This reviewer was at first surprised when beginning to watch "MY NEIGHBORS THE YAMADAS," thinking wrongly that it was directed by the great Hayao Miyazaki, when it was actually directed by Isao Takahata. But, after about ten minutes, it didn't matter. "MY NEIGHBORS THE YAMADAS" is great! In a creative manner, the film makes some strong statements about the importance of family, and how its complexities, heartaches, annoyances and funny moments are universal.
The story unfolds in an unusual manner, focusing more on its characters than an actual plot. This family is composed of Takashi and Matsuko(mom and pop) and their two children, Nonoko and Nobuko.
There are options for both an English or Japanese soundtrack. The English track offers Jim Belushi and Molly Shannon in the lead roles.
BUENA VISTA has preserved the film's 1.85:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement. Colors are solid but, surprisingly, the watercolor images are very subdued.
BUENA VISTA has included Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes for both the Japanese and English tracks. There's little difference between both surround mixes, but there are plenty of discrete effects on both. The front soundstage offers a wider range of separation. The Japanese mix also includes a 5.1 DTS mix that offers a distinct advantage in terms of clarity and bass. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.