—Everett Collection
Darren Franich
May 15, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

My Neighbor Totoro

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
G
runtime
86 minutes
performer
Dakota Fanning, Tim Daly
director
Hayao Miyazaki
author
Hayao Miyazaki
genre
Animation

We gave it an A

Legendary Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki has spent the past 10-plus years making animated epics set in fantastical places filled with outlandish creatures: Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo. By comparison, one of his earliest movies, My Neighbor Totoro (1988, 1 hr., 26 mins., G), seems small-scale. It’s a simple story of two sisters who move to the countryside and meet the titular magical creature in the forest. But out of that wisp of a plot, Totoro conjures up a whimsical, occasionally scary, and transcendent world of youthful imagination.

The film moves freely between delicately observed adolescent emotion and wondrous imagery. (Imagine Dr. Seuss and Terrence Malick collaborating on a Walt Disney version of Tom Sawyer.) And with a gorgeous new 25th-anniversary Blu-ray edition, you can experience it all in crisp high-def. The EXTRAS include an English dub with Dakota and Elle Fanning that was recorded for the 2006 DVD. The dub is decent, and probably better for kids. But no matter what language you choose, Totoro is an enchanting tale for all ages. A

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