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With: (voices) Anne Hathaway, Cary Elwes, Elliott Gould, Peter Boyle, Rene Auberjonois, Tim Curry, Judy Greer, Andy Richter
Written by: Reiko Yoshida, based on a manga by Aoi Hiiragi
Directed by: Hiroyuki Morita
MPAA Rating: G
Language: English or Japanese with English subtitles
Running Time: 75
Date: 07/19/2002

The Cat Returns (2002)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Tall Tails

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Hayao Miyazaki helped with the screenplay and storyboards for this minor, but effective anime, produced at Studio Ghibli. The film has some of Miyazaki's exquisite timing, pacing and use of space, but the animation is noticeably inferior. A young girl, Haru (voiced by Anne Hathaway) rescues a royal cat from a traffic accident and finds herself the unwilling recipient of the cat kingdom's gratitude. Fearing for her sanity, she enlists the help of the Baron (voiced by Cary Elwes) and his two helpers, an overweight cat, Muta (voiced by Peter Boyle) and a magic crow, Toto (voiced by Elliot Gould). Director Hiroyuki Morita brings the film in at a refreshing 75 minutes, well before things drag on too long, and the well-cast American voices lend an air of warmth and humor.

DVD Details: Disney's great double-disc set comes with the new English version as well as the original Japanese version with English subtitles. It also has a making-of short and a terrific featurette interviewing the American actors, as well as the storyboards (by Miyazaki) set to the film's soundtrack. The set also includes trailers. It was released in conjunction with Miyazaki's NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind and Porco Rosso.

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