I'm still working at getting every Hayao Miyazaki film for my DVD collection. I got my latest shipment from Amazon.ca the other day, My Neighbor Totoro and Howl's Moving Castle.
Ya know, My Neighbor Totoro had to be my absolute first exposure to the works of Miyazaki. The year was 1993. I was in grade 10. My sister was going through some kind of phase where she'd re-discovered God, so my parents were humouring her and taking her to church every Sunday. They were always successful in dragging my brother along, but not me.
So, I was home alone on Sunday mornings, where I got to watch Siskel and Ebert. the early 90's was a fantastic time to be watching Siskel and Ebert. With the rise of indie directors, it was Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on those Sunday mornings who told me about movies like Pulp Fiction, El Mariachi and Clerks.
But there it was in 1993, when the infamous indie studio Troma Films dubbed and released My Neighbor Totoro to North American theatres. And Roger Ebert was quick to declare it one of the greatest animated films ever made.
Man, I don't know how many times I watched the clip of the girl and Totoro standing at the bus stop, waiting for the catbus to come. The clip always ended with the catbus arriving. It must have been the only clip Troma provided or something. And I'll admit, I always found it really creepy. the silence...the rain...the big silent Totoro, and then that catbus.... Based on that 5-minute clip alone, I always thought that My Neighbor Totoro was some kind of weird ghost story.
but then I finally saw the whole thing on Japanese TV when I was there. And now I get to watch it in English.
And then there's Howl's Moving Castle. To date, it's the only Miyazaki film I've seen in the theatres. the English dub came out about a year and a half ago. And I swear, Miyazaki looks great on the big screen. If you missed it, then that's cool. Make sure you rent it.
Now, I only have one Miyazaki film to get to complete the collection: Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro. Lupin III is one of the longest-running and most popular anime franchises. Miyazaki cut his teeth working on 2 of the 3 Lupin III series.
I really should seek out more Lupin III. I only saw one half of one episode on TV in Japan, and instantly thought it was one of the coolest shows I'd ever seen.
Why did I fish Fantastic Four out of a discount bin back at Christmas time? If I knew this was coming, I would have definitly waited.
On June 5, Fantastic Four: Extended Edition hits store shelves. This 2-disc special edition includes the original theatrical version and a brand-new, 20-minute longer director's cut.
There's also a feature-length documentary about the making of the film, five featurettes about the Fantastic Four, 19 cut scenes that weren't worthy of the director's cut, concept art galleries, the trailers, the TV spots, and, given the timing, there's naturally a behind-the-scenes featurette on Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Even though Fantastic Four was a lesser movie, just might succumb to the double-dip on this one. the original DVD which I got has absolutly nothing. Not even a scene selection menu!