'The Cat Returns' [Newly-Remastered]
(Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Elliott Gould, Peter Boyle, Tim Curry, et al / Blu ray+DVD / G / 2015 / Walt Disney)
Overview: Haru, a schoolgirl bored by her ordinary routine, saves the life of an unusual cat, and suddenly her world is transformed beyond anything she ever imagined.
Blu ray+DVD Verdict: Amazingly, 'The Cat Returns' took an whopping three long years to complete. That said, it is also a much lower key affair than Studio Ghibli's prior film, the award-winning 'Spirited Away.' Clearly aimed at a younger market, 'The Cat Returns' I have to say this sometimes-cynical forty-something loved it to bits also!
Ghibli purists seem to be somewhat snobbish about the studio's output, but if this is an example of one of their films designed more for harmless family entertainment, I can stand to see a lot more of it. Anyway, 'The Cat Returns,' no here on Blu ray for the first time, tells the story of teenaged schoolgirl Haru, who saves a cat from being run down by a truck. To her shock and amazement, the cat rises onto its two hind feet and thanks her. The cat turns out to be the prince of the Kingdom of Cats, an alternate universe ruled and inhabited entirely by cats.
As a sign of his gratitude, the King offers Haru his son's hand in marriage. The rest of the movie deals with how Haru initial attempts to fend off her prospective feline father-in-law's subjects and how she is brought to the Kingdom of Cats. The animation is splendid, like any other Studio Ghibli production. 'The Cat Returns' also sees the return of two characters from 'Whisper of the Heart', Baron the Baron Cat, and Muta, the grumpy "stray", who's fatter then ever!
Again, and not to harp on about it, but the animation and artistry of the movie is exceptional and arguably one of the most enchanting efforts in animation and artistic direction you'll see from most non-Miyazaki Ghibli movies. Why? Because it may be really simple but everything still enchants you greatly on a subconscious level. You just watch the movie and it feels like a really wonderful dream but unlike most dreams which never come again, you can go back to it many times over on home video. In short, the artistry is so incredible that if your dreams were like that, you'd be excited to go to sleep every night! Well, I would think that anyway. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Original Japanese Storyboards
Behind The Microphone - The actors behind the English-dubbed version of the movie share the challenges and fun of creating it
The Making of The Cat Returns
Original Japanese Trailers & TV Spots