DVD Title
My Neighbor Totoro
International Title
My Neighbor Totoro
DVD Length Original Length
86 Minutes 86 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
Disney 2006
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English, French English, French
Region Number of Discs
1 2
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.85:1 2.0 Stereo
Extras
.
Menus (English)
.
Chapters (12)
.
Trailers: My Neighbor Totoro, Cars, The Little Mermaid: Special Edition DVD, Studio Ghibli DVDs, Chicken Little, Airbuddies, Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
.
Behind the Microphone (6 minutes)
.
Opening and Credit Sequences without titles (4 minutes)
.
Complete Storyboards (86 minutes)
Captures
Review

Probably one of the most eagerly anticipated re-releases thus far of a Japanese film, Disney's DVD for Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro is another outstanding title from the company, even if it does fall slightly short of their other Ghibli DVDs. Video and audio are both presented here with incredible quality, though, while the movie's original specifications are also well preserved. To make matters even better, the disc has a good selection of supplemental material for fans to mill over as well.


 Video:

Animation is always a tough medium to release to DVD, because colors and shades are often smooth and flat in tone, which allows the human eye to pick up grain and other inconsistencies far easier than on a live action movie where texture and other details will often muddle such things. Keeping this in mind, Disney has done a really outstanding job with the video quality on this release. The brightness level and colors are perfect here, for example. The print used for the transfer also looks to be in great shape with not a whole lot of grain and very few scratches, while the movie also looks very sharp. Some edge enchantment has been utilized, though, but to such a small enough degree that most won't notice. In contrast to Fox's 2002 My Neighbor Totoro release, the difference is really night and day in terms of sharpness, as one can compare a scene on this releases versus that same scene on Fox's DVD.

My Neighbor Totoro is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

Disney does it again with another superb audio presentation. In total, there are three audio tracks present on this DVD, which include the original Japanese, a new English dub, and a French dub, all of which are presented in 2.0 stereo. Quality wise, there isn't much of anything to complain about, as audio distinction on both the Japanese and English tracks are fantastic given the two channel presentation. Unfortunately, the French track doesn't fare quite as well, as the dialogue isn't as crystal clear, while the speaker range is also noticeably weaker. Still, otherwise this is a fairly great audio presentation that would have gotten a full score had it tossed in a 5.1 mix for good measure.

The audio can be accompanied by, removable, English or French subtitles that correspond to either the Japanese or English dubbed tracks. It should be noted that the English subtitles for the Japanese track are a little loose at times, but it's close enough that no one will likely raise much of a complaint.


 Extras: Star Rating

I will admit that for a two disc set, I was rather disappointed with the selection of extras present. That's not to say that they were bad, but in contrast to Geneon's discs or other Ghibli DVDs like Porco Rosso I found a let less content to mill over than I was expecting. In terms of the good, the full storyboards are included here on the second disc, which run the full 86 minutes of the main feature (although the opening credits aren't featured as storyboards). This extra can be viewed with either the Japanese or English dub audio tracks.

Next up is a six minute video focusing on the process behind Disney's new dub track for My Neighbor Totoro. Unfortunately, the dubbing for this film kind of lacks the big name actors the company has been known to hire to do previous Ghibli movies, save perhaps Dakota Fanning (with her sister, Elle Fanning, playing Mei) if someone out there considers her a big name after The War of the Worlds. Consequently, this makes this video not as interesting to watch as previous features from the company focusing on the same thing.

Rounding out the disc are a couple of forgettable extras, as the opening and ending titles are present without text, along with the film's original trailer, which is unfortunately in horrible condition.


 Overview:

Bottom line, it's not Disney's best release of a Miyazaki film, but it's still a great disc overall, and such a vast improvement over Fox's 2002 DVD that one can hardly complain.

- Anthony Romero  
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