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The Cat Returns [DVD]
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Japanese anime feature. Unruly young Haru saves a cat from being run over on her way back from school, little realising that the cat is the son of the Cat King. When Haru is invited to visit the Cat King's kingdom, it isn't long before she discovers that the Cat King's plan is to marry her to his son, Prince Lune. Haru must decide if she will stay in the Kingdom of the Cats or return to her own world. Anne Hathaway and Tim Curry provide the voices in the English dubbed version.
The Cat Returns brings back Muta, the cranky fat cat, and Baron von Gikkingen, the elegant statue, from the feature Whisper of the Heart. On her way home from school, Haru, a confused 17-year-old, prevents an elegant gray cat from being hit by a truck. She's inadvertently saved the life of Lune, Prince of the Cat Kingdom, and his royal father decides to thank her. He fills her locker with gift-wrapped mice and decides she should come to his kingdom and marry Lune. Haru seeks help from the Cat Bureau, and eventually returns to relatively normal life, with the assistance of Muta and the Baron.
The Cat Returns recalls Whisper of the Heart and Takashi Nakamura's Catnapped, but it offers neither the wistful charm of the former nor the bold visual imagination of the latter. Hayao Miyazaki has been seeking young directors for Studio Ghibli for several years. After preparing the script and storyboards for Whisper, he turned the film over to Yoshifumi Kondo, who died tragically shortly after the film's release. The Cat Returns was directed by Hiroyuki Morita, who shows promise, but lacks Kondo's elegant sensibility. The DVD extras include a fulsome making-of documentary, Morita's voluminous storyboards, and mini-interviews with the vocal cast that includes Tim Curry, Cary Elwes, Peter Boyle and Elliott Gould. --Charles Solomon, Amazon.com
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Top Customer Reviews
Unlike Miyazaki's films, there is no really serious message here, apart from believe in yourself and get up nice and early in the morning - oh, and for best results, always mix your own blend of tea. Thinking about it, those messages could be quite serious for some.
The cats in the film are most definately cats, not human characters in cat-form and are all the better for it. The film is really a comedy about how cats don't understand people. Unusually it is the cat kingdom that's flawed rather than the human world. In this film, going away to a fantasy world is not the answer. You need to snap out of it and start living your life. Well, you're allowed a bit of day-dreaming, just not too much OK?
I have watched most of the films produced by Studio Ghibli, and this is certainly one of my favorites.
So why not the full 5 stars? OK well for one, it was too short, it came in about 80 minutes which is probably about average for a lot of animated features in the west but from Studio Ghibli it was disappointing since some of their other films have been pushing two hours, and the way they fill that time makes them feel like epics. The style of the animation is pleasant, although the tiniest bit bland, with pastel shades and nothing that could really offend anybody. If you liked other films from Studio Ghiblie you're probably going to like this as well but if you haven't then this might not be for you.
A nice, pleasant animation. Good, not great. Must keep an eye out for 'Howl's Moving Castle'...
And for me, a long time fan of the studio, that faith was well placed. I've no doubt you have read some of The Cat Returns' 3-4 star reviews, with their unfair comparisons to the work of Miyazaki and Takahata at the heart? Well I'm going to ask you to ignore them. Let this work be judged on its own merit. I can assure you, do that and you will find that elusive, enchanting charm that is present in Ghibli's more famous titles. As regards that other-worldly escapism feeling, it is apparent in this movie far more than even some of Miyazaki-san's own work. Haru's transitions into the world of the Cats, both at 'The Cat Bureau' location and then onto the 'Cat Kingdom' are two of the most magical scenes across the entire Ghibli catalogue...for me they are up there with Mei's first meeting of Totoro in every other Ghibli fan's favourite movie, 'My Neighbour Totoro'. I have read other reviewers comments saying that this film has little of the magic of a Miyazaki movie, well I couldn't disagree more. It is in my top five Ghibli movies...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good ghibli movie .Better than the first one. completely different this is for small kids too. My girls 4&6 really enjoy it. Read morePublished 8 days ago by DANO
Once again, a classic from Studio Ghibli. The tale is shorter than most other Ghibli films, but just as enchanting as all of the others, the characters grip you, and you keep... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Abby Lea
Brilliant film one you can watch over and over. If you like this you will love A letter to Momo.Published 3 months ago by 70's Kid
It is only right to feel wowed by this film. It is obvious that Ghibli loves the gentle side of creation, and with it, cats, just as I love 'The Cat Returns'. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Suki
Fabulous! Grandaughters age 6 sat for the entire film and loved it.Published 4 months ago by Proud grandmother