New Studio Ghibli releases from GKids

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

Studio Ghibli enchants viewers with magical and entertaining films. My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo are only two of the delightful films that are now available on Blu-ray combo packs from GKids.

In a reimagining of The Little Mermaid, Ponyo is about a little goldfish princess who longs to be human. Ponyo leaves her home and family and encounters a human boy names Sosuke. They form a bond that takes them through trials and tribulations, while her father, a sorcerer, tries to lure her back to the sea. During her quest to remain a human girl, the forces of nature are set into disarray and a storm threatens the little seaport town where Ponyo now resides with Sosuke and his mother.

Noah Cyrus and Frankie Jonas voice Ponyo and Sosuke. This film was revoiced for American audiences, having been produced in Japan. Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Tina Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Betty White, and Lily Tomlin also add their voice talents to this creative film. White says she enjoys voice over work because you “don’t have to memorize” the lines. Actors must convey a character only with their voices.

There are hours of bonus features including a full-length storyboard feature, featurettes on the creation of Ponyo, the locations, and interviews and press conferences with the filmmakers. Scoring the film is also looked at.

Young Noah and Frankie used Ponyo hand puppets as props while recording their parts. It’s cute to see these young actors recreating the story in the recording studio.

The story of Ponyo was changed during the production. Originally it was supposed to center on a nursery, but the filmmakers added more of the town to the film.

My Neighbor Totoro is a heartening story of two little girls whose mother is in the hospital. They soon discover a forest spirit that can only be seen by children. The trio has many exciting journeys together. While the heart of the story is a bit sad in that the mother is quite ill, the wondrous times the girls have with Totoro is enchanting.

There are many bonus features on this combo pack, including the storyboards, scoring, locations, and creation of the film. The best part is the feature about the voice talent that include Dakota and Elle Fanning who play the two sisters Satsuki and Mei. Other voice cast includes Tim Daly, Pat Carroll, and Lea Salonga. All of the adult praise the sisters and viewers see how much fun the girls had while working together for the first time.

Also, Daly describes the film as “beautiful” and Carroll says it has “heart.” That is true for the Studio Ghibli films under the supervision of legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. There is a booklet included in this box filled with pictures and information about the film.

The animated films from this Japanese production company are wondrous, entertaining, and magical.

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 20 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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