My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro ★★★★★

The Blu-ray is absolutely stunning, and It's worth the hefty price-tag. Trust me, this masterwork has never looked better.

Magical, charming and purifying; My Neighbor Totoro is simply one of the finest animated films of all time. Full of compelling and interesting characters, spectacular and beautiful visuals, a marvelous musical score, and a story that feels both enchanting and grounded; those attributes combine to make for a scrumptious and delightful piece of cinema.

Hayao Miyazaki tenderly constructs both a coming-of-age tale as well as a statement on the longevity of innocence with whimsy and ease. Both the hand-drawn visuals and the story itself contribute to the lived-in and alluring feel that My Neighbor Totoro pulls off so well. Never does the film resort to emotional toying or tonal shifts, but instead it dips its foot in slight danger while still keeping the charm and innocence oozing from the frame. That's probably the greatest positive about My Neighbor Totoro, because it brings both a story that tells important messages as well as fascinating younger audiences.

For children, the greatest part in this wondrous piece of cinema is the little band of creatures. Sweet, gentle, and believable; these superb critters can make even the most cynical adult cry in the midst of their subtle power and their lovely attention to detail. Totoro, the titular creature, is just delightfully crafted and glorious to watch. His moments with the two little girls are magical to say the least.

The landscape of rural Japan is a character in and of itself. Vast and mountainous clouds, grand and detailed fields, small and "haunted" homes; the locations in this film are terrific. And what's even better is how the two little girls interact with this environment. Exploring a new house, with dark crevices and frightening corners is a nostalgic sequence to behold. Finding a secret passage in the nearby forest feels just as exciting as when you discovered one in your childhood. The film throughout is built on small and seemingly minuscule moments, yet they are brought with such realism and beauty that it couldn't be more convincing and fantastic to watch.

Overall, I can't recommend My Neighbor Totoro enough. The animation, the story, the characters, the magic and the statements on slowly-slipping innocence and childhood culminates in a touching and vibrant masterpiece, one that can and should stand side-by-side cinema's greatest works of art.

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