Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro is a film that should be able to put a smile on any viewers face, and without a doubt, it'll take you on one of the most whimsical and fantastic journey's ever.
My Neighbor Totoro is a story that definitely something children can relate with, as i watched this with someone, they immediately paused the film and asked if this reminded me of being 4 years old again. This film really connects with people. But it's far from a quality nostalgia piece, it's well animated, beautiful, avoids cliché stereotypes (from both typical of the Anime genre and Children's Fantasy films), and is beautifully filmed (see scenes such as the girls waiting for the bus with Totoro and the scene where the magic nuts and seeds grow with the help of Totoro).
Even the English dub done by Fox isn't as bad everyone states. I've seen the Japanese version, and i'd have to say it's a mixed-bag between having Mei's voice sounds a bit too bratty for the English version, or having the Father's voice sound a bit awkward and perhaps not as caring in the Japanese version. Disney is said to be releasing a re-dub in mid-to-late 2005, so perhaps that will even out the controversy.
This film may not reach the heights of other Anime classics (mainly it's double bill with Grave of the Fireflies, or Miyazaki's other masterpieces Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away), however this will definitely be high on any film lovers list, and is definitely a high water mark of it's genre.
A solid 9/10, This film is next to impossible to watch without it pushing a smile out of your face.
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