The Cat Returns is by director Hiroyuki Morita, his first head directing credit. What a debut it is. A crow statue named Toto comes to life and main character Haru finds out that Baron and Toto were both given souls because their creators loved them so much, and started the Buearu with refugee Muta. With that, The Baron agrees to help Haru and visit the Cat Kingdom to talk sense into them. Just in time, because the cat vanguard arrives to take her away. The Bureau pursues, and Muta and Haru are whisked away, with The Baron and Toto in hot pursuit. I could go on and on about this wonderous story but I am pretty sure I already left you scratch your head. It only sounds complex, because what is underneath the layers is a truely classic tale.
The Cat Returns has all of the charm, incredible animation, and intensity of a Hayao Miyazaki film. If Morita represents the next generation of Ghibli directors, the studio should prepare itself for years upon years of further successful releases. However, the character development is rather narrow and limited. Almost all of the films on this site aren’t suitable for kids but this is one exception. This movie is suitable for all ages and I highly recommend it for younger viewers who are questioning themselves and do not have trust in their own judgement.
The Cat Returns is wildly hilarious, with excellent one-liners and brutal slapstick. It is hard to keep a straight face during the brilliant and hysterical execution scene. Combine that with a 75 minute run-time, and The Cat Returns is a perfect cinematic pick-me-up. The extent of the story is dotted with comedy and lightheartedness. Haru grows up tremendously over the course of time, and in the end we see a girl who’s much happier with her life. The art is crisp, plenty of memorable characters light up the screen, and the music and ending theme made me track down the soundtrack. All signs that the film moved me, obviously. This is an amazing, classic tale which, just like some of Disney’s classics, just pulls you into the story and doesn’t let go.
I also thoroughly enjoyed The Cat Returns’ perfectly paced and straightforward plot, even if I could already more or less guess how things were going to turn out. It’s like a modern day fairy tale, and once again Studio Ghibli’s impeccable knack for merging reality and fantasy takes over. If you are a fan of Studio Ghibli’s films, then you should see The Cat Returns. This movie is not a deep meaningful story that will make you cry your eyes out. In fact it is a pure, simple and hysterical story. The Disney version brings some of the greatest talent to the table and the end result is one of the best movies I have had the pleasure of reviewing in the last few months.