It pains me to give it an average rating, but the fact that I wanted more of it proves that I was enjoying what we got before it came to an abrupt end. I was certain that I had accidentally hit the chapter skip button my remote, but nope, I did indeed watch the whole movie.
It's summer 1955 and very cute and curious 4-year-old Mei and her sister Satsuki move out into the country with their dad while their mother is in hospital. The creaky, dusty old house that they move into appears to be hot spot for forest spirits and magical creatures. As with all Hayao Miyazaki movies there is a heavy theme of nature being beautiful and the Earth being precious but where is the story?
Mei soon meets "Totoro" a giant cat/rabbit thing, who does...pretty much nothing. Totoro is barely IN the movie. I've seen pictures of him for years, I even carry around a Totoro satchel at work. I assumed that the movie would be filled with their wondrous discoveries, summertime adventures, and, y'know, some kind of PLOT! But nope. He's barely in it. Seriously, where is the rest of this film? I assume all those picture I saw were merely fan art and not stills from the actual film.
At one point Mei runs off to find her mother but gets lost on her way to the hospital. Satsuki enlists Totoro to help her and he summons the Catbus to locate Mei and take them both to the hospital and the film ends there. That's it! My jaw was on the floor when the credits began to roll, and not in a good way.
The animation is simply beautiful and is the perfect antidote to the ostentatious horror of modern CGI animated movies, the kids are cute, and Totoro (all 2 minutes he has on screen) is one of the most huggable characters ever created, but I am sorry I have to rate this on the lower rung of Miyazaki movies. There should have been more to this.
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