The Cat Returns (2002)

DailyView: Day 300, Movie 424

Our internet provider went down today, causing a disruption with the plans for the DailyView.  I was about two-thirds through 1926’s silent film classic Sparrows when the signal went out. 

After waiting for a while to see if it would come back, I had to make an adjustment to keep the DailyView underway.  I pulled out the DVD copy of the Studio Ghibli films and picked out one of the remaining animated movies from the EYG Hall of Fame studio that I had yet to see. 

The choice was The Cat Returns from 2002. 

I watched the English dubbed version of the film, which featured Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Tim Curry, Elliott Gould, Kristen Bell and Peter Boyle.

Shy high school student Haru (Anne Hathaway) saved a stray cat from being run over by a truck.  Haru was surprised when that cat stood up on two feet and thanked her for her bravery.  Turned out, he was a prince named Lune (Andrew Bevis).  Lune’s father the King (Tim Curry) decided that Haru would be brought to their kingdom and would married Lune, despite the fact that she did not want to marry him.

A mysterious voice directed Haru to find the Baron (Cary Elwes) who would help her to avoid the marriage of inconvenience.  

With the typically beautiful animation that Studio Ghibli always used, The Cat Returns is a great animated film.  The hand drawn look is always something special among animated companies and few did it better than Studio Ghibli.  Shorter than many of the animated films from the studio, The Cat Returns has a magic about it that is aided by the shorter run time.  It felt more like a fairy tale than some of the other Studio Ghibli films. 

The film seemed to be a mixture of The Princess Bride, Labyrinth, The Wizard of Oz and The Neverending Story.  The whole film had a wonderful vibe to it and was completely entertaining.  The English voice work was exceptional as everybody seemed to be on their A game. 

The only drawback I had was the constant fat shaming directed toward Muta (Peter Boyle).  It was played as a joke, but it was unnecessary and made some of the characters appear mean.  Muta was a loyal friend, albeit a grump and he did not deserve such treatment.

Other than that, I loved The Cat Returns.  Being a cat person, I love the use of them in the animation.  Many times they are shown as the evil or henchmen of animated villains.  Here, they are all shades of cats. 

Now, I just hope I will be able to post this on the site sometime tonight.

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