Wednesday, February 6, 2013
All this week I'll be blogging about my five favorite animated feature films written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, animator, manga artist and screenwriter. He also co-founded Studio Ghibli, one of Japan's most well known animation film studios.
1988's My Neighbor Totoro may be the most adorable animated movie ever made. It's especially enjoyable for families with young children, because its innocence and curiosity mirror the vigorous interest of young minds, but its mystery and underlying themes are sophisticated enough to keep even the most discerning parent entertained. From IMDB:
When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wonderous forest spirits who live nearby.
Totoro is a simple, quiet film, full of adorable spirits, and fabulous creatures, which I find absolutely endearing, even if my friend, Adam, is creeped out by Catbus (follow those links, Adam, you'll love the last one). That said, there are some serious themes at work as well: conservation, the environment, the fear of moving into a new place, and imagination in general.
All in all, I think this quote from Roger Ebert sums it up well: "one of the lovingly hand-crafted works of Hayao Miyazaki ... My Neighbor Totoro is based on experience, situation and exploration—not on conflict and threat ... it would never have won its worldwide audience just because of its warm heart. It is also rich with human comedy in the way it observes the two remarkably convincing, lifelike little girls ... It is a little sad, a little scary, a little surprising and a little informative, just like life itself. It depends on a situation instead of a plot, and suggests that the wonder of life and the resources of imagination supply all the adventure you need."