reinterpretation. If you don't find this new dub appealing, there's always the Japanese language track on the DVD, and the original dub on the Fox pan & scan DVD. It's that simple, really.

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