Friday, May 31, 2013

New to DVD and Blu-Ray from Disney -- My Neighbor Totoro, Spectacular 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this film by the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.


"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. "

Timothy Daly (TV’s “Private Practice”) as the voice of Father 
Dakota Fanning (“Twilight”) as the voice of Satsuki
Lea Salonga (“Mulan”) as the voice of Mother
Elle Fanning (“Super 8”) as the voice of Mei 

Writer, Director:                       
Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Ponyo”)
Bonus Features:                             

  • Original Japanese Storyboards
  • Behind the Studio 
  • Creating “My Neighbor Totoro” 
  • Creating the Characters 
  • The Totoro Experience 
  • Producer’s Perspective: Creating Ghibli 
  • The Locations of Totoro 
  • Scoring Miyazaki 
  • Original Japanese Trailer
  • Behind the Microphone


My Thoughts:

Are you a fan of Japanese Anime?  I was first introduced to this genre of film back in college, when I took a course about it, and watched over a dozen anime classics.  One director from this genre which stood out to me was Hayao Miyazaki.  I was not alone is liking this director's work, as he is one of the best known Japanese anime director's around.  And, his classic film, "My Neighbor Totoro" was recently digitally remastered and released on Blu-ray and DVD for all to enjoy. 

When I took the Japanese Anime course in college, I wasn't expecting to fall in love with these types of film, but I did.  And, "My Neighbor Totoro" ended up being my favorite of all the Japanese Anime movies we watched.  So, when I heard about it being digitally remastered and releasing on Blu-ray and DVD combo pack from Disney, I had to get my hands on a copy.  Not only was I excited to see this movie for the umpteenth time, but I was also looking forward to sharing another anime classic with my girls.  I have shared a few of these types of films with them, and love seeing their reactions.  While they are similar to animated films my girls enjoy watching, there is something about anime films that makes you truly appreciate the art form, and what goes into making these types of films.

This movie has a simple storyline that even the youngest of viewers will be able to understand and follow along.  Two sisters (voiced overed by Dakota Fanning and her little sister, Ella Fanning), move into a new home with their father, while their mother is away at a hospital receiving treatment for an illness.  Not wanting to let their mother's condition get them down, they begin to explore the new house and the surrounding forest.  As they travel deep into the forest, they meet a family of Totoros -- which are oversized furry racoon-type animals, along with some other weird, yet cute looking creatures.

Here is my favorite clip from this film, "Totoro at the Bus Stop"

Viewers will be drawn into the imaginary world of the Totoros, and find themselves believing that these furry creatures could existence -- in our own imaginations.  And, like so many other Japanese anime films, this film will unexpectedly move you and pull at your heartstrings.  While you feel for the two girls, as their mother is absent in their lives due to illness, you hope these find peace and a sense of calm while exploring the forest near their new home.  While the creatures in the film are oversized, they are not scary looking.  This is what originally drew me to this movie.  I loved how this children's film contained no violence or dark scenes, but instead make the viewer fall in love with the Totoro family.  You will find yourself wishing you had the imagination of your little ones, as they go off imagining about forest creatures like the Totoros.  

Into the WoodsCat Bus

Even if you are not a fan of Japanese Anime, this cute children's tale will surely delight children and adults of all ages.  The cinematic magic of this forest adventure, which finds two young sisters making friends with an unlikely family, the Totoros, with put a smile on your face.  When we were done watching this movie the other day, Savannah got up and clapped her hands.  I asked why she was doing this, and she replied, "Mommy, this is a great movie," before asking to watch it again.  Since then, we have seen "My Neighbor Totoro" a handful of times both in-house and in the car -- and, each and every time, Savannah can't help but comment on how great this movie is.  I guess she has her mom's taste in films. :-)

So, if you are looking for a great family-friendly film to share with your children, why not consider "My Neighbor Totoro," now available on DVD and Blu-ray.  And, be sure to head back here and let me know what you thought of it. :-) 

  Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this film by the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views shared are mine and mine alone.


  1. I didn't even know Disney did this type of movie. My 4 yr old may like it, right now he loves movies.
    lisae819 at yahoo dot com

  2. i cant believe this has been out for 25 years and ive never seen it!