A lot of the focus for this film is on the Totoro scenes, of which there are surprising few. (And that CATBUS, man. Insane!) But the rest of the movie hit all of the right buttons for me. Miyazaki always does an amazing job of capturing the small wonders of life, be it children steeling themselves to go into a dark attic (and then finding someone amazing) or the joy of enjoying a sunny day. Lovely stuff.
Wilder and Christie is a creative mix that I didn't think would work, but it really does. I love Wilder—on most days I'd say he's my favorite filmmaker—though I don't always love the extra layer of cynicism his movies slap on. As for Christie, well...I really took Raymond Chandler's diss of her Rube Goldberg plotting as story-writing gospel.
So Wilder's direction (and co-writing of the script) files off a lot of Christie's goofiness, and Christie's story keeps Wilder from getting…