My Neighbor Totoro Reviews
Meet Satsuki, she is a rambunctious child who lives with her father while her mother recuperates in the hospital. Mei is her younger sister who is such a sweetheart. She has so much energy and cuteness that shines through. They live near a kind lady who they name granny. The voice acting is impeccable. No one over does it and every line is delivered with perfect pitch and timing. The characters are like the ones you usually see in a Miyazaki movie, the understanding dad, the wonderful mom, and the relatable and cute kids. Does this take away from the characters? Nope, they are so real and likable, you don't even notice. They are normal people who we can relate to, and see the world through Satsuki and Mei's eyes is quite an experience. Totoro and his companions are great. They have personality and great design. You will never forget the cat bus. Yes, you heard me, a kitty cat bus! It's sooo cute you'll wish there really was a kitty cat bus! Oh the horror! Make it real!
The story is simple and it works. A father and his two kids move out to a small home, so they can visit their mom (his wife), more often. Mei goes into the woods and she finds a creature named Totoro. She tries to convince her sister and father that she found him, but he doesn't appear. Is this all in Mei's head? The story does deepen when mom gets sick. Satsuki and Mei try to find a way to see her see if she is ok. This is so relatable to any child. Who wouldn't want to rush to the hospital to see their mom if she was supposed to go home, but gets sick? Mei and Satsuki also try to find out what is Totoro's deal. Is he a friend? Watch and see.
As usual, Miyazaki does his typical perfect job directing the animation with vibrant colors, wonderful character design, and a smart screenplay. I love how Miyazaki makes his characters look like regular people, instead of the typical anime tropes. It makes their situations more relatable. There are quiet moments in this movie that are spectacular. Miyazaki respects the audience's intelligence. He knows we can handle quiet moments and lets us fill in the blanks on what's going on. Audiences don't need zooming cameras and in your face loudness in order to compel us. Give us a good story and characters we can relate to, and we can have the patience to watch any movie.
The screenplay maybe my favorite part of this movie. When Mei tells her dad and Satsuki that she saw Totoro, we could've gotten the same, "Sure you did, you are nuts." tropes we've seen a thousand times. Instead, we get a caring father and sister who really want this to be real for Mei. That is such a breath of fresh air to see in a family movie. The story has enough depth, but doesn't bog down the story will too much plot. Instead, the screenplay focuses on the journey for Satsuki and Mei. This is perfect! It keeps it simple and relatable without drowning out the spirit of what makes this movie so good. It is pure magic. Simple, sweet and gentle. This is one of the best screenplays for any movie, I've ever seen. Miyazaki wrote this masterwork of a screenplay and should've gotten an Oscar nomination for it.
I can't really name any to be honest. Maybe the running time, which is eighty-seven minutes long. I would have loved if this movie had been four hours long! Maybe, that's the sign of a great movie. It leaves you wanting more! This is a near perfect movie that delights with sights, sounds, heartfelt moments and hearty laughs.
My Neighbor Totoro has become a huge cult hit and it is easy to see why. The gorgeous visuals, adorable characters, charming story and sweet tone will make this a family favorite for decades to come. Ninety-nine percent of big Hollywood animated movies pale in comparison to this movie. If you are looking for adorable, and wholesome family entertainment that is also a great movie. Look no further than My Neighbor Totoro, one of the best movies, (not just animated, but movies period), ever made.
My Score: 4 stars. One of the best animated, no, movies PERIOD, of all time. A charming classic that you will love and watch many times without the magic wearing off.
But the greatest thing about My Neighbor Totoro isn't how realistic it feels, but it's the fabulous message it delivers, and the thing that is more fascinating is the way it delivers this message. I really shouldn't spoil anything about this gorgeous film, but it delivers a message about facing the fear; the fear of everything, and the fear in all its kinds and levels. Miyazaki merged this message with the story in a gleefully brilliant way.
I shouldn't call it delivering the message, though. Instead, I should call it merging or combining the message with the story, or rather I should say that Miyazaki created an entire story from a message! It's really amazing that this film has no real plot!
Hayao Miyazaki proved that it's not even necessary for a movie to have an antagonist, or at least not a common one, as I mentioned above, the story itself is about a message about facing the fear. And I didn't feel at any time throughout the movie that I need an antagonist or a usual problem to be invested in the movie. I was engaged and hooked from the very beginning of the movie till the end credits scene, which is very cool, by the way.
The thing is that at the third act the movie changed completely in terms of the plot; it turned from a plot-free movie to a movie that has a real plot and a very serious problem. The plot and its problem didn't come from nowhere; they are attached very well to the story from its beginning, and it's been appeared later that the plot is kinda share the same message of the story, but the problem is that the movie changed a great deal when it moved from its second to the third act. I felt as the movie betrayed itself after promising, and spectacularly managing to keep the audience on the edge of their seat with a story devoid from typical plot issues and obstacles. Yes, I've been engaged again and invested in the story with its plot because I cared about every single character, but it took me a little time, and I really felt a bit uncomfortable and annoyed with this inconsistency.
Overall, I can say that My Neighbor Totoro is an imaginative tale that every parent should enjoy it with his/her child. Because I think that the moral of the story is actually as, if not more important to parents.
I personally prefer My Neighbor Totoro to Spirited Away, but if I'm going to be honest with myself, Spirited Away is the better film; just slightly better. Looking forward to see more works from this genius filmmaker.
There's a really strong heart at the core of this movie that just reminds you how it was to be a little kid, since most adults just can't remember anything after they were six years old