Blu-Ray Review: My Neighbor Totoro Blu-Ray Combo Pack

TotoroGenre: Animation | Family | Fantasy

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki

MPAA Rating: G

Run Time: 86 minutes

Summary:

Disney proudly celebrates the 25th anniversary of “My Neighbor Totoro,” the acclaimed Studio Ghibli film about the magic of friendship and sisterhood from Academy Award®-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (Best Animated Feature, 2002, ”Spirited Away”) – with the film’s Blu-ray debut on May 21, 2013.

Arriving for the first time on Disney Blu-ray with a spectacular new HD digital transfer, perfect picture and sound, the highly-anticipated release of “My Neighbor Totoro” features the fantastic voice talents of Timothy Daly, Lea Salonga and real-life sisters Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning.

Lauded as “one of the most beloved of all family films” by critic Roger Ebert, “My Neighbor Totoro” is the heartwarming story of sisters Satsuki (voiced by Dakota Fanning) and Mei (voiced by Elle Fanning). Much to their delight, when Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei move into a new home in the countryside, they discover that their new neighbor is a mysterious forest spirit called Totoro—who can be seen only through the eyes of children. Totoro introduces them to extraordinary characters—including a catbus—and takes them on an incredible journey.

Once again a classic children’s movie crosses my path for the first time and I am still finding myself astonished that I hadn’t heard of it. This is another great animation from director Hayao Miyazaki who also directed Howl’s Moving Castle (which we reviewed here) and Spirited Away (which I actually saw when it came out, I don’t live under a rock ALL the time).

My preschoolers loved this movie and have watched it 3 times in less than 24 hours. The youngest (just turned 4) latched on to it the quickest, watching it unblinkingly twice consecutively, and her older brother had much the same reaction when he finally decided to give it a chance today.

That being said, the adult (me) who watched, took all three viewings to really absorb it. It’s important to note that it was made in the late ’80s when entertainment could be done with less flash and momentum than that of today, and I have to say that I wasn’t really expecting the dramatic slowdown after the wild ride watching Howl’s Moving Castle.

It is also one of those movies (though it can be said for older kid-themed television shows as well) where as a parent I found some of the storyline so absurd it seemed drug induced. After having found myself multi-tasking during the first viewing, I looked up and asked my daughter if that was, in fact, a 12 legged cat bus with a Cheshire cat plastered smile trotting across the screen.

You see this movie is about two sisters (who are voiced by real live sisters in the 2005 Disney re-release, Dakota and Elle Fanning) who go on adventures with the mythical creatures that live in the wooded areas around their new home in the country. Here’s a clip of the youngest sister Mei (Elle Fanning) when she first stumbles upon Totoro.

Here are the specs on the Blu-Ray and DVD Combo Pack. There are several features that are only available on the Blu-Ray and not on the DVD so take special note of that.

BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS
“My Neighbor Totoro” Blu-Ray contains the following special features:
Behind the Microphone
The “Totoro” Experience
Creating the Characters
Creating My Neighbor Totoro
Original Japanese Trailer
Original Japanese Storyboards
Producer’s Perspective: Creating Ghibli
The Locations of “Totoro”
Scoring Miyazaki

“My Neighbor Totoro” DVD contains the following special features:
Feature Film Only

Technical Information – BLU-RAY
Language: English 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH and French subtitles
Region: All Regions
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1

Technical Information – DVD
Language: English 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH and French subtitles
Region: All Regions
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1

While it took me a long time to get the hang of the rhythm of the story line of My Neighbor Totoro, I cannot discount the fact that my kids loved it. At no time is it annoying (like some musical television shows I can think of) and would probably be a great segue to get children thinking about adventures they can go on themselves when they’re discovering the great outdoors.

I give My Neighbor Totoro Blu-Ray Combo Pack Four Out of Five Stars.
reviewstars4of5

 
 
My Neighbor Totoro Two Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo is available as of May 21st! Here’s the link:

My Neighbor Totoro (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Blu-ray)

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Tim Daly, Pat Carroll, Lea Salonga
Rating: G (General Audience)

Disney presents a Studio Ghibli film about the magic of friendship and sisterhood from Academy Award®-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (Best Animated Feature, 2001, Spirited Away).  Celebrate the 25th anniversary of My Neighbor Totoro – available for the first time on Disney Blu-ray, with a new HD digital transfer and perfect picture and sound! 

Follow the adventures of Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei as they discover their new neighbor is a mysterious forest spirit named Totoro who can only be seen by the eyes of a child.  As Totoro introduces the girls to his extraordinary friends, they embark on the journey of a lifetime.  Featuring the voice talents of Tim Daly, Lea Salonga and real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, My Neighbor Totoro is an amazing animated adventure the whole family will fall in love with.
List Price: $35.99 USD
New From: $18.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $23.16 USD In Stock

Jess Orso
Written by Jess Orso

Jess is the Managing Editor and Southern Correspondent for SciFiMafia.com

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