The Cat Returns

The Cat Returns


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The title gives no clue as to what this is, or why it deserves to be seen. There are cats all right, not just one, and they walk on their hind legs and talk. There is The Kingdom of Cats, which has a feel of Wonderland about it, and a shaggy old king who behaves like Ozzy Osbourne on a lazy day.

Although a Japanese anime, dubbed into English with the voice talents of Anne Hathaway, Peter Boyle and Tim Curry, it is not in the class of Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata, yet makes the Pokemon movies look like primary school dabblings.

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Haru is an ordinary schoolgirl, living with her absent-minded, over-stressed mother, who saves a cat from being run over in the street. It turns out that this blue-blooded moggie is the heir to the King of the Cats (ref: Ozzy), who, quite naturally, wants to reward his son's saviour. After meeting her, the royal dopehead decides she is so gifted in generosity and human kindness that she must marry the feline regent at once. Her protestations that she is a girl and he is not a boy are brushed aside as mere irrelevancies.

She seeks help from an aristocratic Scarlet Pimpernel cat, called The Baron, an overweight white bruiser, called Muta, and a black crow. Their adventures inside the Kingdom are as exciting as they are hilarious. Haru does the Alice thing and shrinks to the size of her betrothed to make the wedding photos more acceptable... or something.

In this sophisticated, computer generated, Pixar-led world of modern animation, The Cat Returns looks like a relic from the period of hand-crafted slave drawings, but where it grows and grows, like Jack's bean, is in the realm of the imagination.

Charm as innocent, vibrant and entertaining as this cannot be constructed electronically; it lives and breathes in the spirit of its creators.

Reviewed on: 27 May 2005
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The Cat Returns packshot
A teenage Japanese girl becomes betrothed to the Prince of Cats.
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Director: Hiroyuki Morita

Writer: Reiko Yoshida, Cindy Davis Hewitt, Donald H Hewitt, Aoi Hiragi

Starring: voices of Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Peter Boyle, Elliott Gould, Judy Greer, Tim Curry, Kristine Sutherland

Year: 2002

Runtime: 75 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: Japan


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