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The Cat Returns

4.5 out of 5 stars 313 customer reviews

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(Feb 22, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the creators of the Academy Award(R) winning SPIRITED AWAY (Best Animated Feature Film, 2002) comes the visually stunning THE CAT RETURNS, a spectacular animated journey to a world of magic and adventure. 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. The Cat King rewards her good deed with a flurry of presents, including a very shocking proposal of marriage to his son! Haru embarks on an unexpected journey to the Kingdom of Cats where her eyes are opened to a whole other world and her destiny is uncertain. To change her fate she'll need to learn to believe in herself and, in the process, she will learn to appreciate her everyday life. Featuring the sensational voice talents of Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Tim Curry, and Elliott Gould, THE CAT RETURNS is a magical animated adventure that will delight and inspire everyone.~~(c)2002 Nekonote-Do - GNDHMT

The Cat Returns (2002) brings back Muta, the cranky fat cat, and Baron von Gikkingen, the elegant statue, from the feature Whisper of the Heart (1995). 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. (Rated G: minor scary imagery and cartoon violence) --Charles Solomon

Special Features

Behind The Microphone With Voice Talent From The Film Including Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, And More|The Making Of THE CAT RETURNS|Complete Storyboards -- Get An Insider's Look At The Film's Artistry|Original Japanese Theatrical Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Elliott Gould, Peter Boyle, Tim Curry
  • Directors: Hiroyuki Morita
  • Writers: Project Concept By Hayao Miyazaki, Original Graphic Novel By Aoi Hiiragi, Screenplay By Reiko Yoshida
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese (Unknown), English (Dolby Digital 2.1), French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    General Audience
  • Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006J28BO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,836 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Cat Returns" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Benjamin Mcnully on October 17, 2005
Format: DVD
Let me start off this review by saying the movie itself is a five star treat. I rented, after being on a Miyazaki and Ghibli streak, wanting to see all this Japanese studio had to offer. This one blew me away. It made me renew my love for cats, and I know this is one that my best friend, a feline fanatic himself, will probably be proudly displaying next to his What's Michael? japanese comics. Something the collective asian conscience gives them an affinity for cats, and it helps this movie shine. Anyone who has kids or cat lovers will enjoy this tale, but some may be a little lost. There was a movie before this one called Whisper of The Heart, not translated into english, but it isn't the same storyline, just the same characters, so you wont be missing any info, just dealing with a huge plot. Its worth investing in though.

WARNING!: Long Plot Ahead! (You should probably just skip to the end and then watch the movie, but it's here for the confused)

School girl Haru has problems. She can't seem to get up on time, make it school, or keep it together in class. She has a crush on the coolest kid in class, but he just got a girlfriend. Her self esteem is way down. On her way home from school, her and her friend observe a cat with a gold chain carrying a package. They watch it look both ways, and cross the street. It's carrying a small package in its mouth, and trips in the street, dropping the little package. They gasp, and Haru rushes into the street. As a truck is about to squish the little cat, she scoops him up with her lacrosse stick (carried home from school) and sweeps him into a bush. Upon landing in the bush alongside, she breaks her stick. The cat gets up, and then stands on it's hindlegs. After brushing himself off, he bows and says 'Thank you for saving my life.
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Format: DVD
I am not doing this review based on the Disney release, but on the original Japanese release. This charming little story is a product of Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, but it is directed by Miyazaki's associate, Hiroyuki Morita. It is actually a sequel to the excellent and equally charming Whisper of the Heart, another beautiful though very low-key Ghibli product. The strange thing is that Whisper of the Heart has never been released in the U.S.; releasing the sequel before the original is a bit odd.

That being said, a wealth of details about the films (and everything from Studio Ghibli) can be found on the tremendously informative Web site. Since this film is being released with Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind and Porco Rosso on February 22, it can only be hoped that it will ride somewhat on the coattails of the two better-known Miyazaki works and will have decent sales. It's an excellent family film and is a refreshing change (like all of Ghibli's works) from giant robots, ninjas, vampires, brainless lowbrow comedy mixed with mindless violence, and the other junk that pervades way too much of contemporary anime releases.
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Format: DVD
Fans of Miyazaki-san and Studio Ghibli will appreciate this release, even though, once again, the Guardians of American Culture at Disney have tinkered with the dialog and plot line to suit their agenda. The release seems ham-handed and rushed.

Quite annoying and unforgivable is the use of so-called "dubtitles" to accompany the Japanese dialog. Thus we get the altered meanings, extra conversational clutter and hip dialog revisions of the English dub, instead of a literal translation of the Japanese script. Why no true subtitles? Probably a budgetary/profit margin decision.

Anyway, it's not too bad, even though, as other reviewers have noted, the release to the N. American market suffers from lack of antecedent -- just who is The Cat, and why should we be excited at his return? Return from where, exactly?

2012 update: okay, I see now that The Cat's Repayment is a more accurate translation of the Japanese original title, which reaffirms anyway that the English title is still misleading and confusing, if not illiterate.
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Format: DVD
I loved this movie. It's so cute. I even got my sister to watch it and she hates anime style movies. I consider it to be more of a Disney movie than an anime though it doesn't have as strong of a story as say Nausicaa, or Princess Monoke, but the director shows promise.

This is the story of Haru, a drama queen who lives with her mother. It starts with Haru saving a cat from being hit by a truck, the cat turns out to be the cat prince. His father the King is so grateful that the whole kingdom decides to give Haru gifts, the trouble is that they are gifts that only cats would like (like catnip), then they ask Haru to come to the cat kingdom and marry the prince. She then seeks help from the Baron and Muta. It's a great story about believing in yourself.

Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries) as Haru. Cary Elwes (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Princess Bride) as the Baron. Peter Boyle (Everybody Loves Raymond) as Muta. Tim Curry does a great job as the Cat King.

This is a great movie for older kids, younger kids might be scared because cats talk and because of some violence.

I really like this movie and I highly recommend it along with the other Studio Ghibli films I am so glad that Disney has finally taken notice and released these films.

Oh BTW, I did watch these dubbed and in Japanese and I didn't notice that any real dialogue had been changed other than a word here and there.
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