Writer/Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Running time: 86 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U
Japan Release date: 16th April 1988
Watched at the cinema Monday 26th December 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Another one in my mini Studio Ghibli series. I remember the first time I saw this how blown away I was by the way everything looked so natural. The way people move, the animals and the plants all drawn with such care and attention to detail. Add to that a magical story and you’ve got what Disney is constantly on the lookout for. Unfortunately (for them) it’s a story that I don’t think would translate well for the markets they’re catering for. But I digress, here is a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts on the matter.
Satsuki and Mei have moved house with their father so they can be near their mother who is in hospital. Their new house is in the countryside next to a forest. The girls have great fun exploring and when Satsuki has to go to school Mai goes off on her own. She discovers some magical forest creatures, Totoro’s, one of which is of massive proportions! Soon Satsuki sees him too and they have many adventures together. But when Mei gets lost and Satsuki has exhausted every other avenue of help, it’s to Totoro that she turns… Can he help her find her little sister? Well, I guess I had better not tell you that or the Spoiler Police (Ghibli Division) will be revoking my viewing rights (again).
Beautifully animated with great attention to detail, I really love the way this film looks. I watched it in Japanese with subtitles and I didn’t mind one bit, it’s a really easy plot to follow and so not too taxing on the little grey cells. I will give honourable mentions to the voice talents of; Noriko Hidaka as Satsuki, Chika Sakamoto as Mei, Shigesato Itoi as Tatsuo Kusakabe (the father) and Sumi Shimamoto as Yasuko Kusakabe (the mother).
A simple story is the backbone of this film; the magical world of Totoro really makes it a terrific watch. On the downside, I did find the girls voices tended to get a little grating towards the end… most of their dialogue seems to be SHOUTED! Apart from that, I found it beautiful to look at with a quite magical tale, not a lot to dislike here… Recommended.
My score: 8.6/10.
IMDb Score: 8.2/10 (based on 47,047 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 90/100 (based on 29 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 67/100 (based on 76,524 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Satsuki, Mei Kusakabe: Come out, come out, whereever you are!
Mei Kusakabe: To-to-ro? You're Totoro!... I bet you're Totoro...
Tatsuo Kusakabe: Trees and people used to be good friends. I saw that tree and decided to buy the house. Hope Mom likes it too. Okay, let's pay our respects then get home for lunch.