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The Cat Returns - 5.97

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

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.0):

Rating: 4:
Not really a sequal to Whisper of the heart : If you think this is a sequal to Whisper of the heart, it isn't really.
They have taken the shop, 'Moon' and the Baron from Whisper of the heart and put them together with a different girl (Haru).

I'm sure everyone's said the storyline enough by now, but incase you still don't know it:
Haru is walking down the street, and saves a cat from getting run over. The cat is actually a prince, so his father, the cat king repays her with lots of cat themed presents like mice. They announce they will collect her in the evening and take her to the cat world to marry the prince. A voice tells her to see the Baron, led by Moon (who is called something else in this film). The cats take her to their kingdom, and the Baron and Moon try to save her. The more she gets used to being in their kingdom, the more she becomes a cat. By the end the prince comes and stops the king from marrying them, and she gets home again. The end.

I don't think its suitable for anime fans, its too childish. There is humour in it, but, not enough to make me want to watch it again. Yet the artwork was so detailed, its not really suitable for young kids to appreciate it. Then who is it suitable for?
I would compare this film to the episode of Excel saga with all the dogs, if you scrap all the violence. All the voices were too American as well.

Whisper of the heart was much better, however if you watch the cat returns first, you might not enjoy Whisper of the heart. So make sure you watch that one first!

Rating: 5:
Less deep than Miyazaki's work, but immense fun for cat-lovers : As a hopeless cat-lover, I was very annoyed by the Hollywood film "Cats and Dogs", in which cats are portrayed as the evil geniuses to be foiled by dogs, and I wished there was a film which could redress the balance. This is it, I think. It was made by one of the other directors at Studio Ghibli, not Hayao Miyazaki, and it doesn't have the depth of meaning and feeling that I associate with his work, but this is not really a criticism. It IS enormous fun! It made me laugh a lot, many times, and the cats, though they walk on two legs and are anthropomorphised, are very realistic. I used to have a huge, crabby, loveable old cat very like Muta, and I loved every minute he was on. (Don't worry--he recovers from his overdose of catnip jelly.) It's a great look at the world from a feline perspective, exciting in a Douglas Fairbanks way, cute without being twee, and always amusing. If you don't like cats, or are indifferent to them, you might not care for it, but I think every imaginative cat lover should watch it!

Rating: 3:
mmmmm : I have very mixed opinions on the cat returns. I feel the movie would have a stronger hold on children. However, there are some parts of the movie that can appeal to an older audience - some of the humour for example.

On the positive side, the movie is quite purposely humorous. Look out for the bodyguard cats. The characters are well developed and each one loveable! The story is pretty good and very, very cute! However, it lacks the magic of other Ghibli movies such as Kiki's delivery service or Howl's Moving castle.

I am just not sure if I would watch it again.

Rating: 5:
The cat returns : This is a great film, perfect for lazy Sunday afternoons. I tend to feel that this film is aimed more toward a younger audience, although that didn't stop me enjoying it. You get the usual high quality Ghibli animation and film score, as well as a quaint story that is inoffensive and rather charming. It isn't as innovative as other Ghibli films, but it is another fine film from the respected Japanese studio. Well worth a try if you're a fan of anime.

Rating: 3:
a cat in the hat : There are typically wonderful Studio Ghibli moments in this film, such as when the heroine discovers the Baron's ornate, miniature house in the heart of the city, and also a lot of duff moments. A young girl saves a mysterious cat carrying a parcel from being run over and finds herself persecuted by the gratitude of the Imperial cat court, whose Emperor decides she will make a suitable bride for his son. Desperate, the girl turns to the lissom, Lupin-like Baron and his fat cat sidekick to help her. When she is kidnapped and taken to the Land of the Cats she ignores warnings and begins to turn into a cat herself. It's gentle and fun, especially for cat-lovers, but without the magic of Kiki or the great Spirited Away.

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