My neighbors the yamadas portrays suburban middle class life as it is in Japan or any other part of the globe for that matter. Directed by Isao takahata, this experimental studio ghibli film is unlike any of their previous films. A collection of short vignettes, showing everyday life of yamadas family, My neighbors the yamadas wears a newspaper comic strip look. It lacks all the usual detail, fine lines and photorealistic backgrounds of other ghibli films without losing any depth or appeal. Digitally achieved watercolor wash look works just fine for the style of the film and makes it visually striking and different from any other work studio has ever done.
My neighbors the yamadas is filled with humor, satire, grief and quite possibly everything else a middle class experiences. Everyday life incidents you can relate to and situations you can identify with, mentioning any of which here, may spoil the fun for those who havent seen the film.
Lets look at the dvd now. My neighbors the yamadas happens to be the only studio ghibli film released by disney as a single disc dvd. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, picture quality of the disc looks absolutely crisp and flawless and so is the sound. As usual, both English and Japanese tracks, rendered in dolby digital 5.1 are available on the disc. English dub featuring the voices of Jim belushi, Molly shannon and others doesnt disappoint and is quite decent. Bonus features include a "behind the microphone" featurette (approx 6 minutes) showing the english dubbing process and original trailers and tv spots which run a little more than 15 minutes. Fans of rough animation would be delighted to see the first trailer, which shows one complete segment from the film in line drawings without any colors filled. Movie has been rated PG for mild thematic elements.
Only disappointing thing, few may find, about this disc is the storyboards. Unlike all previous ghibli releases, there's no entire storyboard version of the film here. Instead, for some strange reason, it is a gallery of tiny sketches which you cant even enlarge. Inspite of it all, a worthwhile disc and a great buy too, just for the main feature itself.
With an experimental film like my neighbors the yamadas, studio ghibli has once again proved how versatile their artists are and how simple, yet unusual and globally appealing, their choice of subjects could be. My neighbors the yamadas is a simple and beautiful, fun-filled film without any sugarcoating or modern day formulas.
A great disc to watch and own.