The Castle of Cagliostro / My Neighbour Totoro. Film Reviews

THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO / MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO

Director & Writer : Hayao Miyazaki

Starring:

  • THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO: Yasuo Yamada, Eiko Masuyama, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Taro Ishida
  • MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO: Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Hitoshi Takagi

Reviewed by Guy Adams

In 2009, the BFS and FantasyCon committees decided that the Karl Edward Wagner award (their “special” award recognizing exemplary contributions to the field) should go to director Hayao Miyazaki in recognition of a thirty-year career bringing a host of beautiful, animated fantasy to the screen. StudioCanal are currently proving exactly why that award was much-deserved with their Studio Ghibli Collection re-releasing many of the director’s films in lavish Blu-ray and DVD releases.

Last month saw the turn of The Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki’s first feature and My Neighbour Totoro, his fourth.

Seperated by nearly ten years, there is an understandable leap of style between the two films. The Castle of Cagliostro is a fun, action-packed romp featuring Arsène Lupin III (grandson of Maurice LeBlanc’s fictional master thief). My Neighbour Totoro is a gentle, elegaic, portrait of two young girls who find support and escape from worries over their hospitalized mother in the company of a powerful wood spirit who only they can see.

It would be somewhat churlish to compare the two given how vastly different their plot and aims are, though it’s hard not to note that the storytelling promise shown in the first is shown to bear astonishing fruit in the second. My Neighbour Totoro is a movie of undeniable beauty and a perfect example of why Miyazaki has earned the reputation he has.

Both Blu-rays offer flawless sound and picture quality, enabling viewers both new and old to immerse themselves in the world’s Miyazaki creates. StudioCanal have done both us and Miyazaki proud with editions that can be considered definitive. If you have yet to experience Miyazaki’s work you no longer have any excuse.